Tachibana Nankei (橘南谿)

Nankei TACHIBANA (May, 23, 1753 - May 8, 1805) was a doctor in the late Edo period. He was into literature and wrote books such as pieces of travel writing, "Toyuki (Journey to the East)" and "Saiyuki (Journey to the West)."

He was born in Nishitakatomachi, Hisai, Ise Province (present Hisai City in Mie Prefecture). He was the fifth son of the Miyagawa clan who worked for Hisai Todo Domain and was given 250 koku (a unit of volume) of rice. His real name was Haruakira Miyagawa with his azana (adult male's nickname) of Keifu (恵風) and he was commonly called Toichi (東市). "Tachibana" which he took later was the surname of his wife. He took the names of Nankei and Senshi BAIKA. Since his childhood, he learned the study of the Chinese classics. His father died when he was 14.

When he was 19 in 1771, he went to Kyoto to study medicine and lived with his mother. He moved to Osaka and Fushimi, and then went back to Kyoto when he was 28.

In the summer of 1781, he published "Tososuikyoroku (Medical guidebook for smallpox)" when he was 29. He lost his mother. He often traveled for several years after the loss of his mother. He traveled around the western part of Japan and Kagoshima from the spring of 1782 to summer of the following year, Shinano Province in the fall of 1784, and the Hokuriku and Ou regions and Toyama from the fall of 1785 to summer of the following year. He noted that "the purpose of the travel is to broaden my knowledge as a clinical doctor" and provided treatments in various places as well.

When he was 31 in June, 1783, he dissected an executed dead body under the instruction of Genshun KOISHI in Fushimi, and the observation was recorded by a painter, Ranshu YOSHIMIURA.

After he became a shisho (person who performed miscellaneous duties about documents) of Naizenshi (Imperial Table Office) in December, 1786, he received a court rank in February of the following year, and then was appointed to Iwami no suke (Assistant Governor of Iwami Province) in March of the same year. In December, he attended Daijosai festival (a festival to celebrate the succession of an emperor) for Emperor Kokaku.

He resided temporarily in Fushimi due to a spreading fire in January, 1788 and then built new home in Kyoto in the fall of 1790. Around that time, he suffered from digestive disease and asthma. In September, 1794, he received Jurokuinoge (Junior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade).

He published "Saiyuki (Journey to the West)" in March, 1795, and "Toyuki (Journey to the East)" in August of the same year. The manuscripts of his past travel reports had been circulated and a publisher wanted to publish the books. Kokei BAN and Guzan MATSUMOTO wrote a preface to "Saiyuki" and "Toyuki", respectively.

When he was 44 in April, 1796, he resigned Iwami no suke. The following month, he shaved his head to become a Buddhist priest and took the homyo (priest's name) of "Baisen".

He published "Toyuki kohen (the sequel to Journey to the East)" in January, 1796. He traveled around the Nanki area in winter. In June of the following year, he published "Saiyuki zokuhen (the sequel to Journey to the West)."

On April 10, 1805, he died in his new home in Higashiyama Yasui, Kyoto (present Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City). He was 53. His posthumous Buddhist name is Nankeiindenyogakugimei (南谿院殿陽岳義明). His gravestone remains in the cemetery of the Konkai Komyo-ji Temple in Kurodani-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City.

Major books

1781: "Tososuikyoroku (Medical guidebook for smallpox)"

1783: "Sasshukoshiden (Stories of dutiful children in Satsuma Province)"

1791: "Shokanron jigen (easy-to-follow treatise on cold damage)" and "Shokanron bunchu (commentary of treatise on cold damage)"

1795: "Saiyuki (Journey to the West)", "Toyuki (Journey to the East)" and "Kokugoritsuryokai (explanation of Japanese musical scale)" (Nankei was good at playing koto [Japanese harp]).

1796: "Shokan gaiden (side story of cold damage)

1797: "Toyuki kohen (the sequel of Journey to the East)" and "Shintan hiketsu (Secret of the Divine Elixir)"

1798: "Saiyuki zokuhen (the sequel to Journey to the West)"

1819: "Zatsubyokibun (record of miscellaneous diseases)"

1829: "Hokusosadan (anecdotes from north window)" (essay) (his posthumous book)

[Original Japanese]