[Undergraduate thesis] Perilous Opportunity: Reconsidering Wokou and Coastal Chinese during the Jiajing Era, 1521-1567 Jiajun Zou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perilous Opportunity: Reconsidering Wokou and Coastal Chinese during the Jiajing Era, 1521-1567

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jiajun Zou

Department of History Binghaton University,

Binghamton, NY 13905

Jzou1995 [at] gmail [dot] com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1: Racialist Discourse in formation and its Context                                          5

Chapter 2: The Ningbo Incident of 1523 in Racialist Perspective                                15

Chapter 3: Yang Shouchen’s Writing on Wonu and its Dual Interpretation                 26

Chapter 4: Beyond Orthodox Writings: the Participation of Chinese in Wokou          34

Chapter 5: Shuangyu Incident: the World of Private Trade and Lawlessness              41

Chapter 6: Examining the Heterogeneity of Japanese Wokou                                      67

Chapter 7: Understanding the Coastal Chinese: The Case of Fujian                           81

Chapter 8: Reverse of the Narrative of Good and Evil                                                  96

Chapter 9: Li Zhang and Chen Gui: Two Different Outcomes of Fujianese Traders 130

Conclusions                                                                                                                 154 

Bibliography                                                                                                                158

 

 

 

 

List of Illustration

 

Figure 1: Map of Ningbo Prefecture of Zhejiang                                                         18

Figure 2: Map of Shaoxing Prefecture of Zhejiang                                                      19

Figure3: Shachuan, or large junk                                                                                   38

Figure 4: Yuchuan, or fishing boat                                                                                 39

Figure 5: Portrait of Japanese 1                                                                                   44

Figure 6: Portrait of Japanese 2                                                                                    45

Figure 7: Portrait of Japanese 3                                                                                     46

Figure 8: Portrait of Portuguese                                                                                     47

Figure 9: Portrait of Pahangness                                                                                    48

Figure 10: Portrait of Siamese                                                                                       49

Figure 11: Chinese making coin money: The process of bringing out the mold           55

Figure 12: Chinese making coin money: The process of burning the coins                  56

Figure 13: Chinese making coin money: The process of shining the coins                  57

Figure 14: Kingdom of Japan making silver money                                                      58

Figure 15: Map of Japan 1                                                                                             69

Figure 16: Map of Japan 2                                                                                             70

Figure 17: Map of [routes of] Japanese barbarians come to commit banditry              71

Figure 18: Map of Four Barbarians                                                                               72

Figure 19: Map of Guangdong                                                                                       76

Figure 20: Map of Fujian                                                                                               85

Figure 21: Map of Fuzhou Prefecture of Fujian                                                            86

Figure 22: Map of Quanzhou Prefecture of Fujian                                                        87

Figure 23: Map of Zhangzhou Prefecture of Fujian                                                      88

Figure 24: General Hu Zongxian’s stratagem against Wokou 1                                  116

Figure 25: General Hu Zongxian’s stratagem against Wokou 2                                  117

Figure 26: Wokou painting by Qiu Ying                                                                     124

Figure 27: Map of Upper Korean Peninsula                                                               136

Figure 28: Map of Lower Korean Peninsula                                                              137

Figure 29: Portrait of Ryukyuan                                                                                  150

Figure 30: Portrait of Cai Tingmei                                                                              151

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Racialist discourse in formation and its Context

In June of 1523, the second year of Jiajing (Reign. 1521-1567), the 16 year old emperor learned about a major incident in Ningbo prefecture of Zhejiang province involving two groups of Japanese tribute bearers. The orthodox Ming record Ming shi zong Shi lu gave the following account: “The Board of Rites reported that Japanese barbarian Song Suqing (宋素卿) came to the court to pay tribute but his tally (勘合) was bestowed during the years of Xiao emperor (Reign. 1487-1505). [They said that] their tally bestowed by Wu emperor (Reign. 1505-1521) was stolen by the ruling house (J. Sōsetsu 宗设). In fear that their words could not be trusted, it was not appropriate to allow them to come to the court. But the two barbarians started killing each other. The ruling house was the provocateur and Song Suqin’s cohorts were killed.”[1] The Ningbo incident in 1523 and a later Shuangyu incident in 1549 are both important incidents in the history of Wokou during the Jiajing era. But first it is beneficial for us to briefly lay out the context of Sino-Japanese official trade through the tally system.

A tally, or kango in Japanese, was a certification paper issued by the Ming. It was split into half, one being kept by the Chinese authorities and the other by the Japanese. When the Japanese tribute bearers came to China to submit tributes and sell their goods, the tally was presented to the Chinese authorities as a proof of their legitimacy as tribute bearers and not pirates.[2] The tally trade between China and Japan started around 1404 when the Yongle emperor (Reign. 1402-1424) reopened the tribute relation with Japan after years of hostility between Ming founder Hongwu (洪武Reign.1368-1398) and Prince Kaneyoshi (良懷) of Japan, called “King of Japan” (日本國王) by the Ming. The action was against the wish of Ming founder who indicated in his ancestral teaching, on the section of “Kingdom of Japan” (日本國): “Even though [they come to] pay tribute, in reality, [they were] cunning, secretly collaborating with treacherous official Hu Weiyong (胡惟庸) to plot evil design. Thus, [we must] end the relations [with Japan].” Japan, however, was also among the 15 neighboring countries in which Hongwu specified as not to be conquered. He wrote that:

The barbarians of four sides were all in remotes places separated by mountains and seas. If [we] get their lands, [we] won’t be able to send supply. If we get their people, we won’t be able to give them order. If they do not know how much strength they have got (若其自不揣量), and come to disturb my borders then they bode disaster to themselves (彼為不祥). [If] they are not China’s scourge but we use our military against them, even a slightest punishment [against them] could also bode disaster to us. I fear that my descendants will take advantage of China’s prosperity and strength and for the sake of temporary sense of pride, out of no reason to use our military, which will cost people’s lives. [You] must remember, this is not right.

 

Hongwu continued to say that the only exception were the Mongols (胡戎) in the North and West.[3]

Zhang Xie (張燮), a scholar in late Ming, in his Dong xi yang kao (東西洋考), or “the study of Eastern and Western Seas,” gave this history of Sino-Japanese relations in the early Ming dynasty. Hongwu considered Japan to be the country with which China should not continue tributary relations, but nevertheless one of the countries in which his descendants must not consider conquering. At the time of Yongle, the imperial policy evolved. According to Zhang, the King of Japan, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (源道義) “in the first year of Yongle (1403), sent an emissary to pay tribute” and “a hundred tallies [were given by the Ming] and as of the frequency, [it was decided to be] one visit every ten years.” In 1410, after the death of Yoshimitsu, his son Ashikaga Yoshimochi (源義持立) sent tribute to the Chinese court to receive investiture (冊封) only that his coming occurred at the time when Chinese soldiers caught pirates led by multiple Japanese (其首皆倭人). In response, Chinese officials demanded that the caught pirates be executed. The Yongle emperor then sent a sealed edict (璽書) to direct to Yoshimochi: “Your father was afraid of the might of heaven, [thus he] continued to bear tribute to us without transgression. [Your] ancestors had the ill intent to offend the upper kingdom (China). The crime was such that justice must be sought. I am just forbearing and have not forgotten your father’s respectful listening, you [must] carefully think of that.” Yoshimochi then submitted an apology.[4] The history of tally trade did not have a good start. The Yongle emperor must have reminded himself of the aberration of taking in Japanese tribute both because it was against the wish of the founder and that the recurring Wokou incidents only refresh the recent memory of Japanese involvement. The term Wokou (倭寇), or Wo bandits, literally means Japanese bandits. However, I will demonstrate throughout this paper that the “Japaneseness” of Wokou lost most of its meaning as most of the Wokou bandits were in fact Chinese. When there were Japanese who participated in banditry, it was always the agency of common Japanese folks and not the Japanese authority.

The Japanese daimyo Tokugawa Mitsukuni (徳川光圀 1628-1701), in his Dai Nihonshi (大日本史), briefly accounted the early history of Wokou. He believed that the story began with the cut off of Sino-Japanese interaction during the period of Mongol Yuan (1271-1368). The Japanese court tried to end all communication with China after the “bandit invasion of Mongol Yuan. But the coastal people [of Japan] privately come and go to trade with each other. After emperor Go-Daigo, military affairs were frequent.[5] Rebellions were on all sides, the court could not effectively control the farther region. Therefore, common folks in the islands used the chaos to loot Ming’s coastal provinces.” Despite the Ming founder’s repeated instruction to Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu to control Wokou, “treacherous people swarmed out (闌出 literally meant broke the gate), invading and looting [China] endlessly.”[6] The agency of early Wokou, like that of the later Wokou, was always the private agency and motives of common folks (in other words, not government sponsored invasion.) But it does not mean that Ming officials and Chinese emperors did not conflate the private agency and government agency and use it to create a narrative of Japanese.

Although there existed tally trade, the officially recognized trade relations between China and Japan, the Mingshi recorded several continued battles between the Ming and Wokou. In 1419, there was a battle when the “Wo boats came to Wangjiashan island.”[7] In 1443, “[Wokou] committed banditry in Haining… Wo’s nature is treacherous, and they often carry foreign goods (方物) and weapons (戎器) to appear in coastal regions. When they are idle, they start to brandish their weapons to loot. If [they cannot succeed] then they present their foreign goods and claim to come to pay tribute. [They are] the scourge of southeastern coast.”[8] In 1453, “[The Japanese] came to pay tribute, and when they got to Linqing (臨清), [they] started to loot commoners’ merchandise.”[9] The tally trade continued to function until the Ningbo incident in 1523, but periodic Wokou disturbances by the alleged Japanese coastal people never ceased.

Out of the history of Wokou disturbances before the Jiajing era, one incident deserves special attention. In May of 1439, the fourth year of Zhengtong (正統Reign. 1436-1449), “forty Wo boats took over [the populations of] Taizhou (臺州), Taozhu (桃渚), Ningbo (寧波), and Dasong (大嵩) of two thousand households, and then took over Changguo Wei (昌國衛a defense post). [There were] massive killing and looting.”[10] This incident was later popularized because of the writing of official Yang Shouchen (楊守陳 jinshi 1451), who was only a fourteen year old at the time but studied the incident carefully. For Yang, as well as for some officials in the Jiajing era, repeated Wokou incidents showed the capability of Japanese race for deceit and repeated treachery, and that they were by nature brutal and inhumane. In addition to brutality, there was also greed. Greed and brutality were considered as two interconnected characteristics associated with the Japanese and used as a primary argument by some officials who believed in following Ming founder’s teaching and to end tribute relations with Japan.

The term “tribute” should not mislead people into thinking that the Chinese court was always in a position to gain from receiving the missions. It was a continuing tradition from the Han to the Qing dynasties that the emperor was often in a net loss in the tribute ritual, often forcing to give the tribute bearers more in compensation than what was received by the Chinese court. For example, in January of 1456, Japanese tribute mission came with more men and goods than allowed, forcing the Ming court to be more “generous” in the compensation.“Wo people were thirsty for profit (倭人貪利).” The Ming court noted that the tribute ambassador was not content with what he received. “The ambassador was not happy and demanded that old customs be followed. [Thus], the imperial edict ordered that they be given [them] ten of thousands more [strings of copper] coins (詔增錢萬), but [they] still considered it too little, begging [us] to add some goods. The imperial edict then ordered one thousand and five hundred more brocades, and then finally they left discontented (終怏怏去).”[11] The court believed that greed and the tendency to commit violence were interconnected traits of the Japanese because piracy and killing were for the purpose of looting and making profit. This was best demonstrated in the earlier record of an incident in 1413 which said that whenever the Japanese felt greed was not satisfied, they turned to violence, and whenever violence was not possible, they caved in and took small gains from imperial generosity.

I define the supporters of this narrative as “racialist.” They were scholar-officials who saw the trend of Wokou incidents and Japanese tribute ambassadors’ greed as characteristics of Japanese race. The racialists were reluctant to differentiate the heterogeneity of barbarians and contingency of barbarian-related incidents, and preferred a narrative of a homogeneous barbarian race and timeless barbarian nature. The barbarians’ behavior only vindicated a previous conclusion drawn about their human nature. Whenever a Wokou incident involved the participation of Japanese it was seen by the racialist as additional evidence that barbarians are treacherous by nature. The racialist typically preferred to emphasize the history of Japanese brutality and treachery and to suggest not to maintain tributary relations with Japan and to continue the sea ban against the private trade between coastal Chinese and overseas barbarians. He cited ancestral teaching and the theoretical supremacy of Chinese states vis-a-vis her barbarian neighbors.

The racialist was also typically from a non-coastal province and had closely served the emperor. He tended not to have military experience nor served as a civil official in the coastal region. He often emphasized the suffering of coastal people. He might take notice of the participation of coastal Chinese in collaboration with the barbarians, but he nevertheless preferred a dichotomy of “our people” (吾民) as victims and Japanese Wokou as aggressors. When “our people” participated in Wokou banditry and killing, they were only a minority of treacherous individuals which could not override the fact that “our people” as a whole were the victims. He overlooked the conflict of interest between coastal and inner province Chinese, because all were assumed to be a homogeneous people of China (中華). He primarily emphasized the Wokou story as a conflict between China and Japan. The only enemy was the national enemy that is Japan.

On the other hand, a pragmatists tended to have experience in direct fighting against Wokou, often was a native of a coastal province such as Fujian, Guangdong, Zhejiang, South Zhili, and on occasion also the southeastern province Jiangxi. If he was not native to any of these regions, he at least served in one of these regions as an official or commander and had extensive interaction with the locals. A pragmatist generally disagreed with overly emphasizing Japanese implication in Wokou. For him, the biggest enemies were the coastal/overseas Chinese with whom he fought against but also at times, understood and sympathized. He shared with racialists a desire for military reform and the use of force against Wokou, but believed that killing alone was not the solution. He argued that only through an understanding of the coastal people and the structural problem, i.e. the threatening of coastal people’s way of life in the context of Ming sea ban and suppression of private trade, could the problem be resolved. He disagreed with the narrative of Japanese-centered Wokou and one-sided Chinese victim-hood, and challenged this narrative by demonstrating the subtle relationship of the internal hierarchy among the Wokou. He could be a general well experienced in battles against Wokou, a scholar-official familiar with coastal way of life and people, and a low rank magistrate of a coastal town.

My survey of memorials in Ming statecraft Collection (皇明經世文編) argues that one way one can differentiate a racialist/nationalist and a pragmatist is by the choice of vocabulary.“Greedy wolf” (Tanlang 貪狼) is a term used exclusively by the racialists for the purpose of belittling and dehumanizing the barbarians. The context of their writings also often emphasized the theoretical superiority of Chinese state and culture. Wolf is associated in Chinese culture with ferociousness. One Ming scholar used the phrase lang zi ye xin (狼子野心), or the heart of a wolf, to describe Japanese as historically greedy and ferocious since Wei dynasty (386-534).[12] The term Tanlang may also be an abbreviation for an ancient star called Tanglang xing (貪狼星), one of the seven known killer stars in Daoist astrology. The term suggests that the coming of Japanese to China as if a sign of omen. At least three prominent racialist officials used this term to describe Wonu.

They was Yang Shouchen (楊守陳 jinshi 1451), the minister of Board of Personnel (吏部尚書), who wrote in one of his essays, “Wonu is secluded in an island. Their custom is opportunistic and treacherous (狙詐), and also greedy as wolf (狼貪).”[13] Zhang Chong, (張翀 jinshi 1511), an advisory official (給事中), wrote in a memorial to the Jiajing emperor that the “the Kingdom of Japan is secluded in the Eastern sea, and at old time it was called Wonu. Since Han (202 B.C-220 A.D) and Wei dynasty (220-226), they were communicating with China. Its custom follows the “greedy wolf” (俗尚貪狼) and [they are] especially familiar with military affairs (頗知用兵).”[14] There was also Gui Youguang (歸有光 jinshi 1565), one of the famous scholars of the Jiajing era who wrote extensively on Wokou. He used the term in one of his essay:

[We] must display China’s law and discipline, [we] cannot let the barbarians laugh at us. If such is the case, would there still be battles that cannot be won and bandits not totally decimated? Of course such a thing is never heard of. But even though today [we are] expected to decimate them, the strategy and planning will still take dozens of years to achieve the tranquility. Barbarian’s nature is of the greedy wolf (夷性貪狼), [they had the] greed for profit made from looting.

 

Gui continued to write that “since the years of Zhengtong (正統 Reign. 1436-1449), the danger [of Japanese] has continued for over a hundred years. Its reoccurring now is like a sickness in a person. Once it started, how can it be immediately stopped (遽止)?”[15] Gui Youguan, Zhang Chong, and Yang Shouchen all shared in their respective writing one common reference. Gui Youguan only hinted it by referring to it as the incident during the Zhengtong year. This common memory was the Wokou disturbance of Dasong and Taozhu in Shandong province.

Zhang Chong and other racialists under the Jiajing emperor also used the essay by Yang Shouchen to narrate a history of Japanese brutality. Gui’s metaphor that the Wonu problem was like a chronic disease bound to come back and plague a person is part of the narrative of Japanese inherent human nature. In other words, they are who they are and they will never change. In a later chapter we shall discuss in detail how the Zhengtong era Wokou incident was used in the Jiajing era. The racialist narrative grew strong in the Jiajing era starting with two major incidents: The Ningbo incident in 1523 and Shuangyu incident in 1548. A general examination of the two will allow us to understand how the racialist discourse became popular and how there also existed a pragmatist view of the two incidents. However, my interest is less about elaborating on the detail of the incidents, but how they helped to prompt two contrasting point of view on Japan and Wokou issue in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Ningbo incident of 1523 in Racialist Perspective

The Ningbo incident was the first rupture in the Sino-Japanese relations in the Jiajing era. Historians Fan Zhongyi and Tong Xigang wrote that it “caused Japan and the Ming court’s regular channel of mutual trade to get stuck for a long period of time” and at the same time “some pirate and merchants operated in lawlessness and started the ‘prosperity’ of smuggling activity. Shuangyu port of Zhejiang was one of their footholds.”[16] This foothold eventually evolved into another major incident of Wokou killing and looting and led to an imperial official’s rigorous military response. The two incidents, though some twenty years apart, are not isolated from each other. I will demonstrate later on how both Zheng Xiao and Wang Shiqi, two pragmatist scholar-officials tried to recount the history of Wokou during the Jiajing era by linking the two incidents together because they believe that they reveal a common theme of the nature of the problem, which is that the coastal Chinese are the dominant force of Wokou.

Li Chengxun (李承勛 jinshi 1493), Minister of the Board of War (兵部尚書),[17]  in one of his memorials to the Jiajing emperor documented the responses of the emperor to the previous officials who wrote on the Ningbo incident. According to Li, the court learned about the incident first from the Zhejiang Chief Investigating Censor (監察御史) Ou Zhu (歐珠) and Zhejiang eunuch Liang Yao (梁瑤) who together wrote the memorial titled “Urgent barbarian incident of barbarians killing each other, simultaneously looting and attacking, daring to rebel” (緊急夷情及夷人雙殺乘機攻劫敢行叛逆等事). Subsequently, members from the Board of Rites and the Board of War such as Zhang Chong (張翀) and Xiong Lan (熊蘭) among others, all submitted their memorials. Li Chengxu recorded the emperor’s responses to them by generally used the phrase Sheng zhi shi (聖旨是), or “imperial edict states.” The emperor wrote that “these tribute-bearing barbarians relentlessly barricaded the city, looted the store houses, burning and killing people.” After demanding the Zhejiang province officials to be on high alert, the Jiajing emperor added “Song Suqing and the lineage barbarian cohorts (宗族夷黨) need to be well-guarded in prison until the Prefecture Inspectors can figure out the matter clearly.”[18] The Jiajing emperor was enraged by the fact that his officials were not able to keep the peace during the chaos. He said “this place’s maritime and patrol (巡捕) officials were set up specifically guard against the Wokou (備倭). [The place] has been neglected of attention for a long time (因循日久), most service men were either idle or negligent [of their duties]. The Wo barbarian [saw it which] caused them to not fear China’s law. [They] moved here and there killing and burning, even harming the officials.” The Jiajing emperor continued to write that “this is an important matter. The Investigating Censor (巡按御史) must investigate the matter clearly and then write a report.”[19]

Li’s collection was a general account of the dominant narrative of officials and the response of the emperor who concurred with that narrative. They all share one common theme which was the sense of national humiliation caused by the incident. Li collected the words of one unnamed official who wrote that Confucian scholars at the court saw the Korean king sent ambassadors to deliver some 30 heads of Wo. This unnamed official’s reaction was “we, the officials, looked to each other and suddenly felt that throughout China and the outer-world, rumors arose of how such a heavenly court (堂堂天朝) in command of ten thousand countries (統御萬國) could leave its southeastern battlefield in oblivion.”[20] The same official continued to write that “island barbarian despised China (華夏), ravaged the cities, destroyed the neighborhood, and killed military officials in charge of commanding barbarians (都司方面官員執虜指揮), leaving such a national humiliation (貽國大恥).” The Jiajing emperor also wrote in an angry response that “barbarian bandits dared to rebel recklessly in China (敢於中華肆行叛逆).” This unnamed official was Xia Yan (夏言), a native of Jiangxi and an advisory official (給事中) in 1523. He later served in the highest court position as the Grand Secretariat in 1538 and 1539.

Li Chengxun’s collection offers a rare opportunity to learn about the thoughts of the Jiajing emperor, residing in Beijing; the young emperor felt a strong sense of isolation and dependence on his officials for reports around the country. Several of his imperial edicts in the early years of the Jiajing era showed such a dependency. He wrote on March 30th of 1523 in reference to a list of natural disasters and the death of people that, “I live inside the palace (朕深居九重), how can I know about all the condition of the people and political institutions (民情政體)? I could only rely on you people to demonstrate your loyalty and [show] wholeheartedness in helping me to rule.”[21] On February 13th of 1527, in reference to cases of local officials abusing their power and deceiving the emperor, he wrote again that “I live inside the palace, there was no way for me to learn about the hidden difficulties of the people in four directions.”[22] The isolated young emperor, whose words we learn from Li Chengxun, was in fact parroting the words and tones of officials like Xia Yan who wrote the memorial “An examination of the Wokou incident.” For example, the lines about lack of military preparation of the coastal officials and the Wokou burning and looting the storehouses were identical in Xia Yan’s memorial and the Jiajing emperor’s response.[23]

Figure 1: Map of Ningbo Prefecture of Zhejiang.[24]

Figure 2: Map of Shaoxing Prefecture of Zhejiang.[25]

Xia Yan’s influence came from the fact that his role as “advisory official” institutionally gave him more influence over the emperor. The Ming bureaucracy had in total six small groups of advisory officials each represented one of the six Boards: Personnel, Revenue, Rites, War, Punishment, and Work. Researcher Wang Tao believes that “in China’s long history of the position of Geishizhong (since sixth century), Ming dynasty’s Geishizhong had really the most power.”[26] It is difficult to know exactly how many advisory officials there were at the time of this Ningbo incident. Historian Wang Tianyou writes that although the number was constantly evolving in the Hongwu era as the bureaucracy expands and contacts, ever since the early years of Yongle emperor, the number of advisory officials for the Six Boards stabilized to about fifty eight people.[27] Wang elaborates on several reasons why advisory officials during the Ming were influential. Some of the reasons are, for example, that they were the ones responsible for receiving and giving out all the memorials.[28] They were also the ones who had the systematic right to review and rebut the emperor’s decisions if they find them inappropriate either in an imperial edict or a response to a memorial, a right called fengbo (封駁), literally means “sealing and refuting.”[29] They were also responsible for participating in “discussions of high level military affairs, the recruitment of high level officials, making decision for major trials and punishments, etc.”[30] While the Jiajing emperor said he lived in the palace and could not know about the affairs in the country, he nevertheless had his advisory officials who lived closely to him in the palace, and even accompanied him whenever the emperor participated in court ritual and outside visits.[31] In my view, it is because of this close personal connection that they strongly influenced how the emperor viewed the Ningbo incident, which was through a racialist view. I consider two advisory officials, Xia Yan of the Board of Personnel and Zhang Chong of the Board of Punishment, to be the main influence of the Jiajing emperor’s view on Japanese.

Ming Shi, the official Ming history compiled during the Qing dynasty, described Xia Yan as the architect of the proposal to ban overseas trade in general. “Xia Yan believed that Wokou problem started because of overseas trade. It was then banned. Though oversea trade was banned, Japanese sea merchants were collaborating with wicked [Chinese] strongmen at sea. The law on sea ban could no way be carried out as they all turned into banditry.”[32] Xia Yan described his reasoning in a memorial to the Jiajing emperor by outlining the cruelty of Japanese.

Defense officials gave up the city and left the bandits to burn and loot. Throughout the seacoast, [the Japanese were] screaming and killing people… the Wokou led by the ruling house (宗設) were not even a hundred or so men but our two prefectures, Ningbo and Shaoxing, had over a million civilians and soldiers combined. But they killed and looted easily… I beg the emperor to cherish the living beings of the coast who experienced this disastrous change.”

 

After describing what he believed to have happened, he argued that in the previous dynasty (勝國 an archaic term for “past dynasty”), whenever the Japanese came to trade with the Chinese and their desires were not entirely satisfied, they started to loot. He also wrote that “our ancestors had a keen vision of this matter and hated it. Thus since the founding of the country, eight barren directions were all with the wind (八荒向風), all four barbarians were obedient (四夷賓服), only Wokou periodically disrupted our coasts.”[33] Xia Yan’s emphasis on ancestral teaching is a common theme of all nationalists who treasured Hongwu’s teaching that it was the nature of the Japanese to be brutal and treacherous. While Xia Yan was from Jiangxi, which was not a coastal province, he believed that he could speak for the desire of coastal people by proposing an end of overseas trade.

Zhang Chong, a native of western province of Sichuan, is also important for pioneering in the racialist account of Japanese. The Ningbo incident was the point at which officials started to propagate the line of regret about not following the ancestors’ teaching. Rather than seeing Ningbo incident as a segregated incident or contingency, they connected the violence and looting with events in the previous eras to argue that there was an inherent nature of Japanese. He wrote about the Ningbo incident as “when a group of dogs (群狗) numbering a hundred gathered together, their master was supposed to be responsible for putting them behind the cages and fences, using tied ropes to keep them obedient and assuring that they wouldn’t eat each other. If [the master] made one mistake, how could there not be in-fighting or hurting of humankind?” Zhang Chong’s metaphor of wild dogs referred to the two factions of Japanese tribute bearers competing for legitimacy to pay tribute, whereas the implied master refers to various coastal officials (海上諸司). Zhang shared with Xia that ending tribute relations with Japan was the ideal. “In the past, brilliant Han dynasty emperors marginalized or gave up Zhuya (珠崖) and Xiyu (西域). Their names lasted in the history book and every generation praised them. Moreover, Wonu are treacherous… If we allow them to come pay tribute, their gains are only tiny but our loss will be heavier than mountains.”[34]

Zhang’s comparison is unique in that he talked of losing Japan as a tributary state as an accomplishment just like the Han emperors giving up the frontier regions of Zhuya, a little known island prefecture of the Han dynasty in today’s Hainan, or retreating back from Xiyu- today’s western Tianshan region. This is contrary to popular conception in which gaining land is perceived as glory, but because they were remote places, so giving them up was for a Confucian scholar like throwing away a burden on the back. In addition to ending tribute relations with Japan, he added that China should not invade Japan because of this incident because “ancestral teaching said it clearly that it was neither auspicious nor a fair fight (shengzhi buwu 勝之不武).” As I wrote earlier, Ming ancestral teaching primarily emphasized the reason for not invading barbarians as due to the fact that it may possibly bode disaster to China. Zhang Chong interpreted the teaching not so much as a concern for China’s possible defeat and humiliation. He pointed out that the reason was it was sheng zhi buwu. The phrase is a common phrase used in the context such as an adult fighting a child. It means that the battle will be won easily but the winner will be ashamed for using disproportionate strength against a helpless enemy. Zhang Chong was not necessarily wrong in interpreting Hongwu because Ming ancestral teaching does have the line of self-elevation as Hongwu wrote “if they do not know how much strength they have got” (若其自不揣量). He opted a vernacular way of putting it that literally meant that barbarians should not forget to weigh themselves to see if they are ready to make a challenge to the Chinese state. While the barbarians were capable of such a degree of killing in Ningbo, Zhang Chong saw only their level of barbarity as wild dogs and maintained the belief of the theoretical hierarchy of China over the barbarians. As I mentioned, the racialist narrative started long before the Jiajing era and was continuously talked about by successive Ming officials. Likewise, nationalist narrative symbolized by a rhetoric of strength and superiority could be traced back to earlier officials.

Luo Qi (羅 玘 jinshi 1487), an official under Chenghua emperor (成化Reign. 1465-1487), wrote in a letter encouraging his friend who was being sent to Fujian to fight Wokou. Wonu barbarian is also called Japan (日本) – a barbarian beyond the Eastern Sea. It is called Nu (奴literally “slave”). As a Nu, it must have a master. Our China is the one! (吾中國是已) All under heaven, the mean and low was supposed to be the physical labor, and this Nu is most especially the case. But its heart was unstable.” Luo continued to say several times of this hierarchical relations between China and Japan.“Simply just our slave!” (吾奴之而已).[35] He added that unlike the tributary state of Annan and Korea, Japan “also had the written language to rule its country (以文字為國), but was the only one to abandon it (獨蒙棄斥). There is no doubt that these men are of the barbarians who were like snails crawling to their shells or ants burying themselves [in the sand].” He was likely referring to the Japanese partial use of Hiragana characters rather than Chinese characters- then the Lingua Franca of East Asia. At the end of his letter, he hoped that his friend could “lead thousands of warships, one hundred thousand water force soldiers, with several hundred vice generals,” so that when they go to the frontier in Fujian they could “look straight into them like they are our slaves. Wo will feel like a piece of meat about to be served in tiger’s mouth.”[36]

Whether it was Xia Yan who suggested that the heavenly court was in command of ten thousand countries, or Zhang Chong who called Japanese unrestrained dogs whose small country the Chinese state felt ashamed to invade, or Luo Qi who called Japanese as China’s slaves, racialist officials all believed in the theoretical superiority of the Chinese state vis-a-vis its barbarian neighbors. I suggest that the rhetoric of strength was not based on actual strength. Zhang Chong interpreted the Ming ancestral teaching as an unwillingness to invade the neighboring countries and not inability. But Hongwu himself understood the weakness of China’s coastal provinces. He said in one imperial edict that “traitors in the mainland (內地奸民) went to their place in Japan (倭國) to give them all the ideas about how our coastal defense are weak, how many soldiers are in the cities, thus leaking all the secrets. If the bandits ride some three or five hundred ships and with ten or twenty thousand soldiers, at the dawn swarm to the gates, these are all critical matters.”[37] Racialist officials were mobilized by two incentives. First, it is the belief in the theoretical hierarchy of Sino-barbarian relations in a Sinocentric world. Second, they were all influenced by a collective hatred toward the Japanese. This hatred was formed by the writings of scholar-officials who recounted the brutality of the Japanese Wokou.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Yang Shouchen’s Writing on Wonu and its Dual interpretation

Racialist discourse argues for a timeless human nature (人性) of Japanese whose killings of thousands of people in Ningbo was a result of their innate brutality that only vindicated Ming founder’s keen insight that Japanese were treacherous. Advisory official Zhang Chong buttressed his argument on ending trade with Japan by telling the Jiajing emperor a story:

During the years of Zhengtong (1436-1449), they came to our Dasong (大嵩), invaded our Taozhu (桃渚), killing and steaming [people], blood was as much as the waterfall. When they get the pregnant women, they started dissecting them, betting on whether it is a boy or girl, and the loser must drink wine. They tied the baby onto the pillar, then forced [the baby] into boiling soup, looking at [the baby] crying while they stood by laughing… These words of Yang Shouchen, the former minister of Ministry of Personnel (戶部尚書), are the most sincere. Whoever read it started to cry.[38]

 

These accounts were paraphrases of Minister Yang’s original words and retained its originality. Yang Shouchen’s influence on the narrative of Wokou is such that I believe the Mingshi most likely borrowed a line from Yang as well when it mentioned that if the Japanese could not use violence to get their greed satisfied, they would then claim to come pay tribute.[39] Yang also discussed the consequence of this brutal killing scene:

Our soldiers still had the fury from previous nights (宿昔之憤meaning “anger of earlier events”), then they saw them (Wokou) come to look for death (自來送死). [The soldiers] were all in glare and sharpening their swords (瞋目礪刃). They desired to eat their (Wokou) flesh and used their [peeled] skins as blankets for sleep. [The Japanese thought they] could not get what they want, so come to pay tribute again. Our general agreed with that request and sent it to the court. [We are] bound to fall into their trap again…[40] [Our goal] was both to make them capable of being transformed (嚮化之心) and to dissuade them from disturbing our coast. As we look at today, their treachery was just as before. They are definitely not the ones [who come] to be transformed (非嚮化者矣). When we take their tribute, they come to invade. When we don’t take tribute, they still come to invade. No one has any doubt about this.[41]

Zhang Chong picked up the writing by Yang Shouchen and was deeply touched by it as he said that it induced people to cry about the suffering of Chinese in the hands of Japanese. Yang Shouchen hinted also the ability of the Japanese Wokou to be treacherous and opportunistic because they vacillated between tribute mission and pirate activity according to whether the Ming was strong enough to defend the coast. One scholar in his study of Zhejiang maritime defense also writes:

The southeastern Putuo Mountain (普陀山, the Buddhist Mountain that venerated Bodhisattva Guanyin) happens to be near us in Zhoushan archipelago [of Zhejiang province]. Often time, Wonu came here and used the pretension of burning incense (for worshiping) but in name only. In reality, they were spying on our actual strength. They were cruising and abandoning bays. [Our] soldiers and boats in Diaoyu reef (釣魚礁) and Baisha port (白沙港) ought to be heaviest.[42]

 

This scholar’s perspective on military happens to be very similar to Yang’s distrust of Japanese who he believed were cunning by nature and were waiting for an opportunity to invade. Yang was mostly remembered for his description of the brutal Japanese killing scene, which was picked up by other officials of different levels and branches of government. In addition to Zhang Chong, Ming statecraft collection also has the following officials also cited Yang’s work on Wonu in their memorials: Li Chengxun, the advisory official, and Qian Wei (錢薇 jinshi 1532), who served as Xingren (行人), a position in charge of diplomatic etiquette.

Li wrote in another memorial to the Jiajing emperor that “[I] tried to read the family collection of essays by Yang Shouchen, our dynasty’s Minister of the Board of Personnel; page after page, [he] mentioned how the Japanese were changeable, treacherous, and vicious.”[43] Qian Wei’s memorial mentioned the baby killing story using the same paraphrase as Zhang Chong.[44]  However, one can just easily find the participation of Chinese in these specific killing incidents such as Zhong Pufu, a veteran level Wokou from Longxi, in Zhangzhou, Fujian, who was eventually caught and decapitated.[45]

Among the historians who took interest in this story, their source is either Ming Jingshi Wen Bian (Ming dynasty’s Statecraft Collection) or Chouhai Tubian by Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. These two rich sources are certainly the delight of all scholars working on the field of Wokou. However, I find that it is difficult, if not impossible, for scholars to trace how a narrative was transferred than what the content is about. For example, Fudan University’s researcher Zhu Lili studied the baby killing story only from Qian Wei’s memorial and wrote “despite the prior friendly relationship between the people of the two countries, China and Japan, by the time of the Ming dynasty, Chinese commoners’ impression of Japanese reached a nadir.”[46] I am not suggesting that historian like Zhu Lili is mistaken in understanding Yang Shouchen’s original intention. My challenge is to the fact that, as far as I know, historians ignored how there was inconsistency between different versions of Yang’s work and that inconsistency shows that Yang’s work may be manipulated by different officials and generals. I believe that an original work is always necessary to verify whether certain second-handed interpretation altered the original meaning. However, the debates I have seen so far are between scholars over whether Yang’s story was genuine. Thus, the question of how the story was used escapes our attention unchecked.

Nationalist historians Fan and Tong debated with Japanese historian Tanaka Takeo on the issue of Japanese brutality. Tanaka believed that the brutality in the war reports were often exaggeration and the wild and bloodthirsty description of Wokou was historically inaccurate. Fan and Tong responded by citing Japanese historian Inoue Kiyoshi, that “killing, looting, robbing are the custom of warriors.”[47] Fan and Tong wrote that “these are all words of the people of the time. They gave a relatively accurate account of Japanese ‘custom’ and ‘nature’.” In my view, Fan and Tong are mistaken in presenting the “people of the past” as one homogeneous group. They identified with the racialist narrative and used evidence useful to the racialist narrative, thus gave an overly attention to the Japanese perpetrators and not the coastal Chinese. But I am also not entirely satisfied with Tanaka’s evasiveness because I find it possibly driven by a dislike for the description of Japanese and a selective distrust of sources. I am less interested in the question of who killed whom as it often pulls historians into the debate of responsibility, guilt, and sentimentalism. I am interested in the competing narrative. The fact that there existed more than one narrative, competing and contradicting, reveal the impossibility for historians today to write a smooth narrative for doing so often involved prioritizing one source and downplaying others. I argue that these competing narratives did not treat Yang Shouchen’s letter the same.

I found that there were three books that took in Yang’s entire essay. The essay is called “Yang wenyi gong yu Zhang Zhuke lun wonu gong xian shu” (楊文懿公與張主客論倭奴進貢疏Master Yang Wenyi and Zhang Zhuke discussing Wonu’s tribute matter). One is Zhejiangness Xue Jun’s Riben guo kao lue (日本國考略), an investigative research about Japan. The exact information of the author is little known. One scholar Ma Xianhong believed that Xue Jun’s study has to be after the Ningbo incident since it was recorded in his work.[48] I suspect that it was written as early as in 1530 (嘉靖庚寅年) as indicated by preface author Wang Wenguang.[49] Much of Xue Jun’s work is still awaiting more research. Thus, I should set him aside from our discussion. The other one is Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian’s Chouhai Tubian (籌海圖編), a book on maritime defense against Wokou that collected maps and strategies by numerous scholars and generals, published in 1562.[50] The two sources, for the most part, retain the original work by Yang Shouchen whose essay is also available in his family collection, Yang wenyi gong wenji (楊文懿公文集), compiled and organized by his grandson Yang Dezheng in 1588. Despite the fact that Zheng, Hu, and Xue all seem to have collected and copied the original essay by Yang, problems arise because of inconsistencies among the versions.

Immediately after discussing that horrific killing scene, all three versions continue to say that “their viciousness was beyond measure, it is beyond what words can described” (荒淫極惡致有不可言者). However, the three sources have a minor discrepancy in the next line that creates ambiguity. In Yang’s family collection, he writes “pick up the young and strong and their millet and clothes. [They] swept away all of them and return to their base.”[51] (Ju min zhi shao zhuang yu qi su bo, xi juan er gui chao xue 舉民之少壯與其粟帛席捲而歸巢穴). In the other two sources, which were identical, all were the same except ju was removed and replaced by wu. The two words are not synonymous. Ju (舉) is a verb that means “to lift, to pick up, to raise,” whereas wu (吾) means “I, we, our.” The altered version therefore sound like this “Our young and strong and their millet and clothes.” The word yu can be used not just as “and” but also as “to give, to grant.” And the word qi can mean “their, them.” The new version therefore reads like “our young and strong grant them millet and clothes. [They] swept away all of them and return to their base.”[52]

The problem here is by allowing ju to stay in the sentence, it is clear who is doing what. The agency was in the earlier discussion of brutal Japanese who then picked up both people and items. But by removing that verb ju and replacing it with wu, the agency was blurred and we are forced to focus on the agency of “our young and strong,” which if combined with raising voice on the dual meaning term yu, altered the whole sentence. Then, the two possible ways of reading the quote raises the question. Were the Japanese stealing items and looting the young and strong to be their accomplice? Or did the latter group actively provided the former group with items? A common phrase that pragmatists used to describe this second activity is jie ji (接濟) which is about supporting the Wokou with ships and rations in order to solicit their labor. While it is beyond doubt that Yang’s original intention was to say it was the Japanese who were harming the innocent Chinese people, could it also be a convenient blurring of agency by general Hu Zongxian and Zheng Ruozeng, both of whom were pragmatists who focused on domestic treacherous people (內地奸民) more than the Japanese?

To be sure, I acknowledge that even though such a change took place, a reader is still able to grasp Yang’s original line. My challenge is that the change turned a clarity into ambiguity in which different people can grasp different meanings from it. I have personally not found anyone who seems to read it the second way; Yang’s quote on killing itself often was enough to shape the tone of their memorials. But it is possible that Zheng Xiao, a pragmatist scholar, general, and official was also confused by the awkward wording, he rephrased it as “looting our young and strong” (驅掠少壯) while keeping all other lines intact.[53] All of the earlier officials citing Yang’s work were nationalist/racialists whose memorials were similar in tone and concentrated on Japanese brutal nature. But I believe that this would have been different for an audience in the pragmatist camp whose words on “the youth and strong” were seldom as victimized people. Pragmatists more often described how them as the ones soliciting the Wo, providing the supplies, organizing looting and killing, and reigning as powerful sea lords..

The coastal officials’ designation of “youth and strong” was typically synonymous with rogues (無賴), local bullies (當地惡霸), men who felt life is boring and thirsty for fight (好鬥無聊之徒), and seamen who chased after stink (海上逐臭之夫, meaning those who are absolutely stink, their only way of living is to hide on the sea), just to name a few of their common nicknames in Ming Statecraft Collection. Why was there such a divergence in opinion about the coastal men? Were they not worthy of sympathy? Was it not that the Japanese were the killers in Ningbo whereas the coastal Chinese were their victims? It is useful now to look at the other side of the story behind the Ningbo incident and then turn to the various accounts by generals and officials in the pragmatist camp. It is important to keep in mind that the scope of this crisis was not limited to the first few years of Jiajing era around the Ningbo incident. Another major incident that I believe to be revealing of Wokou story is Shuangyu incident in 1549 which we will discuss later. The debates about Wokou reverberated in the literary circles for decades, for it was a continuing crisis that lasted even after the Jiajing emperor’s forty-six years of rule. The resistance to Wokou (however way one defines them) was a zeitgeist that captivated the attention of elite society and was expressed in official memorials, private writings, poetry, opera, and painting among others. My goal is not so much to reiterate that history of resistance against Wokou and give extensive biographies of the most important national heroes. Though they are certainly important and customary to any writing on Wokou, I build upon that work by focusing on those occasions in which orthodox beliefs are disorganized by an influx of contradicting opinions and experience. I challenge the fundamental beliefs that one can draw a line of good and evil along national lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Beyond Orthodox Writings, the Participation of Chinese in Wokou

       Li Chengxun wrote in his memorial of what he saw as suspicious in the local account from Zhejiang. Certainly, his attitude toward Japan was not any better than that of Xia or Zhang because of this suspicion. He wrote at the end of his memorial that “the ruling house (宗設) has the crime of offending China, [we] cannot let them escape heaven’s decimation.”[54] Heaven’s decimation is a common phrase used by racialists on writings of four barbarians (四夷) in general. It is more often pair with the phrase “refuse to” (不服) such as to say “Wonu refused to be decimated by heaven,” a phrase that denote an implication that the group is undeserved of living. Nevertheless, Li pointed out what he saw as problematic concerning the narrative of Japanese killing. “This incident is so sudden, with the hidden truth mostly depending on hearsay on the street, it is most difficult to discern [what actually happened]. And I found that commander Feng En also wrote how there were so much hidden information that [the local officials] dared not report.”[55] What was the hidden truth? Xia Yan wrote earlier that he could not believe that several hundreds of Japanese tribute bearers were able to cause so much killing and destruction in Ningbo and Shaoxin which had over a million civilians and soldiers. Xia Yan, Li Chengxun, and Zhang Chong all called it a national humiliation. We turn now to Wang Shizhen (王世貞 jinshi 1547), Chancellor of the Board of Punishment (刑部主事) and a renowned scholar in late Jiajing era.

Though Wang Shizhen was not even born yet at the time of incident (he was born in 1526, the Ningbo incident was in 1523), he studied a side of the Ningbo incident that few people paid attention to. After following the conventional narrative of the two factions of Japanese killing each other, one led by Song Suqing and the other led by the ruling house, he added:

They killed over thousands. Commander Liu Jin and other centurions and captains were all killed after they encountered them. Later, the imperial edict orders that Song Suqing be imprisoned. [We] started to listen to his explanation slowly. [He] admitted to have a heart of hatred for China and [said] that China’s desperadoes (亡命者) often went to the sea and congregated as ship masters. They (Chinese desperadoes) come and go to do business between Fujian and Zhejiang, and they used bribes to hire the strong and tough Wonu to defend themselves. The cunning merchants and guileful people of Fujian and Zhejiang saw the great potential for profit, so they privately traded contraband goods [with the barbarians]. They relied on officials and local elites as their umbrellas. There were officials who dared not ask anything about it. Those cunning ones (黠者 Chinese merchants) are the ones to be blamed the most. They ran away [with the goods] without making the payment. [The other] ship masters were furious, so they were always killing people. And those other ships that were not for business purpose also started to loot.[56]

 

Wang Shizhen supplemented the narrative of Japanese killing in Ningbo by introducing the role of coastal Chinese such as those in Fujian and Zhejiang. In Wang’s writing, although there was no denial that the Japanese participated in killing of thousands of people in Ningbo and Shaoxing, the chaos was complicated by the fact that Chinese coastal strongmen used the crisis as an opportunity to hire the Japanese to defend personal interest and settle private feuds. Chinese bandits participated in the looting and killing while the blame was blend into the crime of Japanese. Wang wrote in the margin that “the proclaimed narrative of Wonu as extremely tough and ferocious does not mean every Japanese was like that. [Our] eunuch in Fujian saw this with his own eyes.”[57] Wang’s description of the Ningbo incident unveil another side of the story. Racialist and nationalist scholar-officials concentrated on the formal tributary relations and trade between China and Japan, emphasizing the Wokou issue as a conflict between the two countries. But there was also a dynamic private trade between the Chinese and the barbarians.

The coastal Chinese had the agency and desire to trade privately with the barbarians both because of profit and a survival necessity determined by a geography of lack of farm land and close proximity to the sea. The source of the Ming Wokou problem was the context of the Ming sea ban. General Hu Zongxian wrote “our dynasty strictly forbids even a plywood to go to the sea (國朝明禁寸板不許下海). Though the law ought to be strict, but coastal people depended on the sea for livelihood.”[58] Ming law code compiled by Ming founder Zhu Yuanzhang specified:

Any official or civilian who build illegal ships of two brigs or more, or bring contraband goods to the sea in order to go to barbarian countries (番 and not 翻) to trade, or secretly collaborating with maritime bandits and be their guides to loot innocent commoners, all will be given extreme punishment. The whole family will also be sent to frontier areas to staff the troops. If one only lends giant ships to people who want to go to the sea, or only helps distribute the barbarian goods, or does not build giant ships but collaborates with sea goers to buy barbarian goods, all will be banished to the frontier to staff the troops. [Officials should] pay attention to those sea goers who come with foreign goods, privately doing the buying and selling. Of the things they sell, if is more than one thousand jin of sapan wood or pepper, then they ought to be banished to staff the troops as well and foreign goods will all be confiscated. If it is just commoner riding on a one brig size small boat in near the coastal area to catch fish and shrimps, or just people nearby chopping up woods, patrol soldiers must not bother them.[59]

 

I will discuss more in later how trading barbarian goods were so common in coastal areas like Fujian. The Fujianese did build many two-brig ocean going boats to trade with Japan. As the law code shows the popular conception of not even a plywood should go to the sea actually was not accurate. If a small boat is in nearby areas fishing and catching shrimps, then they are legally speaking not violating the law. Zhejiangness official Qiu Junqing 仇俊卿 (juren 1537) who later became the imperial teacher (國子監博士) of emperor Wanli, observed that “sea ban is too strict that whenever they (soldiers) see [boats with] weapons and fire units, they do not bother [to find out] whether there are barbarian goods on the ship, and simply just arrest them.” Qiu continued to explain how innocent fishermen needed weapons to defend against pirates.[60]

The difficulty of knowing who was a fisherman and who was a pirate was compounded when countless number of coastal people relied on the sea for survival. Zheng Ruozeng said “I used to have personally went to the sea and only then that I find out that in areas like Dinghai (in Zhejiang), poor people who relied on the sea for survival rode small boats from Chenqian to Bashan. There were no less than ten thousand people harvesting clams and seaweeds.” He added that they had the choice of being killed by pirates or collaborated with the pirates, “thus, [one sees] mountains stretch wide and far, depressed [cities] live no residents.”[61] From these perspectives, the law on sea ban fail to even protect the people who were not going out for trade. Their simple association with ocean already implicated them with Wokou problem as they were harassed both by Wokou and Chinese soldiers. I will discuss more in-depth in chpater 9 about this theme of coastal people struggle against sea ban. But it is useful to keep in mind now that Ming officials in the Jiajing era were already noticing the inherent problem of the sea ban. One official wrote in reference to this law, “if Gao emperor (meaning Ming founder, Gao is the highest emperor from whom all emperors descended from) were ruling in this era, he might have had to adjust his own edict.”[62]

Figure3: Shachuan, or large junk, is one type of ocean going, two-brig ship.[63]

Figure 4: Yu chuan, or fishing boat, is a regular one brig ship.[64]

I suggest that we transition from the Ningbo incident to an overview of the Shuangyu incident in 1549. It highlights not only the escalation of Wokou disturbances, but also reveals how the Chinese Wokou thrived in a world of multicultural trade and lawlessness. The incident eventually brought a final conflict between General Zhu Wan and the Fujianese and Zhejiangness. The struggle between the coastal merchants and this General is most revealing of the fact that coastal Chinese comprised the majority of the Wokou. Eventually, Zhu Wan was forced to suicide because his battle against the Wokou led to a conflict with the coastal people. The capable general’s last words were “if the son of heaven does not kill me, officials will kill me. If officials do not kill me, Fujianese and Zhejiangness will must certainly kill me.”[65] I will argue later how an understanding of Wokou is not about the Japanese but the coastal Chinese whose way of life was under threat by the central government’s policy. I will also be challenging the racialist narrative of coastal Chinese as victims or aggressor dichotomy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Shuangyu Incident: the World of Private Trade and Lawlessness

In the twenty-six years from 1523 to 1549, the Japanese continued to pay tribute despite the chaos of Ningbo incident. In 1539, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiharu sent tribute but the Jiajing emperor asked that his officials to investigate. “If they are obedient as before, then send them to [Beijing] according to custom, but also restrict them in their residence so that local residents will not tried to privately intermingle and collaborate [with the barbarians] which will cause so much troubles.”[66] In 1540, Ashikaga Yoshiharu’s ambassadors were allowed to pay tribute in Beijing but they asked if Japanese ambassador Song Suqing could be released from prison and returned to Japan and that tributes given in 1523 could be compensated? The emperor wrote to the Board of War and Board of Punishment that neither of these two requests could be satisfied.[67]

The tribute mission was eventually unsuccessful. The Jiajing emperor used one phrase to justify his decisions. He wrote to his officials in 1539 that “the barbarians’ nature is deceitful, do not trust them easily” (夷性多谲不可輕信). In 1540, he wrote to the officials of the two Boards that “barbarian business is always deceitful and cunning, difficult to trust” (夷情谲詐難信). The last tribute mission between Ming China and Japan was in 1548, led by tribute ambassador Zhou Liang (周良). However, Zhou Liang came with more men than allowed. The regulation was that there should not be more than three boats and one hundred men. But Zhou Liang came with four boats and six hundred men, and came earlier than allowed.[68] The custom of one visit every ten years was also not being followed because they were supposed to come in 1549, but Zhou Liang’s men came in November of 1547. The Jiajing emperor wrote:

The Wo barbarians refused to obey the designated tribute period and carried with them more men and boats than allowed. Three offices and maritime officials refused to accept them, but permitted them to be stationed temporarily in the outer port, which caused some disturbances. In the previous years, the ruling house rebellion has not received punishment. Thus, I order that the new Inspector General to give proper punishment and to find out also whether Song Suqing’s case has been settled.[69]

 

The Jiajing emperor eventually refused Zhou Liang’s mission and demanded that his people return to Japan.[70] The emperor’s responses to the two missions reveal that he could not forgive the Japanese for the Ningbo incident in 1523. The story about Wokou was not a story about official tribute missions like the one led by Zhou Liang. A full understanding of the issue requires us to know about the world of private trade and coastal strongmen.

The Inspector General that the Jiajing emperor mentioned was Zhu Wan (朱紈), serving as censor (都御史) and new Inspector General of Nangan in Jiangxi in 1546. He was then promoted to the Provincial Military Commander of Fujian and Zhejiang in 1547. Before Zhou Liang was sent back in 1549, Commander Zhu Wan was given full responsibility by the Jiajing emperor to take care of the mission. One study wrote that in March of 1548, “Japanese ambassador Zhou Liang arrived at the delegation residence in Ningbo. There was an anonymous letter thrown in the middle of the residence that said “the son of heaven has ordered censor [Zhu Wan] to lead his soldiers to kill all the ambassadors. [You] can take a preemptive strike by assassinating the censor at night.”[71] Zhu Wan himself described that “Ningbo’s treacherous people threw a letter into the barbarian residence to instigate the barbarians, encouraging them to stir up trouble. All of them (the treacherous people) are now rest in peace.”[72] Were the treacherous Ningbo people being altruistic to Ambassador Zhou Liang by asking him to lead the Japanese in a revolt so to avoid being killed? It turned out that there was no such a plan whatsoever by the Ming to kill the Japanese ambassadors. But at the time, Zhu Wan was actively destroying the Shuangyu port of Zhejiang, where coastal Chinese and barbarians such as the other Japanese and the Portuguese (called Folangji 佛郎機) actively traded with each other. The letter was most likely from those Chinese strongmen of coastal provinces who again desired lawlessness and the death of Zhu Wan. It also provides an interesting parallel to the Ningbo incident chaos because Chinese strongmen were again hoping to see the Japanese revolt, as they did in the Ningbo incident, such that they may again be able to loot and burn and pushed the blame to the Japanese.

Zhu Wan believed that the Wokou disturbances from the time of 1523 to 1549 all found their source in the Shuangyu port. He wrote a memorial during his first inspection of the port:

Whenever the southern wind pattern started, the treacherous bandits of China gathered barbarians from Japan, and islands like Portugal, Pahang (in today’s Malaysia), and Siam to congregate and station in Ningbo’s Shuangyu port. They communicated information and supported each other with rations, it became almost like a custom. They also spread to four directions to loot. Year after year, day after day, the coastal regions were ravaged to a level beyond words can described.[73]

 

Figure 5: Portrait of Japanese 1.[74]

 

Figure 6: Portrait of Japanese 2.[75]

 

 

Figure 7: Portrait of Japanese 3.[76]

 

 

 

Figure 8: Portrait of Portuguese.[77]

 

 

Figure 9: Portrait of Pahangness.[78]

 

 

Figure 10: Portrait of Siamese.[79]

 

Zhu Wan added in another memorial that “now according to the earlier reasoning, in order to see how the maritime bandits were courting all the barbarians, [we must] take over Shuangyu [port]. I heard that for over twenty years, [they] were boldly looting people and property from some hundreds and thousands of families.”[80] Zhu Wan was well aware that the agency of the so-called Wokou was in the hands of the coastal Chinese. The Shuangyu incident thus refers to his battles against the coastal Chinese who congregated as strongmen at sea. I suggest that we turn to two general accounts that described the cause of this conflict.

Huang Ming yu wo lu, or “the Account of Great Ming’s Reigning of Wo,” compiled by Wang Shiqi (jinshi 1589) under the order of the Wanli emperor described this incident. Wang was the son of Wang Shizhen, an official who had strong sympathies with the Japanese and one of the most outspoken critics against Chinese desperadoes (亡命者). As he revisits the Shuangyu incident, he writes:

The affairs of the sea today first started because treacherous Chinese merchant Wang Zhi, Xu Hai, and others often sold China’s precious goods to barbarian customers. Most of the business was conducted by Yuyao’s (sub-prefecture of Ningbo by the sea) Xie lineage. After a while, the Xies were quite seduced by the value [of the goods]. When the treacherous [merchants] hurried to solicit them back, the Xies owed so much debt that they could not pay it back, so [they] claimed angrily that “We are going to get you to the officials!” The treacherous [men] were enraged but also scared. So they partnered with their men and barbarian customers. At night, [they] looted and burned down the Xie lineage house, killed several men and women, took their booty and ran away. The county magistrate was so panicked that he wrote to his superior saying: ‘Wo thieves have turned into bandits.’ The Inspector General [Zhu] Wan immediately started to arrest the bandits… Powerful bandits at sea (巨盜), aiming at looting, saw that the tide was right so they disembarked, acting as Wo thieves in name only. In reality, there were not even a few real Wo. At the time, there had been too many days of peace at sea that few knew anything about military. When they heard about bandits, each of them run away like birds and animals, and their houses were all empty. When defense soldiers believed that the Wokou were coming, they [too] immediately started running away in tatters.[81]

 

Zhu Wan’s attack on Shuangyu, the headquarter of the coastal Chinese bandits, thus started because of the private business dispute between Chinese coastal strongmen like Wang Zhi and Xu Hai and local elite like the Xie lineage. Wang Shiqi’s writing believed that the so-called Wo bandits that ravaged the seacoast was not the inherently inhumane and brutal Japanese who continued a tradition of killing, but rather it was the coastal Chinese bandits who took the opportunity again, as they did in the Ningbo incident, to turn a crisis into an opportunity of killing and looting and conveniently pushed the blame to the Japanese. Before we turn to a more detailed analysis of Chinese Wokou, it is necessary to briefly examine the dynamism of private trade between the coastal Chinese and the Japanese.

Barbarian customers were known for their goods such as swords and folding fans, though both were perceived negatively by racialist officials. Yang Shouchen wrote in despise that “their tribute goods like swords and folding fans are not a necessity. Their price was not even one thousand [coins].”[82] Historian Charlotte von Verschuer wrote of the price of Japanese swords in the tribute mission, which could range as high as 10,000 coins per sword as in 1432, or as low as 600 coins in 1483. Von Verschuer also added that “folding fans, another Japanese creation, enjoyed particular success abroad… Fans were often decorated with ancient Japanese-style paintings… or with Chinese-style images that had been introduced by Zen monks.”[83] These paintings were perceived by racialist scholar-officials in a negative way. Official Qian Wei and Li Chengxun both claimed that they agreed with Yang Shouchen’s belief of these Japanese goods. Qian Wei wrote “Yang Shouchen said that Wo barbarian often use little objects like swords and folding fans to desecrate the heavenly court” (褻瀆天朝).[84] Li Chengxun wrote the same line.[85] It may be possible that the word “desecrate” meant to describe the paintings on the fan that Chinese officials found inappropriate.

It is difficult to determine to which essay from Yang the two officials were referring. They may also be along the line with anti-trade scholar-officials in general. For example, Gui Youguan believed that “calling foreign barbarian to come trade with us is because they are from afar.” He wrote that treasuring distant products (遠物) not precious product (貴物) defined Ming’s tributary trade relation. In other words, official trade involving the tributary ritual was about the symbolic value rather than physical values of the goods.[86] But for the dynamic private trade that drove the barbarians from all directions to the coastal Chinese was about profit margins. At the same time, the Japanese desired Chinese goods. General Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian gave an extensive list that included “silk, cloth, mercury, irons, iron pot, iron pottery, vinegar, and ancient coin.”[87] Out of all of these goods, I believe the exchange between Chinese coins and Japanese silver to be most revealing of that history of dynamic private trade.

Zheng and Hu wrote that “Wo do not mint their own coins and use only ancient Chinese coins. Every one thousand coins is worth four tales of silver. If they are from Fujian private mint, the new money is worth one thousand coin for one silver and two coins. They only do not use Yongle and Kaiyuan two kinds.”[88] New archaeological evidence proved otherwise of the lack of popularity on Yongle coin (永樂通寶) in Japan, at least not during the Jiajing era. Though this dislike for the devalued Yongle coin was certainly true during the early Ashikaga Shogunate period from 1500 to 1513, the constant inflow of better quality Yongle coin built up the confidence among the Japanese on this Chinese coinage.[89] The popularity was such that, one source quoted Taiyu-in Temple record (大獻院殿御實記), as saying “Japan since the middle age has always received Chinese dynasty’s coins from Quanzhou, especially the Yongle coins of Ming dynasty is of widespread usage. If [you] sell land to people, all [you] say is how many guan (a string of one thousand coins) is this land, or even just the word “Yong” which was synonymous with the word for money.” Yongle coin was, however, eventually banned at the start of the 17th century under Toyotomi Hideyoshi.[90] The period in between this rise and fall included the entire period of the Jiajing era from 1521 to 1567.

Today, archaeologists have unearthed Yongle coin in all parts of Japan, often hidden in pots and stored in temples. In 1930, Japanese scholar Niyuta Seisan investigated 48 places of Japan where 554,714 pieces of coins were found of which 99.8 percent were minted in China, and 73 percent of the coins of Ming dynasty were Yongle coin, ranked as the sixth most common Chinese coins of the study.[91] Also, one location in Hōzan-ji temple in Hyōgo Prefecture found coins numbered a total of 194,825 Yongle coins (mixed with other coins). In other places such as Fukui Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture, one can find Yongle coins at each location numbered at least 10,000 pieces (mixed with other coins).[92] One can only speculate with interest the question, could these coins come from that period of dynamic private trade? We know that Fujian province, one of the Chinese provinces that interacted most extensively with Japan, was minting some 11 million pieces of coins per year at the beginning of the 16th century.[93] Many houses today in southern Fujian also have been found to have hidden numerous foreign silver coins,[94] which most historians would agree could only come from Japan and later the newly discovered America, for China lacks its own silver mines. In my view, whether it was Japanese silver in Fujian or Chinese coins in Japan, archaeological evidence supplements textual records by providing a tangible evidence of a period of dynamic private trade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 11: Chinese making coin money: The process of bringing out the mold.[95]

 

Figure 12: Chinese making coin money: The process of burning the coins.[96]

Figure 13: Chinese making coin money: The process of shining the coins.[97]

Figure 14: Kingdom of Japan making silver money.[98]

After this consideration of the scale of the trade, we return to the main characters, Chinese strongmen in coastal provinces. I suggest that not only were they not subordinated to any Japanese, but they in fact picked up the self-conscious concept of warriors that was popular in traditional local history. There were those such as “Zhangzhou’s so called twenty-four generals (jiang) and twenty eight stars (xiu).”[99] These powerful Wokou did not hide their indigenous origin. While “jiang” reminds us of their association with heavenly soldiers in Daoist cosmic beliefs (a common phrase is Tian bing tian jiang 天兵天將), “twenty eight Xiu” was most obviously of Chinese origin, referring to the heavenly stars in control by four mythical animals called “Azure dragon” (青龍), “Black tortoise” (玄武), “White tiger”(白虎),  and “Vermilion Bird” (朱雀). Then there were the most powerful Wang Zhi (?-1556) and Xu Hai (?-1556), both from southern Zhili, who were both defeated by General Hu Zongxian in 1556. Hu recalled his battle experience with Wang Zhi and wrote “their tactics are cunning. For every ruin they create they conspired to say that island barbarians did that, which is why the southeast knew rebel Wang Zhi but not know that he is the cause of all their miseries.”[100]

While Wang Shiqi’s description of how Shuangyu incident started seem to suggest that there was not even one Japanese implicated in the fighting, Zhang Xiao’s account of the incident is in someways different but another way complementary to Wang’s. Like Wang, Zheng Xiao also paid attention to the treacherous merchants as the leading cause of the Wokou problem. Zheng Xiao was not aware of the implication of this specific Xie lineage but took note on how there were local Chinese elites who could not resist the temptation to cheat barbarian merchants. Zheng wrote that “treacherous local elites (奸豪) got in touch with the outside world and gathered information from the inside (of China to leak secret); there was no peace at sea. Barbarian goods were stored in treacherous merchants’ [houses]. After a while, treacherous merchants took advantage for as much as ten thousands [tales of] gold (多則萬金) and no less than one thousand [tales of] gold (少則千金), delayed them and refused to pay back.”[101]

Zheng’s study is different in that he added the agency of the Japanese. Certainly, Zheng is not uncritical of the coastal Chinese strongmen or Chinese merchant houses just like Wang Shiqi’s study indicates, but Zheng provides an interesting situation in which the assumption of Japanese treachery and inborn brutality is reversed. The treacherous Japanese, as the racialist officials like to call them, were outfoxed by their Chinese merchant counterparts and driven to fighting in order to defend their own interests. First of all, I believe that these Japanese were also private traders. As Zhu Wan wrote, they were seduced by Chinese merchants to congregate in the cosmopolitan Shuangyu port of Zhejiang to trade and to loot. Therefore, they are not the same as official tribute mission. With the strong local elite holding up their goods and refused to return them, Zheng described the predicament of these Japanese: “They went to officials’ houses and were refused help, [thus] knowing that corrupted officials were worse than treacherous merchants.” The account continues to describe how, after they realized they were cheated, the Japanese fled to nearby islands and started killing and looting. Zheng wrote that if the official wanted to send soldiers, there would always be those leaking tips to barbarians (輒齋糧漏師) thus the official tried to “talk softly with the barbarians, promising that, ‘in another day, your merchandise will arrived. But they will be again put in my house.’ After this lasted for a while, the barbarians were in extreme anger at all the elites and official households.” They said “my goods are the items of the King of Japan. If you don’t compensate me, how can I reply to King of Japan. If I don’t loot some of your golds and treasures and kill you, the King of Japan will most certainly kill me.”[102] Zheng highlighted here the corruption of local officials and their collaboration with lineage elites, who together took full advantage of the barbarians hoping that they could leave after being cheated. We certainly need not assume that either Zheng or Wang were omnipotent in knowing every detail and conversation, but what is important in their writings is how they vividly reflected hidden social problems.

The powerful Chinese merchants and coastal strongmen thrived because many coastal people were experiencing economic hardships. Zheng added that now with the participation of Japanese in the killing, it was an opportunity for ordinary folks to join the chaos of looting as well. They ranged from “murderers, prisoners, banished officials, monks, and unemployed scholars” who grew agitated in the context of hunger and cold, and the burden of high taxes and corvee labor.[103] They were led by the infamous Wang Wufeng,[104] Xu Biqi, [105] and Mao Yunfeng,[106] who hired overseas Chinese (華人) to participate in looting of storehouses and letting out of prisoners. Zheng Xiao’s book, Wu xue bian, or “My own learning,” consisted mostly of his selections from secondary sources. Unfortunately, he made no reference to the source of these narratives, though it was rather common for scholars during the Ming to do so especially when concerning popular narrative.[107] I suggest that Zheng Xiao’s study is not an imagination. This narrative of Wonu victimhood and the participation of the majority Chinese Wokou belongs to a dominant pragmatist narrative that countered the idea of the inherent killing instinct of Japanese. Though no pragmatist dismissed the role of “Japanese” once and for all, they considered them as minor in compared to the greatest enemies, those within China itself. Zheng Xiao’s description of Japanese was a group of people forced to condition of despair by their business with the underground Chinese and powerful Chinese merchant houses. This is different from the racialist account in which it was always the innocent Chinese losing their lives to the Japanese who killed and looted for greed. Another important point Zheng made is about the participation of desperate lower class Chinese in coastal provinces such as scholars, officials, and monks who were all in a condition of poverty.

A little known Cantonese origin official Huo Yuxia (霍與瑕jinshi 1559) wrote in an essay about what he thought had led his Cantonese natives to become Wokou. “People of this coastal province were fatigued. [They were] troubled by lawsuits, impoverished by corvee labor, [suffered] the encroachment of [their land by] the rich and the backbreaking debts. Their hatred penetrated into their bones. Their consideration about rebellion has been simmering for a long time.” Huo then compared the coastal strongmen who led the Wokou to famous Chinese historical generals like Liu Bei (劉備), Guan Yu (關羽), Zhao Yun (趙雲), and Zhang Fei (張飛). Huo also urged the government to co-opt three Cantonese elder martial artists, for he feared that they may take up the leadership of the impoverished Cantonese and go to sea.[108] Huo’s examination is similar to Zheng in that both focused on the impoverished and rebellious coastal people and local strongmen who could rally their support. The three elders practiced “exceptional” martial arts, had experienced in military affairs (possibly veterans), and were also boatmen.[109] The likelihood that they would seize this leadership opportunity was there and they might even have had as much potential as Zheng Xiao’s three Chinese pirates Wang Zhi, Xu Hai, and Mao Haifeng. Zheng wrote in reference to Wang, Xu, and Mao, that “these guys are all our overseas Chinese. [They all wear] golden crown and dragon robe, and proclaimed as kings in the islands.”[110]

Song Yiwang (宋儀望jinshi 1547) , who served as Prefect of Wu prefecture in South Zhili and then moved to military affairs in Fujian against Wokou, referenced to this incident and helped Zheng Xiao’s argument that the Japanese started to kill only because they were heavily cheated by the Chinese:

[Our] trouble with Wonu starts from the trouble in China itself. Treacherous people were communicating with Wo. But then afterword, our treacherous people cheated them so much, losing the heart of Wonu, [thus] stimulating them into revenge killing to let out the regret from yesterday… Back then Wonu came here for some substantial marketing (厚販) when they got to place like Ningbo, but were betrayed by traitorous people… Their anger penetrated into their bones. Wang Zhi and Xu Hai, among others, took advantage to solicit their support and gathered people into invading the interior. That is why we face this (Wokou problem) today. China’s trouble is not stoppable.[111]

 

Whether it was the Ningbo incident or Shuangyu incident, the two incidents both highlighted the agency of coastal Chinese strongmen who favored the time of crisis in which lawlessness and killing reigned. I wrote earlier that even official Japanese tribute group led by Ambassador Zhou Liang was almost cheated by Chinese strongmen with the false letter that Chinese authority had ordered all Japanese ambassadors to be killed. The issue of corrupt official, which Zheng Xiao’s description vividly demonstrated was highly probable. In Zheng Xiao’s letter, the officials tried to convince the Japanese that they will be honest keepers of their merchandise. Likewise, Japanese ambassador Zhou Liang also got a sense of corrupt Chinese official. According to Wang Shiqi, Fujianese official Zhang Dexi was killed by Zhu Wan because he was accused of hiding the bandits, refused to tell Zhu Wan about the letter, and even “falsely pretended to announce imperial edict (詐傳詔旨) to instigate the barbarians (Zhou Liang’s tribute group) into assassinating the Inspector General”[112]

The pragmatist narrative that believed the Japanese acted in self-defense and were forced to use violence draws a contrast with racialist narrative. Fan and Tong also believe that Japanese killing was a martial “custom” (習性) and “instinct” (天性) of samurai.[113] The main thesis of their book is that “the Wokou of the Jiajing era were just the same as those in Hongwu and Yongle eras. All were Japanese pirate organizations encouraged by Japanese daimyo to invade and disturb our country. Chinese people’s anti-Wokou struggle was an anti-looting and righteous war.”[114] As to Chinese collaborators like Wang Zhi, Fan and Tong wrote that they are just “self-degenerating.”[115] Fan and Tong lament that “after four hundred years, there are still people who argue that Wokou during the Jiajing era are not Japanese, how pale and weak [that argument is].”[116] I have two challenges to Fan and Tong. First, they share similarity with my analysis of racialist Ming officials who do not take into account the heterogeneity of Japanese. In other words, whether a Japanese was a trader or pirate, whenever there was an incident related to Japanese origin pirates, regardless of who was at fault, it was seen as evidence that all Japanese are born to be like that. Second, nationalist historians like Fan and Tong consider the Wokou issue as a national issue, a struggle between China and Japan. This argument assumes a homogeneity of Chinese race and bypasses the fact that there was a constant struggle between the coastal provinces and the political center. The coastal people’s interest, way of life, and voice were largely subsumed under the umbrella of Chinese nation. Fan and Tong analyzed the writing by racialist official Zhang Chong and concluded that Wokou was about “a foreign race invading the Chinese race” (外族對中華民族的入侵).[117]

I do not believe that my work will resolve the question of “Who were the Wokou” for historians. My goal is not about denying the participation of Japanese, but I discourage the scholarly approach of overly emphasizing nationality and ignoring the fact that social class and individual strongmen in the context of sea ban were the root cause of Wokou. I am also interested in the people being left out of this national debate, the coastal Chinese. When a national historian speaks of Chinese as “we” and Japanese as “them” in bipolar language like good and evil, he ignores the reality that both generalizations are inherently diverse. Not all Chinese shared the same interest and not all Japanese were the same. Coastal Chinese shared the same interest with the Japanese that came to them to trade more than they did with the central government that claimed to represent them by banning overseas trade. Racialist officials and nationalist historians neglect the interest of ordinary coastal Chinese and concentrated on blaming all Japanese for the fault of some Japanese. I suggest that we examine the stratification of Japanese society and then look into the conflicting interest between coastal Chinese and the political center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Examining the heterogeneity of Japanese Wokou

It is useful to also to make clear that there was a class differentiation within the Japanese Wokou. First, we have those who were business-centered. Official Song Yiwang wrote in the margin of his work that “Those Wo came to China, as far as we know, wanted to market and buy [goods], not necessarily aiming at being bandits. Our people going out to the sea also aimed at trade, not necessarily at soliciting [the barbarians to come loot]. The more [we have] sea ban, the more we have bandits. Now our solution is to protect their profit so not to suffer from their [infliction of] harms.”[118] There were Japanese merchants just as there were many Wokou were poor and wretched, whether Chinese or Japanese, who simply followed the strongmen at the sea either to trade or to loot. Thus any discussion that focuses exclusively on Chinese or Japanese must understood that the ethnic origin of the participants made no difference whatsoever. Nor can an identity such as “Chinese” or “Japanese” be considered as homogeneous and singular. Racialist officials like Yang Shoucheng, for example, indiscriminately considered individual Japanese merchants and pirates as the same as Japanese tribute bearers. Chouhai Tubian records clearly the stratification of Japanese society:

People of Japan are divided by the rich and poor. For example, in Harima (攝摩), Ise (伊勢), Wakasa (若佐), Hakata (博多), their people were mostly businessmen. Their places have streets and vistas just like China. There were several thousand households of rich men. There were those who accumulated merchandise [worth] as much as one million (coins?) such as people of Izumi (和泉). [It has] eighty thousand households of rich men that all have accumulated goods for sell.

 

Not only were people of Japan rich, many were also “gentle” (淑).

 

[People of Japan] has those who are gentle and those who are evil (慝). For example,

Yingeli (鹦哥里?) of Satsuma (薩摩) has several thousands li of territory, their town Changanqing (長安慶?) instructs people to do right things, not one thing was stolen in there. Also people of Miyajima (宮島) do not indulge in killing. When things go wrong, they go to the temple to pay fines. Also there are three thousand and eight hundred households of monk in Kii (紀伊), they are trained in martial arts and killing people. But they never offend China.

 

Hu Zongxian and Zheng Ruozeng gave a very detailed account of different parts of Japan. This information possibly come from spies as people like the general Hu Zongxian and later the Fujian governor Xu Fuyuan all sent spies to different places. Chouhai Tubian also provides linguistic training for people who want to learn Japanese by transliterating Japanese pronunciation using Chinese characters. This information from Hu and Zheng cautions scholar officials who try to homogenize Japanese. As the two demonstrated, not all Japanese were bloodthirsty or bandits. Many were in fact merchants who lived well and were “kind” in personality. Hu and Zheng added who in Japan participated in Wokou:

The rich and gentle come to China either on tribute boats or merchant boats. Those who commit banditry are all the poor (貧) and the unkind (惡者). Yamashiro Prince (山城君 referring to either Japanese emperor or Shogun) gave order to them not to come (to China). But his position was an empty name.[119]

 

I mentioned earlier of Wang Shizhen’s interpretation of Ningbo incident. Wang also pointed out how a Fujian eunuch believed that not all Japanese were brutal. Hu and Zheng also argued that there were two types of Japanese, the ones that were mainly interested in trade and the poor and wretched who became Wokou out of poverty. These Japanese, just like China’s own unemployed scholars, officials, and indebted farmers, were all driven to sea because of their social class and economic desperation.

I suggest that while the role of Japanese is important, their participation does not makes Wokou an issue of Japanese versus Chinese. The historiography that tries to turn Wokou issue into a national issue is biased in not taking into account of social class.

Figure 15: Map of Japan 1.[120]

(

Figure 16: Map of Japan 2.[121]

Figure 17: Map of [routes of] Japanese barbarians come to commit banditry.[122]

Figure 18: Map of Four Barbarians.[123]

 

Yang Guozhen, a prestigious scholar of Fujian and Ming/Qing history in Xiamen University, writes in his book that “it must be pointed out, Ming history sources make clear the differences between real Wo and fake Wo, fake Wo and pirates (海賊).” While he concedes that Chinese pirates often collaborated with Wokou, which in this context means “Japanese,” Yang’s argument is that “those who believe that the Wokou in historical sources were all indeed [Chinese] “pirates” makes a judgment that does not accord with facts…Secondly, those pirate attacks that happened simultaneously with Wokou invasion unquestionably belong to China’s internal class struggle… Denying the invasion of Wokou, thus to deny the righteous nature of anti-Wokou battle is also not acceptable.”[124] Yang is similar to Fan and Tong in that nationalist historians in China predominantly emphasize the national origin of Wokou as if it was national difference rather than profit that mobilize all the killing. The logic appears that a Chinese killed by Japanese is somehow different than a Chinese killed by a Chinese. The idea that our pirates are our “internal” problem whereas if a pirate is a Japanese then it is a problem between two countries seems to me an unfair argument driven by nationalistic sentiment.

Today’s historiography that uses the officially preferred term “invasion” (侵略) did have its audience in the Ming. But General Hu Zongxian was not convinced by it. He wrote “those who [commit] banditry in China were all of their island’s’ poorest people. The rumors say that Japan (倭國) built some hundreds or a thousand ships, [which] were all fakes and lies (虛誑).”[125] Neither, I believe, should the term Wokou be taken literally and thus independently from the context of Chinese pirates. Tu Zhonglu (屠仲律jinshi 1545), prefect of Luzhou in the Southern Zhili province wrote, “Barbarian men were about one tenth. Homeless men (流人) two tenths. [People of] Ningbo and Shaoxing were about fifth tenths. [People of] Quanzhou and Zhangzhou [in Fujian] were about nine tenths. Though generally called Woyi (倭夷Wo barbarians), in reality they were all just same (bian hu qi min編戶奇民).” Tu used a comprehensive idiom bian hu qi min which refers to the Chinese state’s practice of putting people into registry. It means that no matter who you are, all of you are the same and will be registered. Tu implied through this idiom that there should not be an emphasis on national origins. For whatever reason, Tu’s calculation mistakenly added up to more than ten.[126]

Therefore, whether they were Chinese or Japanese does not touch the important question of why did Wokou problem continued throughout the Jiajing era? Was it because it was one race, the Japanese, constantly trying to cause problem to another race, the Chinese? Whether it is Chinese or Japanese, the poor people at the coast were all driven to desperation by the sea ban law. I shall come back to this theme over and over in the next few chapters. But it is important to survey the two occupations, traders and pirates. I argue that traders and pirates could turn into the each other easily. The two occupations are highly interwoven. This was well summarized by Xu Fuyuan (許孚遠jinshi 1562), a new Fujian Grand Coordinator in the Wanli era who wrote, “your official is aware that previous people (先民) has the saying that if you open up the trade, then bandits will turn into merchants. [If you] ban the trade, the merchants will become bandits. It is easy to ban trade, but really not easy to ban the bandits.”[127] Just as in the nationality debate, I agree with Ming official Song Yiwang that it did not matter whether they were Chinese or Japanese, their primary goal was to trade, and piracy was only a last resort. I also believe that this fact is in accord with what Hu and Zheng wrote: that the majority of those participated in Wokou were poor people who were hired by powerful merchants who vacillates between the choice of banditry or trade. The powerful strongmen at sea gained preeminence only because coastal people’s livelihood were cut off by the arbitrary ending of trade and connection to the sea.

For most people, the term Wokou, which has the character for “bandit” in it, often denotes the image of Japanese who were busy killing and burning, emphasizing their martial, samurai, or warrior tradition. This largely overshadows the scene of peaceful, interactive, cross-cultural trade. Mao Yuanyi (茅元儀 1594-1640), one of the best known Ming military strategists, in his book on military strategy and technology, Wubei kao, took in a scene that vividly demonstrated Song’s description of trade-wanting, rather than blood-thirsty, Japanese. Mao collected in his section on “Maritime defense” various contrasting opinions among the scholarly circle which he introduced as “the advocate said” (議者曰). According to one advocate, there existed a peaceful underground trading network in Nanao Island, connected closely to the Fujian and Guangdong seacoast.

 

 

 

Figure 19: Map of Guangdong. (See top left for “Nanao Pengshan” 南澳彭山)[128]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The advocate wrote that the Japanese found a place in Nanao to set up their market while the Fujianese, Cantonese, and people of Zhejiang and South Zhili, were doing their part by transferring goods from one province to another depending on where the local authorities were most active arresting people. This game of mice and cat highlighted the multi-provincial collaboration of the coastal people who understood the value of trade. Then how did the Wo barbarians (woyi) on their part engage with the Chinese customers? According to the advocate, “their appointed time was from late April to late May. They left [after that] no matter whether the goods were all sold or not. Their trade happened by setting up tents and laying their goods out on a floorboard (地鋪板). The goods were of particular elegance. [As to their] swords and spears and the like, they left them in their boats.”[129] The designated period of trade was most certainly affected by wind pattern (xun 汛). It also makes sense that business haggling should not have weapons present. The advocate took serious interest in this discovery and said that “if we can order people to sink their boats at the coast, then we can capture those Wo on land even alive!”[130]

Mao writes in his discussion of a naval base in Fujian that the Fujianese (福人) were the ones constructing boats to pick up the Japanese. If you were to navigate in areas like Shaban and Shuangyu, “whichever house’s boat is about to come, to which bay, someone is naturally bound to know. Whenever goods arrived, everywhere there is not a single person does not know it.”[131] All that it takes to get Wokou news is to “pretend to be a merchant and trade with them. Then [you get to know] if they are coming or not coming, and how many of them are coming. In a matter of a year all things are known.”[132] In my view, this shows a degree of mutual trust between the merchants and customers, the connection between coastal Chinese merchants and Japanese traders were not hampered by national difference but facilitated by a common interest in trade and familiarity with sea. While the Wubei zhi is not an endorsement of any particular discourses, also including the perspectives of nationalist/racialists who advocated the end of trade, Mao himself was not neutral on this matter.

In his private collected writings, he writes: “Ending tributary trade (絕貢市) [and] stopping private trade (杜私販) are long term strategies for ten thousand years? [I] doubt that is the complete story (然亦未盡然也). Heaven and earth cannot overturn consideration of human feelings (天地不能違人情), neither could saintly kings of the realm overturn the consideration of human feelings (制道聖王不能違人情).”[133] Mao continues to write that the mutual desire for each others’ goods should not be artificially suppressed. Profit (利) is the most natural element of renqing (huamn feelings人情). This concept of human feelings is a difficult cultural term and possibly untranslatable. It can be used as a tactic to question law and authority and is still being used today. A common phrase used by defendants against the court’s judgment is falu bu wai hu renqing, or “law ought not to exclude consideration of human feelings.” If someone steals a piece of bread out of extreme hunger, he maybe condemned for the act of theft but sympathized by others who forgive him on account of human feelings. In other words, while there may be a certain set of strict law, such as the sea ban and prohibition of trade with overseas barbarians, a dissident may take the risk and ignore the law because he believes while law is not on his side, human feelings is. Renqing can also be used to describe a person. A person capable of human feelings (renqing wei人情味) is someone who has feeling and empathy. If a person makes a mistake at work because he is sick, and his superior takes into consideration of the fact that he is sick and forgives him, then one may say that this superior is capable of human feelings. The concept of renqing may defy law and authority. For example, if someone is a fisherman and the government prohibits him from going near the sea, it is against human feelings. In a famous passage in the Analects which considers what should happen if someone’s father steals a sheep, Confucius believes that the son should not report the father to authority but should cover up for the father, and a father will do the same for his son if vice versa. This is part of the logic of renqing in which consideration of familial love trumps obedience to the law. It stands in opposite to an ancient Chinese philosophy called “legalism” in which law is sacred. But in Confucianism and Chinese society, law has to negotiate a middle ground with renqing in order for people to obey. In the context of Ming sea ban, coastal Chinese actively defied the law using this concept.

Perhaps no official demonstrated this fear of conflict between law renqing more than Zhejiangness official Xu Fuyuan (許孚遠 jinshi 1562), the Fujian Grand Coordinator during the Wanli era, who wrote in a memorial regarding the continuing Ming sea ban that “thousands are unemployed, they have no way for living. [They are] buzzing (weng weng e e).[134] Their influence will be greatly unpredictable.”[135] This Fujian Grand Coordinator understood very well that when peoples’ way of living is cut off, the so called “mother and father officials” (父母官) can only nervously guess what the lower classes are murmuring about in each others’ ears. This was just Mao’s stance that no principle is sacred if it violates the natural instinct of the coastal people, the desire for trade and go out to the sea.

Another Zhengjiangness official Huang Chengxun (黃承玄jinshi 1586), also a Fujian Grand coordinator during the Wanli era, also found Fujianese difficult to rule. Like Xu Fuyuan, the new Grand Coordinator of Fujian was shocked by the local customs of the Fujianese. He wrote in a memorial to Wanli emperor about the condition of Fujian:

[Wokou] either coerced me to open up the trade or use our treacherous coastal people to spy on me. [It seems like] they are the host and I am the guest. They were always relaxing and I am always working. They can freely advance to attack or retreat to defense. [Whereas] I have no place where I do not see an enemy. There is not a day in which I can relax from coastal defense, this is the real disaster of eight prefectures of Fujian.[136]

 

Huang Chengxun touched upon an issue that was timeless the Fujianese tradition of getting along with barbarians in trade and maritime activity. The new Grand Coordinator faced another issue, which was that he mistrusted the loyalty of the Fujianese, and thus his maritime forces excluded coastal people. He wrote that “it is like when they see a wave, their faces turn to dead ashes, when they see the enemies, and they start hiding in the decks. There is little hope that they will fight as if against a common enemy, they are proponents of running away.”[137] While on the other hand, the Fujianese are a maritime people and that is why they can thrive in the Wokou era.

The depiction of the Fujianese as being trade-wanting, maritime, often intermingling with barbarians, and in general cunning and treacherous is a narrative that was almost timeless. It can be found in the words of people in the Hongwu era, the Jiajing era, and the Wanli era. To understand the story about Wokou requires an understanding of the coastal people’s way of life, history, and custom. I will now examine Fujian as a case study to show why there has been such a consistency in who they are throughout the history.

 

  1. Understanding the Coastal Chinese: The case of Fujian

I wrote earlier of how there has been an increasing trend of historians interested in the coastal Chinese. While I am certainly encouraged and excited by this trend, I believe it is important to emphasize the local history of different provinces of China. The private agency of Fujianese, Cantonese or Zhejiangese who go overseas to trade did not mean that they follow what is considered “Chinese”. The term “Chinese” is an umbrella that includes people of many different ways of life and belief who inherited a history that is uniquely their own. What it means to be Chinese is a certainly a debatable question, but I think most will associate it with Confucianism and sedentary agriculture. In this sense, the coastal Chinese are not the typical Chinese for they were maritime, mobile, adventurous and trade-wanting.

The Wanli emperor once wrote a response that in my view sums up well why I caution against the overarching term “Chinese.” In response to a massacre of mostly Zhangzhou Fujianese by the Spanish in Manila, Wanli told his officials that “of China’s four people (social classes), merchants are the meanest. How can we use military on behalf of the meanest? Merchants abandon their families and wander at sea, staying afar because of winter. Father, brother, [and] relatives all despise them!”[138] Maritime sojourners who went overseas to trade or to become Wokou were all making private choices against the wishes of the Ming imperial government. The Wanli emperor despised the Zhangzhou Fujianese, who he considered to be lowest in social class and un-Confucian because they were merchants and travel afar. Thus, I argue that it is necessary for historians to highlight the existence of regional difference and diverse ways of life of people in the coastal provinces. As a Fujianese myself, I shall use the case of Fujian to show how a local perspective will help us understand better the coastal Chinese and Wokou. General Hou Jigao (候繼高 1533-1602) of Zhejiang wrote that “the Wokou problem starts all because Fujian’s Zhangzhou and Quanzhou people solicited barbarians to come.”[139]

Zhang Shiche (張時徹jinshi 1523), Minister of the Board of War (兵部尚書) of Nanjing and a general who fought Wokou, wrote a congratulatory note to his friend Wang Fanghu, Grand Coordinator of Zhejiang, for being newly promoted to the rank of Provincial Military Commander of Fujian (福建提督). After congratulating him on the decimation of Chinese Wokou Xu Hai and Chen Dong, he gives some advice to this Zhejiang-based official on the Fujianese since Zhang himself also once served as Chief Secretary of Fujian (福建參政):

Fujian and Zhejiang are two different places with the same problem [of Wokou]. Fujian is on the sea coast, its people are very used to it, [to the] splash of whales and bubbles of aquatic dragon, [as if they were] swimming in narrow creeks. Always well armed and easily getting into fights, its people are strong and brave which [we] can use. [They] come and go in barbarian islands where they are considered as trusted friends.They can also be used as spy but the problem is they spy us on behalf of barbarians and not help us spy the barbarians.[140]

 

Hoping that Fujianese can spread their “spirit of bravery” and open up a “road to repentance”, and adding the collaboration of local lineages through Baojia, or mutual watch system, Zhang believes that only then could peace resume.[141] Zhang does not specify “Wo” in my examination of several of his memorials, preferring to call them bandits (賊).

But Fujian is also special compared to the other three coastal provinces, Zhejiang, Guangdong, and South Zhili. The choices facing the Fujianese were not the same as say those in Zhejiang and Guangdong, which is why it was way more common to find Fujianese at sea than it is of others. Dai Chongxiao (戴沖霄), a less known general who in the late Jiajing era assisted General Qi Jiguang (戚繼光) in decimating Wokou in Fujian notes what he sees as a problematic of the sea ban. “Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, and other places in Fujian are mountainous with little land. Their everyday necessity depended on the rice from Guangdong’s Huizhou and Chaozhou.” Noting how the sea ban affects the supply of rice and causes it to be expensive, Dai laments that “How can people survive?”[142] He writes that “I also heard that Zhangzhou and Quanzhou people are shipping items to the cities. If they go by the sea, every one hundred jin [143][of rice has] has a road fee of about 3 fen (3/100) tale of silver. If go by road, then the price goes up by twenty-fold.”[144] Fujian, unlike Zhejiang and Guangdong, was of the most food dependent province. Though Fujianese were not passive in letting the merchants of Zhejiang, South Zhili, and Shandong to take profit home safely. General Hou wrote in his study how after shipping the rice to Fujian, and buying up Fujianese sugar, indigo cloth, wood, the merchants from different provinces had to travel together in case that “wicked people in Fujian” may ambush them.[145] Mao shares with Dai in saying that “eight prefectures of Min (Fujian) have lots of mountains and little land and lack interior water ports.”[146] One can see in the maps below of how Fujianese cities like Fuzhou, Zhangzhou, and Quanzhou, were all mountainous.

Mao also writes that people of Guangdong and Zhejiang could make up to three times more money if they were permitted to sell rice to the Fujianese through the sea route, which “Fujianese would feel convenient and [would allow] Cantonese and Zhejiangness to make a big profit.”[147] For people in other three provinces where at least food is secured, trade was more or less a choice. For the Fujianese, it is a matter of survival. Geography thus predetermined the Fujianese participation in overseas trade. In fact, this was the case throughout its history. In the late ninth century, when the kingdom of Min (Fujian) was created, its founder Wang Shenzhi and his general Zhang Mu considered it a priority to “solicit barbarian merchants [to come].” Fujianese trade activity with barbarians was not considered as greed in the traditional Confucian and agricultural China. Fujianese scholar He Qiaoyuan considered this as a virtue along with virtues like “be humble and generous to lower people.” He Qiaoyuan praised them for “gathered the money without having to use violence, it takes only days [for the people] to be rich.”[148]

But geographical limitation did not mean that the Fujianese were content simply for enough money to survive. They were out to make big money as well. General Dai Chongxiao also wrote that:

Poor people of Fujian coast rely on the sea for their livelihood. Catching fish and selling salt is their main occupation. But the profit is really low. The ones that are foolish and weak think “how can we be contented?” The wicked ones and the tough ones all voluntarily boarded barbarians’ ships to go to foreign countries for profit. The profit can be as much as ten times [more than what they make at home].[149]

 

Figure 20: Map of Fujian.[150]

Figure 21: Map of Fuzhou Prefecture of Fujian.[151]

Figure 22: Map of Quanzhou Prefecture of Fujian.[152]

 

Figure 23: Map of Zhangzhou Prefecture of Fujian.[153]

The Fujianese desired to go to overseas countries to make profit. They were able to do so because it was rooted in their custom and history. Zhang Shiche may not have been exaggerating when he said the Fujianese were swimming in dragon’s bobble and whales’ splash. General Tang Shunzhi wrote that “the root cause of banditry all starts in Fujian. In order to plan and control the sea, this area is the number one priority. They and the ocean share one breath together, the Fujianese bandits are also now the bandits in Zhejiang and Zhili.”[154] Xie Zhaozhe (謝肇淛 jinshi 1592), a native of Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian, wrote a book Wu za zu in which he described many of the local customs of Fujian. I believe that these customs tell us the characteristics of Fujianese and help explain why they did what they did in the era of  the Wokou, such as trade and maritime activity. Xie wrote that there is a ghost story in coastal provinces about how the ghosts and humans were trading goods with each other every night by the sea, and Qin Shihuang, the first Chinese emperor, is the guardian of the trade between the living and the dead. The moral of this story teaches that “living people must not deceive the dead people.”[155] The story’s implied message is to ask merchants to be honest when doing trade. Fujianese also celebrated a custom involving “boat racing, which [historically] the Kingdom of Chu and Kingdom of Shu were most famous for. Our Fujian love it as well and believe that it chases out all the plagues; the officials tried to prohibit this custom but could not succeed.”[156] Xie also identified with the courage of Fujianese maritime sailors in their fearlessness of the ocean. He mocked a group of Zhejiang boatmen for foolishness because they were afraid to sail beyond of a small island because of rumors that the island was the palace of sea dragons.[157]

Zhejiangness official Chen Kan (陳侃), the Jiajing emperor’s emissary who was sent to Ryukyu for investiture in 1531, wrote about the maritime bravery of Fujianese sailors from Fuzhou. The investiture boat encountered a tempest that went on through the night, and the several dozens of Fujianese sailor cried so loud that even heaven could hear them. Chen wrote of the hopelessness that he and other emissaries felt “we people knew then that there was no chance for survival. We looked to each other and sighed.”[158] But suddenly, he heard the Fujianese boatmen all shout “Tianfei” (天妃Goddess of the sea), imploring for her help. A mysterious red light then appeared in the boat which convinced the Fujianese that Tianfei was there with them. “Seeing the sign of auspiciousness, the crowd suddenly got up to move the rudder. The tiller was really heavy. It was over two thousand jin, normally not even one hundred men were enough [to lift it]. But these several dozen men lifted up effortlessly.”[159] The courage of Fujianese sailors saved Chen twice in this journey, so he petitioned to the Jiajing emperor to construct a monument for the Goddess saying that this Fujianese origin God was saving people since the time of Zheng He.[160]

The Fujianese also learned to get along with the nature and not to fight the nature. For example, Fujian seaman all know that they must obey the wind and not fight the wind.[161] Xie Zhaozhe differentiates between how Chinese emperors and Fujianese have viewed nature differently. He mentions how Emperor Qin Shihuang was climbing a mountain and encountered a great storm, thus he sought revenge by giving an order to burn the mountain. When Emperor Sui Yangdi was on a boat tour and encountered a strong wind, he angrily shouted that the wind was arrogant (ba hu跋扈). In juxtaposition, Xie continues to write “today, the Fujian dialect still pronounce “rain” (Fujianese: hou 雨) for the word “support” (Fujianese: hou 輔).”[162] Therefore, inherent in Xie’s writing is the understanding that Fujianese are more capable of understanding nature and getting along with nature (which is necessary for any maritime people) than the powerful Chinese emperors. Whether it is getting along with nature such as rain and wind, fascinated by boat race, being honest in trading, or being fearless of the sea, these everyday stories told through the perspective of Xie Zhaozhe’s “We Fujianese” (吾閩人) show unique local customs and characteristics of this maritime people.

Besides introducing Fujianese customs, Xie also vividly shows a Fujianese conception of the sea. Xie believes that the relationship between the continent and the sea ought not be confrontational, that China ought not to be considered as separated from the sea.“Overseas countries like Ryukyu and Japan are in the sea and not beyond the sea. It is not certain whether beyond the northern desert there exist any seas. If there are, then China and northern barbarians are also in the sea.”[163] This harmony with the sea and nature helps us understand why the Fujianese and other coastal people actively participated in maritime activities. Unlike people in non-coastal provinces, coastal people considered the sea as their home.

I also like to draw attention to the work of Zhi Dalun (支大綸jinshi 1572), magistrate (Tuiguan 推官)[164]of Quanzhou. Zhi’s writing left many vivid details that show the everyday life of Fujian and its chronic problems. I suggest that we examine several of his career experiences, which will aid us in understanding the coastal people. In my view, the vivid everyday life of common folks is helpful in understanding the larger theoretical debate between officials. Zhi Dalun was a minor and little known official, but he preserved many court cases and implemented policies to suit the local needs. In one public announcement to all doctors in Quanzhou, he wrote of the chronic problem faced the Fujianese: Famine.

Our prefecture’s poor people often experience the hardship of famine, hunger, and cold. In the spring, there is even a plague. Rich people are affected a little bit but they can rely on doctors to gradually cure themselves. Only the poor people close their doors and lie on the bed, without even enough to eat, not to mention where they are going to get the medicine. Now I order the doctors of our prefecture to come to the courtroom to get funding and use it to buy medicine. Whenever you see people who are sick, record it and give them the medicine. Every morning knock on their door to send them some medicine. Once their sickness begins to be cured, take some of the porridge I made from cooking white rice, plus some vegetable and salt, give to each of them in the record. If they have some dependents, then give them some more rice for them to cook. Every doctor must not shortchange the amount, or give bad medicine to cover up, I have a way to find out. Do not think you can deceive me. I leave my words here.[165]

 

In another announcement, also in the context of famine in Quanzhou, the magistrate encountered the difficulty of how to treat farmers violating the law by killing old farming cows for food. As opposed to enforcing the law and punishing them, he wrote:

The farming cow is old but people always have the sympathy for him and do not want to kill him. But nowadays, with the heavy taxes and burden of miscellaneous corvee labor, the people experiencing the famine are living in difficult situation. Common folks’ families cannot take care of themselves. There are elder parents who need to be fed and there is not even enough food for them. Who has the extra energy to find a piece of land to continue to take care of the sick and old cow?

 

His decision was that it was understandable to forgive the guilty for killing the old and sick cow in the context of famine but he prohibited others from killing hardworking and healthy cows.[166] This Quanzhou magistrate was concerned with the condition of the poor people, but the problem of famine was a chronic problem and understandably poor people were always the ones that suffered the most. The famine in Quanzhou combined with the larger problem of the food dependency of Fujian in general. How could the Fujianese survive if a drought comes and at the same time, just as general Dai Chongxiao said, rice transportation by sea is prohibited? The impractical law of the political center contrasts with the flexibility of magistrate Zhi who understood that you cannot blame the poor people for killing an old cow because they were driven by extreme hunger. Magistrate Zhi even cooked white rice himself to feed the poor.

I emphasize this story because these poor people are the ones who could either be left to die or they could venture to sea. The sea not only was closed to them, it was a way in which the poor Fujianese could make huge financial gains. Poor and hungry, it also is understandable if these people took up arms and joined the Wokou. I will show later the story of one Fujianese from Quanzhou who was driven to sea precisely because of the famine problem magistrate Zhi described. He was one of those who refuse to accept the fate of the poor, and thousands of Fujianese eventually gathered in ships armed with cannons to sail for a better life. As far as I know, Zhi Dalun’s experience has never drawn the attention of any historian. He was a minor local official and did not influence any major events. I argue that it is important to look at his stories and those of other minor officials such as the Cantonese Huo Yuxia, for they were actually the ones who interacted with real people. It is not Zhang Chong or Xia Yan, court officials near the emperor, but these lower rank officials who knew most clearly the condition of simple people.

I highlighted here the fact that Fujianese were driven by geography and economic conditions to go out in search of a better life. I would also draw attention to the fact that while the Fujianese may have gone to trade out of desperation, magistrate Zhi also had the experience of dealing with Fujianese who were capable of stratagems and defying the government. In other words, the Fujianese were not always passive to their condition. Some were really excited by situations of crisis and lawlessness. As I said early, General Zhang Shiche believed that Fujianese were always hungry for a fight. While some poor people may have locked their doors and lain on the bed in situations of desperation, others bonded together and became successful Wokou. I want to illustrate briefly how the underground Fujianese were always playing with authority. This brief account should solve one obvious issue, which is that no society and people can be simply generalized as good or evil. It will also help us transition to a discussion I have about the stratagems of coastal Chinese and their taking advantage of the crisis for personal gains.

During his career, the magistrate recorded a business dispute between two merchants who gathered dozens of people in a gang war because of competition over profit, and one of the merchant even pulled out three Japanese swords.[167] In another record, “local scums” (市井之無賴) tried to become local headmen (zongjia 總甲) by bribing prestigious old men with wine, prostitutes, and feasts.[168] In another record, a man reportedly carried on his shoulders one thousand tales of silver to bribe so and so Minister and Chief Justice, “telling both of them to protect him, and he boasted of himself as an insect with a hundred legs (meaning he would never be caught).”[169] While it may be obvious that criminal elements exist in almost all societies, I highlight these stories of bribes, fighting against authority, merchant competing over profit, only to show the everyday challenge facing a low ranking official in Quanzhou Fujian. They help illustrate the theme of “traitorous people” (奸民) that general like Zhu Wan took notice.

When general Zhu Wan first came to Fujian in 1546 and surveyed the maritime defense of the province, the ubiquity of crimes in Fujian shocked him and led him to vow serious reform. He noticed on how Fujianese in Zhangzhou were dismissive of the magistrate over there. They were at liberty to do what they wanted without fear of the magistrate of Zhangzhou. Zhu wrote to the Jiajing emperor: “Just January of this year, the bandit forcefullya Wuzhou’s decent woman and claimed that [he] wanted to marry her. Ten miles from there, [he and his followers were] up in a tall tower, performing Chinese operas, publicly feasting and singing.” In Tongan sub-prefecture of Quanzhou, there was a “jinshi degree holder Xu Fuxian who was at home taking care of parents. One of his sisters was taken by the sea bandit. Because of this marriage connection, his family became imminently rich.” There were also a former Quanzhou magistrate’s assistant (qian shi僉事) named Lin Xiyuan (林希元) who compiled in volumes words that defamed the Quanzhou magistrate and handed one or two volumes to higher rank officials, “claiming that he was just being honest, when in reality he was blackmailing them. Local officials all feared and hated him.” Also, Lin Xiyuan was responsible for “private torture, false public announcement, theft of government property, and the construction of illegal giant ships. [He] pretended that they were just for ferrying, [when in reality] they were used specially for the smuggling of contraband goods.” Zhu Wan lamented how law does not exist in Fujian. “The so-called village official, the beacon of the entire village, was reduced to a condition of pity. [The bandits] did not even put officials in their eyes (meaning extremely dismissive), Zhangzhou and Quanzhou are breeding grounds of criminals.”[170]

I argue that one cannot fall into the dichotomy of good and evil such as that evident in the racialist official Xia Yan’s memorial. It is not that the “living beings of the coast” were all innocent victims of Japanese Wokou, some coastal Chinese thrived on lawlessness and were the beneficiaries of an era of crisis by arming themselves to become bandits. I am also disappointed by the disproportional blame on the Japanese by both racialist officials and nationalist historians. While some Japanese came to China for trade, others were drawn into piracy not because of their own agency but because of the solicitation of coastal Chinese. Lower class Japanese did not lead an invasion of China, they simply followed the will of Chinese coastal strongmen who took advantage of them through bully, deception, and abuse.

 

 

  1. Reverse of the Narrative of Good and Evil

On February 28 in the twentieth year of Wanli (1592), two months before the outbreak of Imjin war in which Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea, a spy letter was sent by Xu Yi (許儀) to Zhu Junwang (朱均望). Xu Yi was a Chinese doctor who was kidnapped by Wokou and sold to Satsuma where his superior medicinal skill led him to gain the trust of Japanese. He wrote that “the overseas Chinese living in Japan are all parties of thieves and bandits. Not one of them wants to tell the truth, all are marketing and living in the village, not caring even slightly about national affairs, and none wants to tell the truth.” Xu Yi was a nationalist who cared about the Great Ming. When delivering the letter to Zhu Junwang in China, the two hugged each other and both shed tears, and Xu said “we could finally dedicate ourselves to the country!” In this secret letter, Xu Yi recorded all his experiences in Japan and covered areas from military affairs to Japanese custom.

One small part of this letter strikes me. In the section “Explaining why Japan wants to invade” (陳日本入寇之由), Xu Yi brought up his knowledge about Japan aiming to invade China rather than Korea:

Ryukyu sent monks to come pay tribute (to Japan) and was given a hundred tales of gold in return. They were told that “I, [Toyotomi Hideyoshi], want to invade Great Tang (China) and use your Ryukyu kingdom as a pathway and therefore request you to come. Not long ago, we asked the cohorts of Wang Wufeng (Wang Zhi) who told us that ‘in the old time, when Great Tang caught Wufeng, our people led some three hundred men looting all the way from Nanjing and down to Fujian. After a year, we all return with full armor. Great Tang is afraid of Japan like tigers. We can conquer Great Tang as easily as flipping a hand.” The regent (關白 Toyotomi Hideyoshi) then said “with our intelligence and our soldiers, [our invading China is like] a flood storms through the sand, a sharp sword chops up the bamboo, which country will not go extinct?”[171]

 

This letter helps illuminate some history of Wokou incidents during the Jiajing era. The event involving the three hundred Wokou was in 1556, the year of the death of Wang Zhi. It was during the peak of Wokou ravages that Wang Shizhen wrote “disturbance [were] all under heaven, Southeast had exhausted its bones marrow.”[172] It is debatable whether Wang Zhi’s three hundred men were Japanese or overseas Chinese. If they were Japanese, it makes sense that they identified with Japan and said that China feared Japan like tigers. But on the other hand, it was also convenient for Hideyoshi to co-opt the legacy of Wang Zhi since his intention was to convince Ryukyu ambassadors that Japan was capable of invading China. The Wokou legacy was not a burden of national image anymore but more a political bargaining chip that showed Japan’s strength.

There is another possibility, which is that the three hundred men were all overseas Chinese, or huaren. This term was closely related to coastal Chinese. Zheng Xiao wrote, “Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangnan, Jiangbei, and Guangdong, all have people who follow Wonu. For the most part, the bandits were all huaren and Wonu were about one tenth or two tenths.”[173] Xu Yi’s letter may favor the nationalist historian who would argue that the Japanese leader Hideyoshi was proud of that history of Wokou invasion. For example, nationalist historians Fan and Tong connected Wokou, Hideyoshi, Japanese war criminals during World War Two, and present day right wing parties, as they said that they are all “of the same strain” (一脈相承).[174] I argue that Hideyoshi was co-opting that legacy of Wang Zhi. The agency and the leadership of Wokou were not in the hand of Japanese but coastal or overseas Chinese. The two term are interrelated because once coastal Chinese go to the sea, they are often called huaren (華人), or tangren (唐人). As opposed to the Japanese, I argue that it was always the coastal Chinese who were the superior.

The Fujianese were among the most active coastal Chinese to take advantage of this maritime crisis. Tu Zhonglu (屠仲律 jinshi 1550), prefect of Luzhou in South Zhili, wrote “The Zhangzhou and Quanzhou coastal people built giant ships. People said that in the next spring, Wo were bound to come. Your official at the beginning could not believe it. [It] turned out to be true.”[175] In other words, whether Wokou were coming or not did not depend on the agency of Japanese, the townsmen knew that their coming was all up to the Fujianese to decide. Tang Shu (唐樞 jinshi 1526 ), was Chancellor of Board of Punishment and one of the most widely known Wokou experts whose works interested Zheng Ruozeng, Hu Zongxian, Mao Yuanyi and many Ming studies on Wokou. He believed that Chinese Wokou were dangerous even to Japanese tribute bearers. He wrote that “The Wo live in Eastern ocean right across from Zhejiang and Fujian. [Their business] goes through the southern Ningbo path. Whenever they appear, there are Zhangzhou and Ningbo outlaws [waiting for them]. Thus, they [the Japanese] must hide themselves and use their martial learning. The fact that they [the Japanese] are bonding together thus is an inevitability.”[176] Another official believed that Chinese Wokou inspired Japanese merchants to become Wokou. Liu Xi (劉熹 jinshi ?),Vice Chancellor of Rectifying Armed Force of Zhejiang (浙江兵部副史), wrote that “Wonu’s situation was originally just about trade. In China, they interacted with Chinese merchants only in private smuggling. But then they realized how the gain of looting was far greater than trade. The Wonu’s hearts were therefore corrupted.”[177]

But even though Japanese merchants could turn into banditry, they were acting privately and not through government actions. Wang Shu (王忬jinshi 1541), the Provincial Military Commander of Fujian and Zhejiang in 1552 and a successor to General Zhu Wan, tells us “that now every Wo trades privately, they get all the benefit. The chieftains [in Japan] are very unhappy. [They] try to stop the Wo from going east, often telling every Wo not to attack the east. Yesterday, those who went to Huangyan (island) were mostly killed… [The chieftains] stopped some twenty or so Wo boats from coming to China.”[178] Thus, as of now, we have mostly concentrated on the Japanese merchant class who were influenced by the Chinese Wokou to participate in piracy.

I wrote in chapter 6 the heretogeniety of Japanese Wokou, that besides the merchant class, i.e. those who were “kind” and “rich”, the majority of the Japanese participants were poor just like the coastal Chinese. Poverty was understandably a main drive for people to participate as Wokou, whether they were coastal Chinese or Japanese. Official Tang Shu wrote that there were seven circuits (七道) in Japan, of which three were associated with mountains: Sotomonomichi (C. Shanyin dao), Tōsandō (C. Dongshan dao), and Kagetomonomichi (C. Shanyang dao). “Nowadays the news that [they the Japanese] are escaping famine is not a fake narrative. Last year the three mountain circuits were experiencing drought. Our people long had wicked ideas and took the opportunity to solicit their participation, hiring them while they were hungry. But none of their kings knew anything about it.”[179]

Tang Shu’s “our people” refers to people of Zhangzhou and Ningbo who he believed “chose the path of no return (meaning becoming members of the underworld), having no where to hide, Thus they all practiced gruesome martial arts and bonded together.”[180] Knowing that they themselves had not enough manpower, “our people” actively solicited the Japanese when the latter were experiencing famine. These Japanese were not the ones leading the Chinese, but vice versa. I will illustrate this point further by comparing the beliefs of three officials. Zheng Xiao (鄭曉jinshi 1523), Minister of the Board of Punishment; Tang Shunzhi (唐順之jinshi 1529), Chancellor of the Board of War in Nanjing; and Wang Shizhen (王世貞, jinshi 1547), Chancellor of the Board of Punishment.

Zheng Xiao was first of all a scholar with extensive literary accomplishments such as the book Wu xue bian (吾學編). The Korean court in the new year of 1564 came to Beijing specifically requested the purchase of Zheng Xiao’s book Wu xue bian and Wang Shizhen’s Yan shan tang bie ji (弇山堂別集).[181] Both books are voluminous studies of over ten thousand pages each. My examination of the two scholars also partly draws from these two works. Zheng Xiao was also a capable general who wrote extensive war report memorials to the Jiajing emperor.

Zheng Xiao’s work has been widely studied. For example, Fan and Tong quoted Zheng Xiao’s Wu xue bian extensively to argue for Japanese brutality and agency, such as one instance in which Zheng Xiao describes the Japanese as ferocious and greedy.[182] Wu xue bian, like I mentioned before, is called “my own learning” which he wrote by studying secondary sources. However, there is also the personal side of Zheng Xiao. Zheng Xiao’s letter to Tang Shunzhi is one of the sources that I find has received no scholarly attention. In his Zheng duan jian gong wen ji (鄭端簡公文集), or essay collection, which is also partly incorporated in the Ming Statecraft Collection, we find not the serious scholarly works organized by chronology and themes, but scattered personal entries. I shall examine important parts of the two letters in which he wrote to general Tang Shunzhi, his long time friend. Not only was Zheng Xiao not a racialist or nationalist, he was sympathetic toward Japanese lower class people being misled into Chinese Wokou organizations:

These bandits are all overseas Chinese, manipulating the barbarians to commit their own evil.  Fall passes and spring comes, everything operates as a norm. This fall may not see them, [but it] only means the spring next year will be more worrisome. Killing all the real Wokou is not what Wu (武martial spirit) is about. I have learned that those in their lands came to China to trade, their father, mother, wife, and children wrote letters to call them back. But they did not know that they have become floating ghosts. If the real Wo are caught, [we] should keep several of them, give them our official letter and order them to keep this and return to their islands. When they read them in their islands, [they will then] tell their people over there not to listen to the words of overseas Chinese to become bandits and lose their lives. Since they [the real Wo] will have seen it with their own eyes, their words are bound to be sincere. They [the islanders] most likely will trust it. Those treacherous people [Chinese] who did the soliciting will then run out of ideas. Listen to how much they [the Japanese] feel have been wronged. You only need to see a few lines to be deeply in touched.[183]

 

Zheng Xiao writes of how the real Wo, the Japanese, were being mistreated and taken advantage of by the overseas Chinese. He writes that “barbarians are human too,” and cautions Tang that the problem will keep on going “if only insisting on maneuvering soldiers and investing money to pursue and kill them.” Zheng’s letter is full of sincerity and respect for Tang. He ends his letter by concluding that “the trouble is not in the islands, but inside the wall (xiao qiang蕭薔). Thirty years of friendship as if having the same bone and flesh (meaning they are like brothers), [I] do not dare to be unusually submissive and quiet. I write this quickly with my brush, therefore [it is bound to be] incoherent.”[184] Zheng Xiao does not considered “martial spirit” as equivalent to excessive killing. He emphasizes understanding and empathy by suggesting the human side of barbarians. He brings up the fact that they have families. Confucianism highly values the centrality of family in a moral society. Therefore, he suggests that their lives should be spared. This is in contrast to Zhang Chong’s metaphor of the Japanese as dogs or racialist officials who believed that barbarians should be decimated by heaven.

Zheng had good reasons to write to Tang, for Tang was a general who focused primarily on military affairs. Zheng Xiao calls Tang “Kongming” the courtesy name of famous military strategist Zhuge Liang in 3rd century A.D.[185] Tang certainly deserved this tile; not only was he famous for his military experience but he was also a famous martial artist. But Tang leans toward the nationalist camp. He writes concerning both the “Eastern barbarians” (Japanese) and “Northern barbarians” (Mongols) that “China and its barbarians are like a big house that had thieves for neighbors, not afraid of their strength so much as their proximity.”[186] In most of his victory-related memorials, the general took great interest in counting the number of heads especially of real Wo, i.e., the Japanese, promising 30 tales of silvers per head.[187] Tang is a traditional Confucian loyalist who believes in the duty of officials to emperors. In 1559, then the 52 year old Tang Shunzhi sensed his ill health and wrote a memorial to the Jiajing emperor on his life experiences.[188]

Tang writes that “your official had his origins in Changzhou prefecture [in southern Zhili],  [grow up as] a person with a record of crime. I saw the plague of Wokou and understand the business at sea… Ever since I was entrusted with command, I have experienced the ocean and walked on foot with my troops. [Now] an old man in retirement, I still go around visiting and getting information.” Tang continues describing how he “met with Hu Zongxian and others, [together] respectfully sharing opinions on issues such as the recent imperial edict on training soldiers.” For Tang, military strategy was his chief concern. “Knowing that I might die at any moment,” he writes to the emperor that the fight against Wokou must be carried out at sea and not on land because Chinese warships are typically stronger and bigger than those of the Wokou. How to treat soldiers well is another important matter especially concerning proper rewards, regular food rations, etc.[189] Likewise, he is famous for the theory of hitting Wokou like hitting tiger. It is best to hit tigers when they are hungry, meaning when they came to look for food (Wokou who came to loot out of desperation). It is less advantageous to hit the tigers when they try to protect the meat at their mouth and on their way home (Wokou who tried to protect their gains).[190]

Whatever the strategy, Zheng considers Tang to have missed an important element. In another one of his letters to Tang, Zheng Xiao cautioned him against overly emphasizing Japan and not see the real enemy. “Jiangnan’s rich and powerful men find it profitable to collaborate with the bandits. [They] benefit from looting and stealing, ravaging the villages and towns. [These] collaborators of the bandits supply food and leak secrets, [and have] hundreds of wicked stratagems, [all were] especially fearsome.”[191] Zheng Xiao and Tang Shunzhi are different in that Tang considered Wokou problem as a Sino-barbarian issue. Tang’s metaphor is that China is the rich man who unfortunately had poor and greedy neighbors. On the other hand, Zheng Xiao used a classical term, “xiao qiang”. While the word means “wall”, the wording “the trouble is not in the islands, but inside the wall” (禍不在海島, 而在蕭薔) is a rephrase of a line in Confucius’s Analects. “I am afraid [official] Jisun’s concern is not in Zhuanyu (a country), but inside the wall” (吾恐季孫之憂,不在顓臾,而在蕭牆之內也). A Chinese idiom originated from this classic is xiao qiang zhi huo (蕭墻之禍) or “trouble inside the wall.” The story is that Confucius was skeptical of official Ji Sun chanting for conflict with a foreign country because he knew that Ji Sun only wanted to use it as an excuse to solve domestic problem. Simply speaking, the idiom means internal trouble. Zheng Xiao advocates for an attention of China’s own people.

As a general who actually was in the battlefield fighting with Wokou, rather than serving the emperor in the court, he took notice of the participation of Chinese in the Wokou, Tang is well aware of the participation of Chinese. For example, he noted how a little known Chinese became a powerful Wokou and how a group of so-called Wokou were all Chinese:

Your official sees it with my own eye, over thousands of Wozi (meaning Wokou) in Sansha [islands] were natives of Guazhou [in Southern Zhili]. One of the kidnapped man, Feng San, encouraged them to adventure for treasures in Yangzhou (揚州取寶), then they all swarmed there from afar. Feng San in China has not even the weight of a louse, but in the island he can have such influence. Even though he has been exterminated, the poison has long been spread.[192]

 

In fact, I wrote this earlier that racialist officials all know about the participation of Chinese in the Wokou, it is only that they put them in a lesser importance than they did of Japanese. This is most clearly demonstrated in Tang’s case. I believe Tang’s nationalist belief is also because he is a typical Confucian loyal official and a devout believer of Sinocentric world order.

In his palace exam for jinshi degree (廷試策一道) taken in 1529, Tang made several interesting points:

Your official understands that at this moment, the emperor has a heart that is like that of [King] Tang of Yin [Shang dynasty] blaming himself in the forest.[193] He is also like Emperor Gao (Ming founder) sitting on a sheet outside the palace [concerned that] there has not been any rain throughout the summer… The heart of heaven is humane, I will like to assist the emperor to work as hard as if xiao gan (宵旰 meaning putting up dress before the sun comes out and eat only when the sun sets) in order to achieve the prosperous age of Jiajing…[194] The way of a official is to be able to bring peace to the people, and also to be able to eradicate the bandits and defend against the barbarians. Therefore, your official believe that the most important step to take to bring peace to the people is the get the right [talented] persons. It is said that of these people who become bandits, how can it be their genuine wish? All were forced by conditions of despair or ignorance of consequences…[195] When the son of heaven is righteous, he defends against the barbarians of four direction. But nowadays, all the barbarians are being opportunistic in disturbing our border and slaughtering our people. The trust of people [in government] is jeopardized. Your official believes that the main trouble is not the barbarians [being strong] but that our China lacks its own [capable] general.[196]

 

First, Tang’s loyalty to the Jiajing emperor is expressed through the language of a typical Confucian gentleman. The emperor is concerned for the people and he sympathizes with them because he is humane. The barbarians of four sides are inferior so they killed our innocent people. Tang upholds the belief that China is not weaker than barbarians. All China needs is capable generals. Toward the end of his exam, he sums up his theory using a Confucian belief of moral uprightness as the solution to all problems. While Zheng Xiao used the idiom Xiao qiang from Confucius, in the same section of the Analects, Confucius also said “if those people in afar are not contented, then [we] should cultivate our literacy and morality to attract them [to us]” (故遠人不服, 則修文德以來之). Tang follows that idea about Chinese-barbarian relationship:

[Sage king] Shun ruled with profound morality and therefore all the bandits and thieves disappeared. Likewise, defending against the barbarians is the same principle. Do not be idle and do not be negligent, [when] the four barbarians come the king, the sage king shows his cultivated morality to barbarians and treats all barbarians as his guests, this is the best strategy (shang ce上策) to defend against barbarians. It is just like what Dong Zhongshu (董仲舒 a famous Confucian scholar) described as ‘if the heart is righteous, then the court will be righteous; if the court is righteous, then hundreds of officials will be righteous; if hundreds of officials are righteous, then ten thousand people in far and near will be righteous.[197]

 

Second, Tang got his jinshi degree with this essay because he touched upon exactly what the Jiajing emperor wanted to hear. The theme of our people becoming bandits not because of inherent evilness but life hardships is a typical expression of humaneness. I believe one reason that the Jiajing emperor was unwilling to criticize people in China more than people in Japan for Wokou banditry is because it conflicted with his duty as the son of heaven. As Tang’s writing implies, the morality of the emperor is proportional to the level of peace in society. If an emperor is as sage as Shun, then there ought not to be any bandits and thieves. In other words, if there are bandits and thieves roaming in society, it is an implication that the emperor is not sufficiently moral. The emperor therefore ought to show humaneness and forgiveness to his people for committing crime and at the same time sympathizing his people for being slaughter by uncivilized barbarians.

In 1523, the Jiajing emperor wrote an Imperial Edict in response to a series of natural disasters, a sign of losing Heaven’s endorsement: “Heaven causes me to be in shock and afraid, not be able to sleep or eat.” The emperor then wrote that it must be that his officials were covering up people’s difficulties such that Heaven transfers the blame to the emperor.[198] In 1524, another imperial Edict includes the statement that “everywhere, all the bandits are people driven by hunger, cold, and poverty. They became homeless and unemployed or being coerced by others into forming bandit groups. When the imperial edicts arrives, all officials must send announcement to send my message of permitting them to turn themselves in and erasing their previous crimes.”[199] More than just formal and ritual language, I believe that the the Jiajing emperor was sincere in considering himself as son of heaven. I argued earlier that the Jiajing emperor may have been heavily influenced by racialist officials around him during the Ningbo incident. But the Jiajing emperor himself also adhered to the traditional Confucian teachings. In one of his rare to directly address local people in Chengtian Prefecture of Huguang province in 1541, he told the commoners that:

People of this village, let me tell you that when my parents were alive, at the time of Xiao Emperor, our fief was here. My father and mother accumulated such great virtue that [heaven allowed me] to inherit the position of emperor. Today, I come here for my parents. Every one of you should have elder parents from those years [when I lived here]. Today, seeing those of you like me who are young people, [I only find out] that I have not a bit of virtue at all. My father and mother are all in heaven now. This is a bitter feeling that you must all feel as well. After my business today, I will be returning to Beijing. I am just here to tell you some important words. Everyone must be employed and fulfill the duty of filial piety. Those of you who are the fathers must instruct your sons and grandsons. The elderly must support the young, and the young must respect the elderly. Be energetic about life and be good persons, follow these words of mine. But I cannot say more in depth for the convenience of those illiterate ones among you. You should teach them so that you can save the trouble of keep on remembering it.[200]

 

The Jiajing emperor has an incredible connection with, and concern for, his people. He urges them to uphold filial piety and talks to them as if he is their equal, making fun of himself for not being as virtuous as the young people he sees. The element of humor is also present as he tries not to embarrass those who cannot understand big words. These words from the Jiajing emperor and those from Tang Shunzhi together explain why, unlike the pragmatist officials and generals, they are less inclined to criticize “our people.” It is because both of them are committed to the ideology of a harmonious relationship between the ruler and the ruled in an ideal Confucian world. Our people may commit crime such as to become Wokou but they can be guided by morality. They both vehemently criticized the barbarians because of the hierarchy between the civilized and uncivilized in the Sinocentric world.

The Jiajing emperor wrote an imperial edict in 1542 in reference to losing the blessing of Heaven (天心) which described how the hierarchical sino-barbarian relationship was worsened by a lack of good officials. “China is Yang and foreign barbarians are Yin. Nowadays the barbarians invade China as if is a barren land. Thus, one can see that it has to be caused by the officials far and near do not love the people.”[201] Throughout his entire reign, the Jiajing emperor subscribed to a traditional Sino-barbarian world order where the relationship was hierarchical just like the well-known opposite of Yin and Yang, complementary and co-existing. Tang’s mentioning of Dong Zhongshu and the idea of cultivating morality to attract the barbarians is also part of Jiajing emperor’s ideology. While the emperor did not have a positive image of barbarians as I showed earlier that he was heavily influenced by racialist officials, his language was still within the theoretical relationship between a suzerain and barbarians. In other words, the emperor cultivates his morality and shows it to the barbarian guests. Thus, in July 1555, the Jiajing emperor sent an embassy to the “King of Japan” about demanding him to stop the Japanese Wokou coming to China. The two emissaries Jiang Zhou and Chen Keyuan did not see the King of Japan and the letter was not delivered, but by serendipity they met the adopted son of Wang Zhi which led to the Chinese pirate’s eventual demise.[202] The letter writes that:

[Your] Kingdom ever since our emperor Taizu inherited the realm was always obedient and paying tribute to the heavenly court. The heavenly court treated you with blessings that were not even a slightly thin… Today your Wo loot our people. Consider that your kingdom’s law has always been strict, [if] people steal a chicken or a dog, [they] are killed without recourse. How can there be a reason for allowing the people to come loot? It must be [that the commoners were] deceiving and covering their private trips from the King, which is why we sent emissary Jiang Zhou and Chen Keyuan to transfer the message to the King that if you can keep ancestor’s teaching, think about the gratitude owed to the saintly court, respond angrily to the lawlessness of your people, and strictly discipline and control their private trips to the ocean [that are] disturbing China, then the border will be peaceful and quiet, conflicts will not arise, and both [Japan and China will] enjoy the benefits of peace…The glory will be written in the history books and passed down for hundreds of generation. Is that not a pleasure? If not, then evil merchants and island people will continue to cause trouble, all kinds of people are involved, basing in oceanic islands to wait for their opportunities. [I] fear that is not to your kingdom’s advantage either.[203]

 

In sum, Tang’s life was guided by his Confucian moral education, which led him to focus more on the barbarians and have a moral idealistic view of “our people” as a whole. Though on paper, he raised the theoretical solution of upholding morality to fight barbarians, I believe his words also demonstrated his willingness to train soldiers to chop off barbarian heads. Tang’s stance was bound to dissatisfy his younger colleague Wang Shizhen (jinshi 1547). As the minister of the Board of Punishment and one of the most famous writers of the late Jiajing era, Wang shared many of the same ideas as other pragmatist officials and generals such as the participation of Chinese and focusing on China’s own people rather than barbarians. But he is special in that he sees the Wokou issue as part of a larger pattern of Sino-barbarian relations. This pattern refers to the active collaboration of borderland Chinese (bian min邊民) with barbarians of all directions. Whether it is Annan (today’s Vietnam), Hami (Turpan), Bei Lu (Mongolia), or various islands of Wo, Wang writes that the participation of borderland Chinese in assisting these barbarians is universal. He writes that “training soldiers, solidifying gateways, knowing how to reward and punish, all these are bookworms’ talks! (此書生談耳) Was it really that easy? [They say] the Mongol and Wokou ravaged us, but do not mention [the crime of] our own people. The worry is not in the south or north, but in China itself.” Wang then wrote in the margin “this line is beneficial [to learn] even today.[204] At the end, he writes that “the court loses [to barbarians] not because of geography (地理), but because of [losing] people’s trust (ren xin人心). Alas! At the end, what is to be done then?”[205] This pattern is against the theoretical Sino-barbarian relationship in which the barbarians ought to come to China to be transformed. Chinese collaboration with the barbarians, such as the Wokou incidents, is humiliating to the Chinese authority who often used the term “treacherous people” (奸民) to describe these collaborators.

The enemies are not in the north or south but in China itself. This theme is at the core of pragmatist beliefs. This pattern also drew the attention of Fujianese scholar Xie Zhaozhe. Xie talked about how northern Chinese went to Mongol lands, first because their language and food were similar; second because China burdens them with heavy taxes and corvee labor, whereas that “although the barbarians also have their law, but the ruler and the ruled worked and rest together, suffered together, every time they see someone alone with their tents, the barbarian king and his wives and children all treated them like their own family members.”[206] Xie then immediately tides this with Japanese relations with Fujianese, Zhejiangness, and Cantonese:

They consider sea as if it is land. They consider Japan as if it is their next door neighbor. They trade with each other and do not distinguish each others’ difference. [While] we do trading openly, they come here to do trading secretly. There are one or two of those [Chinese] who find delight in other people’s misery, seducing them (the barbarians) to our inner territory [to loot]. When they lose, the barbarians were the ones to be slaughtered. When they win, they refuse to share the gains with barbarians.[207]

 

Therefore, it is important to understand that coastal Chinese do not necessarily abide by the idea of a loyalty of Chinese people. Many of them share more in similarity and interest, such as trade and maritime activity, with the barbarians than they do with the political center. Xie echoes Wang Shizhen’s theme of the Chinese court losing to barbarians, not because of geography but because of people. Unlike Tang’s belief that geographical proximity with the barbarians is the main concern, Wang Shizhen said the alienation between the Chinese court and coastal people is the real problem. The imperial court does not understand the needs and wishes of the coastal people, their willingness to trade and interact with barbarians. Xie clarified that for us by showing that although barbarians are theoretically inferior, borderland Chinese are often likely to identify with them because of a similar way of life. Wang’s writing also criticize Tang’s another problem, the excessive emphasis on military as a solution. Just like Zheng’s point about “martial,” Wang said that training soldiers and knowing how to reward and punish (the core ideas of Tang’s lifetime experience) are just talks by bookworms. Without paying attention to need and agency of the coastal Chinese, military suppression solves the symptom of an illness but not the illness itself.

General Tang Shu summarized this pragmatist stance the best. He writes, in reference to Fujian, that there are two strategies. He calls one a “temporary strategy” (權宜) and the other a “long term strategy” (長策). The temporary strategy is to send soldiers to decimate the bandits in the mountain and at sea. The long term strategy is “return to the old time of regular maritime defense, and taking care of the poor people in the coast. This way they will not be the collaborators of the bandits.”[208] The pragmatists are not saying that military defense are unnecessary or unimportant, many of them are capable and well-experienced generals themselves. They only emphasize that the reason why Wokou problem is self-regenerating is because the imperial government did not pay attention to the actual need of the coastal people such as their poverty and famine, that sea is their home and only alternative for survival.

There is another important question that scholars continue to debate and that is the question of blame. I certainly do not claim to be able to solve it once and for all, but I argue that the question is not to be taken seriously. Who is to be blamed, Chinese or Japanese, for this Wokou crisis with all the killing and burning of China’s coasts? I feel that this is like trying to balance two people sitting on a seesaw, the Wokou narrative that is either Japanese-centered or Chinese-centered. I do not evade the case of Japanese participation that nationalist historians often emphasize, but it is also also questionable whether the so-called “Japanese” were always real Japanese. One may recall of my reference to General Hu Zongxian who wrote that Chinese Wokou like Wang Zhi was spreading rumors in South China that all the killings were done by the Japanese, when it was actually done by his overseas Chinese cohorts from Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, or Ningbo.

Overseas Chinese came from coastal Chinese. These two terms were rooted in each other. General Zhu Wan was highly aware of that and said that “Zhangzhou and Quanzhou people, can they live in the sea? Which one of them do not have parents and brothers, wives and children? If they have a day to leave, they are bound to have a day to return. The ships they built to collaborate with barbarians, can they sail [so quietly] like if they are ghosts and gods?” Thus, while Wokou pirates are called overseas Chinese, their roots are in coastal China. It is the source of all problems and breading ground of all Wokou. With these information in mind, I will now contrast the experience of Chinese and Japanese in the Wokou organization, which I argue that the former benefit from their native origin and intricate stratagems whereas the latter were all alone and suffered from their dependency on the coastal Chinese.

Zheng Xiao’s memorials give the most vivid account of war battles. On April 13th 1554, Zheng Xiao was then a general defending the city of Yangzhou in South Zhili against Wokou. His war report described the seriousness of Chinese participation in Wokou:

Wokou kept on invading us. Most of those were either people of Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangnan, Jiangbei, and Zhili, or treacherous elites pursuing profit, or tough and bored people who supply food and leak secrets [to the Wokou]; all are dismissive of the law and gather together in banditry.[209]

 

A typical Wokou scene he described is that “[they] rode here in two-brig giant ships. There were some seventy Wokou, all were wearing red and green clothing, each holding weapons like swords, spears, and arrows. They abandoned their boat and disembarked. They fired the cannon and were all screaming and running forward.”[210] They did commit unbelievable horrors. Zheng Xiao reported to the throne gruesome images of killing, burning, with “bodies were all over the floor as if human lives were like grasses being cut off.” But the “Wo bandit” that committed this crime in Yangzhou was not Japanese. Zheng Xiao himself ran after the Wokou and caught one of them called Tang Huangmao (湯黃毛).[211] The name is indicative of his origin. While Huangmao literally means “yellow hair,” it actually also means “petty kid.” This is a Chinese name that likely implied that he was a notorious local youth.

Zheng Xiao caught a Wokou spy who confessed that “Wokou wanted to go from Tongzhou to Yangzhou, and also said that there were so few real Wokou (Japanese) and so many fake Wokou (Chinese). Real Wokou wanted to leave but fake Wo saw the advantage of chaos in the city and were persuading them to stay.”[212] The disagreement between Real Wokou and fake Wokou is shocking. The situation refers to the barricade of Yangzhou by the Wokou. The few Japanese did not want to continue the fight, but their Chinese partners who were of the same race as the Chinese in the city, were the scourges of people in the city. They sensed that victory was about to come and hoped the Japanese could stay and helped them to fight to the end. These Chinese Wokou were powerful in their strategies and Zheng Xiao was well aware of that through his battle experience. The assumption nationalist historians hold is that Japanese were the invaders and Chinese collaborators were their followers. In reality, the Japanese were the followers of their Chinese Wokou leaders who were capable of great stratagem and abuse.

Figure 24: General Hu Zongxian’s stratagem against Wokou 1.[213]

Figure 25: General Hu Zongxian’s stratagem against Wokou 2.[214]

Wang Shizhen’s essay sums up this relationship well. He first describes poor Japanese Wokou who were the naked ones wielding the swords and accompanied by the Chinese Wokou who were hiding, then he says, “their leaders (魁) are all Fujianese and Zhejiangness who are capable of setting up traps, could use small numbers of people against many, and take advantage [of the fact] that they are both the guest and the host.”[215] The Fujianese and Zhejiangness are native to their land and thus could use that familiarity with landscape to their advantage. Zheng Xiao considers them as formidable:

Your official is a native of Western Zhejiang. I serve mostly in Jiangbei and saw many Wokous with my own eyes. Of those people of China, Those who have strong arms, tough guts, and are full of stratagems often become bandits. They are swift in their scouting and they set up traps to confuse our soldiers, station in strategically important positions to fight our land force and water force, and pretend to hit the east when they want to hit the west. They know about our actual strength, thus for only a few years, interior territory has already been ruthlessly ravaged. We have not been able to decimate them even now.[216]

 

After explaining the danger of coastal Chinese, Zheng proposed the government to co-opt them:

If people of China did not become bandits, who is to say that after a few years, we will not find greatest generals among them. Nowadays they all follow the bandits. The gracefulness of heaven is boundless, [I urge the emperor to] send specific yellow cloth announcement to appease the bandits, forgive them and ask them to turn themselves in… If not, I fear after a few years there will be those who are like Xu Xun, Sun En, Huang Chao, Wang Xianzhi who will continue to be multiplied and the disaster will never be quelled.[217]

 

The bandits that Zheng Xiao compared Chinese Wokou with were rebels in Chinese history whose ravages killed millions of people. He wrote that “even if Sun Zi and Wu Qi resurrected, and we put them in charge of decimating Wokou, I fear it would not be a quick victory.”[218]

Zheng Xiao mentioned that these Chinese Wokou stand out more because they were capable of stratagems, for example “sheng dong ji xi” (聲東擊西) describes how Wokou could distract imperial forces to one side when they were interested in attacking another side. The Wokou knew the strength of imperial forces because they themselves are people of China and used that advantage for intelligence gathering and spay activity. Wang Shizhen mentioned the interesting point of how the Fujianese and Zhejiangness were actually hiding and letting the Japanese to do the fight. This may explain why Zheng Xiao’s caught spy said that Japanese were not as enthusiastic as the Chinese in taking Yangzhou.

I believe that the majority of Japanese who participated in these Chinese Wokou organizations were in this condition. Indeed, they were prone to suffer from Chinese Wokou’s abuse because they were not native to this land, and thus were highly dependent on the coastal Chinese. One may recall that I mentioned Zheng Xiao’s letter to Tang Shunzhi. Zheng Xiao used psychological warfare by having the caught Japanese to go to the islands to share with islanders their genuine experience of being deceived and mistreated by Chinese Wokou. Their condition was so desperate that Zheng Xiao even told Tang that he believed Tang will cry if Tang reads what the Japanese wrote about their experience. Just as Tang Shu said, of those who came many of them were driven by famine in Japan and the active solicitation of coastal Chinese. Thus, they greatly differed from what nationalist historian describe as “Japanese invasion.”

The relationship between coastal Chinese and Wokou is best demonstrated in a letter by

Zong Chen (宗臣jinshi 1550), a native of South Zhili and Chief Secretary of Fujian who wrote a private letter to a friend about Wokou invasion of Fuqing sub-prefecture in Fujian:

You said fisherman merchants are honest people and not to chastise them. But today’s fishermen, how can any official chastise them? When you chastise there is chaos, when you don’t chastise there is chaos. Those who thought about selling fish [thought it] tiresome and costly. They were neither fishing nor selling, thus neither tired nor costly. Carrying a giant sword to walk for some ten miles, they can get several jin of gold and molest several dozen beautiful women, and then arrogantly walk away. [Plus] our soldiers are scared of them, is that not pleasurable and satisfying? This is the stratagem of overseas Chinese.[219]

 

Zong continued to write that even if the greatest generals in history such as Su Qin, Zhang Yi, Zhuge Liang, and Sima Yi all came back to life that they won’t know what to do either.[220]

Such was the condition of coastal Chinese who thought of the Wokou era as opportunity. They were liberated from poverty with this money-making opportunity. Zong Chen, whose lively letter was also took notice by Mingshi, offers vivid details of how the Sino-Japanese relationship in Wokou actually worked. I am certainly not the first to study this letter. Some historians have tried to find a place to fit it under the larger Japanese-centered Wokou narrative. For example, historian Gu Guohua and Xu Jianzhong write that “the root problem is Japanese armed organizations’ invasion, but these “overseas Chinese” must also have undeniable responsibility!”[221] They did give credibility to Zong Chen by pointing out that he had actual military experience and also was a historian.[222] However, Gu and Xu were trying to find find a place for Zong Chen’s letter in the fixed and politically correct language of “invasion”. My interest is different. I am not bounded by the rigid conclusion of Japanese invasion and I argue that Zong Chen’s letter seriously undermines that argument of Japanese invasion.

It is certainly plausible that Zong Chen may have added his own beliefs or based his writing on hearsay specifically because of the amount of vivid details. In one part of his letter he writes:

Overseas Chinese had the real Wo [i.e. the Japanese] stand in front of them. When the defending soldiers saw barbarians, they were scared so the city was easily taken. Then the overseas Chinese ran to stand in the front. They told the real Wo that the prison over there was where the treasury was. The real Wo then called their kind (other Japanese) and thousands stormed into the prison. Seeing that there were only people who were tied up (prisoners), they thought they were the guards of the treasury and asked “where is the treasury?” When they did not get it, [the real Wo] tied them up [again?] and killed them. [By then] overseas Chinese had already massively stormed the treasury, carrying tens of thousands [tales] of gold and ran away. The barbarians were so poor, as if about to die, that they started looting around the mountains. Wearing tattered clothing and eating spoiled rice, they were still happy too but inside they were economically desperate. People [thought] how can this be considered as greed? They don’t know that overseas Chinese are treacherous. When they lose, all the captives were barbarians, not a single overseas Chinese was injured. Overseas Chinese abandoned their country, and then abandoned the barbarians. Today, each one of them has golds to adore their wives, drinking wines and tasting meats, playing and amusing in neighborhood alleys, how can they be considered as “innocent registered people”? [223]

 

Zong Chen’s account of overseas Chinese are not people from afar or another country. These so-called overseas Chinese are called “overseas” by their sojourning status. In fact, they are most likely the natives of Fuqing just like his mentioning of a fisherman there who abandoned fishing and chose to be a Wokou outlaw in which money, lust, and power were could all be satisfied. But there is another theoretical problem that needs to be addressed. How can people like Zong Chen and Zheng Xiao tell that a Wokou is Chinese or Japanese? Zheng Xiao wrote that in the 15th day of August 1554, “newly arrived Wokou boat had some sixty men. [They] burnt their boats and disembarked. Though the number was small, it was all real Wo and Zhangzhou bandits, [who were] extremely ferocious.”[224] In 10th day of April 1554, he also wrote “[we caught] real Wo of about 600; fake Wo were beyond [our] ability to count.”[225] Zheng Xiao was able to distinguish Japanese Wokou by observing “samurai sword, iron hat, banner with a painting of a donkey, seal with Japanese character.” Like most Ming generals, the most important feature is that “those whose heads have no hair are the real Wo.”[226] This judgement is highly unstable as one Chinese Wokou said that he was forced by other bandits to get a haircut so that he had to depend on other Wokou for protection.[227] It was reported that soldiers randomly cut off heads of ordinary people and then gave them a haircut in order to claim rewards.[228]

Certainly, this difficulty to be certain about who was Japanese will lead historians to more debates. However, there is another way in which a Japanese Wokou and a Chinese Wokou can be differentiated. Rather than relying on physical appearance, this way looks at their behavior. Its revelation supports the theme of suffering Japanese. An essay by Fan Lai (1574 jinshi) on Zhejiang’s coastal defense provides a useful alternative way in making that vivid distinction, though even its criteria are themselves reminiscent of the many examples I gave. The original work is smeared with ink which has made certain characters illegible, but enough remains to permit a general understanding. Fan’s “fake barbarians” refers to the Chinese, and “barbarians” refers to the Japanese. The section is called “distinguishing the real and fake Wo”:

Wokou who come to China are not always the barbarians, but there are always fake barbarians who guide them. I heard that the ones to be concerned about today are not barbarians, but fake barbarians… the barbarians are the most foolish people in all under heaven which is why they always carry words and walk in the front, one faces the front and the other faces the back. [As of how to distinguishing the two] Those who specialize in hiding are fake barbarians. The [barbarian] island’s customs value the rich and despise the poor so the rich men there eat millet, while poor people eat empty grain husks. [The barbarians] fight the cold on all alone, and in the times of snows, [they have] no cloth to put on their body. [The barbarians] were also the most suffering people in all under heaven. In the past, [when the barbarians] saw tattered clothing and one bushel of millet, they will be very happy. Those forced to walk in the front are always barbarians, whereas those who are good at choosing gold and silk and choose the best are fake barbarians. Those whose hair has a gourd shape (禿而內匏 meaning the middle is bold, but there were hair on two sides, see the picture below). [][][][][] and those whose hair was bald like a monk were fake barbarians. Those who were tired but still standing at a yu (盂a Buddhist worship utensil) and [][][] bow and kneel are barbarians. Those who sit down and used it (yu) to drink wine are fake barbarians. Fake barbarians were often the kings and barbarian were often their laborers, they left after a big looting. [Those] decimated at the sea are barbarians. [Those] who carried away gold and retired into the field [][][] were fake barbarians. Fake barbarians often got the profit [from looting] and barbarians often suffered the harm [of battles]. This is the fate of barbarians and the power of barbarians.Their fate was just like those [kidnapped] seamen nowadays who turn into the bandits’ accomplice after the bandits looted them (meaning that just like the Japanese, these kidnapped men were helpless people controlled by Chinese pirates). Thus the real concern is not for barbarian, but for fake barbarian. Today’s urgent challenge is fake barbarians; the barbarian problem can wait. The fake barbarian issue is a heavy [problem] while the barbarian issue is a light [problem], just like, to stop water that is boiling it is best to remove the firewood. Though the firewood is not the bubble, bubbles was born because of the firewood. If one is afraid of the cold then it is best to stay out of the wind, wind does not cause the cold but it makes people cold.[229]

 

 

 

 

Figure 26: Wokou painting by Qiu Ying.[230]

As a book on maritime defense for Zhejiang province, Fan’s work is almost never read, which is unfortunate since his detailed drawings of maps and historical perspective are fully as informative as books such as Chou hai tu bian. Fan Lai, Prefect of Nanchang in Jiangxi province, was an official under Wanli emperor and this section I quoted come from his essay on the Jiajing era Wokou and not his discussion of the Wanli era.

Fan Lai tells us several things. His study adds weight to Zong Chen’s description of real Wo and fake Wo relationship. The discussion of Japanese being more religious and pious toward Buddhist utensils is an indication of their difficult life as Wokou, although interestingly, the spy Xu Yi believed that Japanese only pray to god when they want to win money in gambling.[231] Nevertheless, Fan Lai’s image of Japanese piety is a contrast with the underworld Chinese who used the religious utensil to drink wine. Zong Chen and Fan Lai both mentioned the poor Japanese not even have enough to wear and were being fed only spoiled rice by Chinese Wokou. Zong Chen asked “how can this be considered greed?” This belief contrasts with racialists who generalized Japanese race as greedy and ferocious. In other words, a desire to stay warm and have some millet for food is not greed as all the treasures stolen actually went to the coastal Chinese bandits and not the Japanese. This led Fan Lai to call them the “most suffered people under heaven” (天下之至苦). Fan compared the Japanese Wokou to the coastal merchants forced into participation of banditry by Chinese strongmen. This comparison works by suggesting that like those victims of Chinese looting, Japanese had no choice and depended on the Chinese pirates. This book was written in 1602 which is after the first Sino-Japanese war in Korea (1592-98), and given that context, the degree to which Fan was able to sympathize with the Jiajing era Japanese goes to show the degree of truth it held to this scholar.

Fan Lai’s metaphor that to stop boiling water, you need to remove the firewood first echoes the pragmatist belief that the root problem of Wokou is in China and not in the islands.

Fan implied that those who take the term Wokou literally to mean people of Japan only observe the problem on the surface. To see Wokou issue in the dichotomy of “us” versus “them” ignores the fact that water itself does not boil. Only the constant heat given by firewood can cause the water to boil. The firewood is a symbol of the fake barbarians, or coastal Chinese. Zeng Cheng also reminds us that “as of today, the stratagem must first be against the overseas Chinese, barbarians need no stratagem to be taken care of.”[232]

I argue in this chapter the reverse of good and evil in which the presumed role of Chinese as good and Japanese as evil was flipped. Chinese Wokou was ahead of the game than Japanese origin Wokou in this era of crisis and they controlled not just the poor coastal Chinese but also impoverished Japanese islanders. However, I do not find it useful the good and evil dichotomy and my analysis in this chapter only aimed to show that the narrative of Japanese as evil and Chinese as good is insufficient. I argued in chapter 6 the flaws of generalizing Japanese and Chinese given the degree of heterogeneity within both of these peoples. That chapter addresses the question “was it Japanese or Chinese” by criticizing the scholarly approach of using generality to describe the two groups and putting an overly emphasis on national origin and not social class. This chapter responds to the question “who is good and who is to blame” by complicating the smooth narrative of “foreign race” versus “Chinese race” raised by Fan and Tong. I suggested that a desire to simplify Wokou problem in the dichotomy of good and evil, Chinese and Japanese, neglects the fact that there always existed more than one narrative. I illustrated through out this paper that there was a competition of different beliefs which I roughly generalized as racialist and pragmatist. Rather than choosing who is good and who is bad, I suggested that the competing narrative allowed the story of blame to go both directions.

I mentioned how historian Fan and Tong used Zheng Xiao’s writing to argue that Japanese warriors were instinctively brutal, but at the same time I found personal letters from Zheng Xiao that showed he, just like Fan Lai and Zong Chen, all have sympathy for the Japanese participants and was more concern about the Chinese Wokou than they did of Japanese. Some historians may point to the scenes of Japanese Wokou killing and burning the sea coast (as in Figure 25), but other may also point to the Japanese Wokou being the “most suffering people under heaven” who did not have enough to eat or drink, but were content just to survive by eating the spoiled rice and tattered clothes given them by Chinese Wokou. Poor and hungry, they were hired by coastal Chinese strongmen during times of famine. Religious and pious, the Japanese bowed to Buddhist utensils while the Chinese Wokou used the utensils to drink wine. In a land unfamiliar to them, the Japanese followed the Chinese strongmen and were forced to to stand in the front in battles. Their wives, mothers, and children in the islands wrote letters begging them home but many were killed in land or at sea. Zheng Xiao was enemy to these Wokou and fought fierce battles with them, but it was not hatred or blame that he developed for these people. It was empathy and understanding. When he caught the real Japanese and read their written letters, the general was so touched that he believed other generals will cry as well.

Instead of identifying myself in the either or choice question of “who is to blame,” I propose the question be change to “how can we understand.” I have used extensive works from pragmatist officials to show that we need to understand why there were small number of Japanese in Wokou organizations. Their writings lead us to focus on the coastal Chinese or overseas Chinese. The overseas Chinese are maritime sojourners from Fujian, Zhejiang, Guangdong, and South Zhili who conducted trade and piracy. This change in focus should not be assumed as simply a transfer of blame from Japanese to coastal Chinese. I argued in chapter 7 that a focus on coastal Chinese should also take into account of the local condition, custom, and the context of sea ban. I suggested that we need to understand the situation of coastal Chinese, such as the Fujianese, just as we need to understand the lower class Japanese.

One certainly need not assume that by suggesting “understanding” as my goal, I am excusing or bleaching the horrific and brutal killings by Wokou whether they were by Chinese or Japanese. In fact, I was born in a village near Fuqing sub-prefecture of Fuzhou in Fujian, the city in Zong Chen’s letter. My maternal grandmother and her neighbors are from villages with horrific Wokou killing experience. Fan and Tong described the joined forces of General Qi Jiguang and Dai Chongxiao who fought fiercely with Wokou to protect the villagers.[233] A local delicacy which my maternal grandmother makes well is called Guangbing (光餅), a round cake with a hole inside and sesame seeds on the surface, and nowadays also with pork belly meat inside. It was popularly known in Fujian that this cake means gratitude for General Qi Jiguang. The story was even incorporated in a Fujian opera (閩劇) based on local folktales and folk dances. The opera is about Qi Jiguang’s soldiers chasing Wokou all the way to Fuqing, where every household of Fuqing Fujianese made cakes for the soldiers so that a rope can go through the ring of the cakes and be hung on soldiers’ necks. The soldiers then can eat while they march and fight Wokou.[234] Given this history, it is a sensible question for readers to ask, why I talk about “understanding” the Wokou and not exclusively “condemning” the Wokou and “praising” the Chinese national heroes?

I am aware of the amount of scholarships before me that showed it was an era of crisis and fear for many people. But just as the word “crisis” (危機) in Chinese is a word combined of two terms “danger”(危) and “opportunity”(機), or “perilous opportunity,” there were people who tried to survive and thrive in the crisis. Coastal Chinese like the Fujianese as a whole faced a crisis, but their crisis was man-made. While Wokou ravage was one crisis, there was a more systematic crisis from which Wokou crisis was born. I illustrated in chapter 7 the chronic problem of land and food shortages in Fujian. The crisis for the Fujianese was the arbitrary sea ban that cut off the livelihood of coastal people who historically depended on trade and sea. This man-made crisis turned the poor and the merchants into pirates. It is only the systemic problem of sea ban that prohibits coastal trade and even the transport of rice by sea that forced the Fujianese to one choice, defiance. It is only the context of famine and despair that allow coastal strongman like Wang Zhi to gather the poor in China and Japan to become powerful Wokou.

I suggest that we consider two case studies, one of a Fujianese trader Li Zhang (李章) from Quanzhou who went to Japan for trade but was blown to Korea where he needed to convince the Korean court to not send him and his men back to China in fear of sea ban law. Another Fujianese named Chen Gui (陳貴) from Zhangzhou who went to Ryukyu for trade. Chen was said to be heavily cheated in Ryukyu and the Ryukyu court sent him back to China where he faced the law of sea ban. The two men represented the people of Zhangzhou and Quanzhou who, as General Zhu Wan believed, were most active sea goers and bandits. I use their stories to understand the voice of these maritime traders. How would they rationalize their doing to either the Korean king or Chinese court? Would they succeed? Rather than constraining ourselves to officials and generals, I ask would the voices of these little known individuals participating in maritime trade offer a way to understand the coastal people?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Li Zhang and Chen Gui: Two Differnet Outcomes of Fujianese Traders:

In the context of Ming sea ban, anyone who secretly went out the sea faced “extreme punishment” according to Ming law. I mentioned earlier how the law not only punish the person with indescribably horrific torture, it also affected his entire family who could face either banishment or imprisonment. As I quoted earlier his concern, the Hongwu emperor’s strict law emerged because he feared that coastal people would helped Japan to invade China’s seacoast. But the chronic problem of famine and land shortage meant that if a drought comes, the Fujianese are left with the choice of starvation. Fujianese Chen Gui was caught by Ryukyu and sent to the Chinese court in May 1542 and Li Zhang went out to sea and was caught by the Koreans in July of 1544. In order to understand the story of these two Fujianese men, we must first understand the context. I will argue that Li and Chen were merely a drop in the bucket of a large wave of Fujianese traders. I will then argue that there is a reason why the Fujianese went out in massive number during those years.

The two men were among thousands of other Chinese who made their presence known the ocean. The Korean court records show the magnitude of Chinese going out to the sea for trade during those years. While most of the early records report the occasional appearance of Chinese traders, such as a dramatic incident involving a group of Chinese merchants with puppies in 1528,[235] but 1545 and 1546 are special in that the Korean records document an unprecedented number of Chinese ships and traders being caught. In July 1545, three ships of Chinese (Tanng ren 唐人) were forced to dock in the Yuyang prefecture (與陽縣) in Korea because their ships were damaged by the winds. They grouped together and escaped to the mountains where they were pursued by the Korean soldiers who said they thought they were “Wokou” who had come to commit banditry. One hundred and eight Chinese were killed by the soldiers which shocked the Korean officials.[236] In August of 1545, another Chinese boat was washed ashore to Rok Island (鹿島) where Korean commander Zhang Ming (張明) killed and arrested a sum of over four hundred men.[237]

The largest group of Chinese was perhaps a group of over six hundred men that showed up in Jeju Island in July 1545. The Jeju governor then reported to the King that the Chinese told him “they came here to trade with Japan but the wind damaged the boat.”[238] The group of Chinese petitioned that the Korean court let them leave by sea through Jeju rather than being sent to the Chinese court. One Korean official opposed this, saying that “these men are China’s rebels who carry silver and iron to trade with other countries. From this we can see that they do not fear China’s law. We must not heed their wish to let them go by Jeju.”[239] In order to get to the court to satisfy their wish, the Chinese wrote two letters. The first letter stated that “We are merchant boats from Great Ming who come to Japan for trade. Can you let us know where we are now? In order to get into the port, we must first ask for permission, please generously let us know your decision.” In this first letter, they indicated that they did not know they were in Korea. In the second letter, they added “Last year, our people were trading in Japan, this is a righteous thing that heaven will approve (秉天公道).” The letter continued to ask if the Koreans were interested in trading with them as well, and added some gifts that “here are some inexpensive native items, we beg that you generously take them.”[240] The Korean court had more interest in their Chinese cannons than the gifts. The court asked them to teach the Korean soldiers, which the latter wrote that the cannons were not as good as the Korean cannons.[241] Eventually, the court sent the six hundred men back to China after it had received the request of a Chinese emissary.

The eventual fate of these six hundred men was also recorded in a Chinese source. The book Jiajing wo luan bei chao writes that in February 1546, the Korean King Yi Hwan (李峘) sent to Chinese court a total of six hundred and thirty one “barbarian collaborators,” or maritime traders who went to Japan. The record says that they were all people of Zhangzhou and Quanzhou.[242] There is a good likelihood that all those earlier incidents of Chinese being killed or sent back were Fujianese because incidents reported in Jia jing wo luan bei chao were all specified as Fujianese. There were over one thousand Fujianese who carried fire units and merchandise to go to Japan and “Wonu (Japanese) used to not have cannons until now. It is all because of these people (Fujianese) stormed out the gates [to trade].”[243] The fact that Chinese traders were always well armed with cannon is another indication of their Fujianese origin. According Lin Xiyuan, native of Tongan sub-prefecture in Quanzhou, the official who General Zhu Wan accused of building giant ships and blackmailing other Fujianese officials, Fujian had a mature cannon making skills. “Nowadays, Zhangzhou prefecture produces Frankish cannon (佛郎機炮) on a daily basis. I am not sure if it will be used in Zhejiang or in our Fujian.”[244] These Fujianese came out to trade because those were difficult years of drought and famine.

The decade of the 1540s was difficult for coastal people in general. Liu Cunde (劉存德 jinshi 1538), magistrate of Songjian prefecture in South Zhili and a native of Tongan sub-prefecture of Quanzhou, discussed the matter with other magistrates in South Zhili and Zhejiang and wrote a memorial in 1545. He wrote how the Jiajing emperor actively sent relief to the coastal people in 1539 and 1541 for the crisis during those years. In 1545, the Jiajing emperor dispatched fifty thousand tales of silver to the coastal prefectures. However, Liu added that it was not enough, “there was not a drop of rains for months, no snow in the winter, and when spring came, all the sprouts in the farms were dead.”[245] He added that “impoverished people living by the sea endured the hunger and their faces looked not a bid like living human beings.”[246]

The series of natural disasters gained the Jiajing emperor’s attention and he actively tried to address them. In April 1541, he wrote an imperial edict that emphasized the suffering of his people. “Everywhere people are experiencing hardship because of miscellaneous corvee labor,” thus he ordered a reduction of corvee labor.[247] In the same edict, he said “in both Beijing and the outer provinces, those lonely elderly and disabled people who could not find employment should be admitted to public charity houses (養濟院) and be given clothes and food. Make sure that they do not become homeless.”[248] He added that “everywhere people are experiencing natural disasters, commoners are suffering from poverty. If any official in the prefecture and county does not care about people as parents care about children (撫摩愛養) and being greedy and cruel,” the Jiajing emperor warned the lower officials of potential punishment and ordered the Inspector Generals to watch the lower officials or else they could receive the same punishment (連坐).[249] These texts show that the emperor tried to live up to the ideal of a humane emperor. He and his coastal officials in general were not oblivious or nonchalant to the suffering people.

I illustrated in chapter 7 the systemic problem that the Fujianese faced. Other provinces may have suffered from hunger in times of famine, but they were least not as mountainous as Fujian which meant that transportation of food to their provinces was possible so long as the court provided enough relief money. However, Fujian is mountainous as Mao Yuanyi and Dai Chongxiao both pointed out. General Dai said that the rice price will increase by twenty-fold if the merchants were not allowed to use sea route but had to go by land. This apparently was the case during the sea ban. The case in 1545 seem to suggest that local magistrate could intervene the sea ban law and implement policy that suited the local need.

Yu Zibo (俞咨伯 jinshi 1532), who served as magistrate of Quanzhou, 1540-1545, was faced with the serious problem of drought and famine. Qing dynasty’s Fujian gazetteer described his career as the following:

During those years [of his service], every year was a wave of drought and banditry. Transportation [of food] was not possible. The entire prefecture experienced great famine. Zibo personally went to city to find out who were the poor people, and gave them millet for relief. He also cooked porridge to help relieve the poor. He was afraid of the increase of price for rice, so he attracted merchants from afar [to come sell rice] and he prohibited the old problem of merchants fighting each other [for profit]. In less than half month, boats carrying rice were coming from all places. The price [of rice] was suddenly normalized and he saved tens of thousands of people.[250]

 

This gazetteer acknowledged the fact that the transportation of food was not possible, which was likely referring to the mountainous terrain the separated Fujian from other provinces. But Yu Zibo was able to attract rice merchants’ boats from afar. The Jinjiang county gazetteer, a county of Quanzhou, helps us clarify how Yu Zibo was able to solve the rice deficiency in Fujian.

A great drought hit in 1545. Wheat was just about to be ready for harvest but it rotted because of the lack of rain… [Yu] attracted rice merchant boats to come. Whenever the merchant arrives, he gave them wine to thank them for the trouble of coming.[251]

 

The gazetteer continued to write how Yu established a trust in the merchants so that “when the bandits see so many merchant boats and merchants were coming, they had to move away. It was such a move that served two purposes.”[252] In other words, Yu used two strategies. First, he used his personal charm such as buying wines to establish a bond with the merchants. Second, he tried to intervene merchant competition by making sure none of them will lose profit to more powerful merchants. The question is, how was Yu able to bypass the sea ban law and got the merchants to come by sea? Certainly, both gazetteers compiled during the Qing dynasty credited him for saving people and considered his act as a virtue. But this retroactive praise should not mislead us into thinking that Yu did not have to circumvent the law in order to help the local needs. I argue that Yu most likely had to be flexible with the sea ban law just like magistrate Zhi Dalun had to be flexible with permitting the poor to kill the old cow. We should keep Yu in mind because he was the magistrate of Quanzhou at the time when Li Zhang and other Quanzhou Fujianese left to Japan for trade. Is it possible that Yu Zibo was aware of his people leaving and was flexible enough to let them go? I suggest that it is a possibility.

 

 

 

Figure 27: Map of Upper Korean Peninsula on the left. Coastal Fujian on the right.[253]

Figure 28: Map of Lower Korean Peninsula.[254]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will now turn to Li Zhang. Like the other Fujianese boats that encountered the Koreans, the first encounter between Li Zhang’s boat and Korean soldiers was a cannon battle. In July 1544, Seungjeongwon, or Royal Secretariat, described the first encounter based on a report from the Korean water force. The Chinese boat docked in Feimi Island (飛彌島?) of Nanju. The Korean water force was sent to barricade the ship. They found that:

[The Chinese] were all wearing black clothes, estimated to be around ninety people. Our language is mutually incomprehensible, so we wrote in big characters “Where are you from,” “Who are you,” “For what reason being blown here?” They looked at us in the eyes and not a word was uttered. They suddenly fired cannons at us. Our boat has two men that were killed by the shells, two other men were harmed. Even though we were told by the [King’s] edict to only arrest them alive, but condition propelled us to fire back with cannons and arrows.[255] The Chinese set up shields in the outside, and escaped inside the boat. They hurriedly turned the boat to the east, because the wind and rain were with them, it was difficult to chase after them. [256][257]

 

But the Koreans were not contented to just let the Chinese boat escaped especially after the death of Korean soldiers. Only days later, Korean Magistrate Piao Guangzuo (朴光佐) of Taean prefecture located the Chinese boat. Royal secretariat discussed with members of the water force that “the Chinese are bound to surrender now.”[258] However, it was not easy. A process of constant negotiation happened between the Korean court and Li Zhang’s boat. Royal secretariat ordered the translators to go tell the Chinese that the court had forgiven them for killing the soldiers on account that the Koreans mistook them for Wokou, which the Chinese must defend themselves. The Korean record in his section is overwhelmed with information received by the Royal Secretariat. After several negotiations, the Korean court learned more about why Li Zhang and his Fujianese cohorts were scared to come down. “The Chinese are afraid. They do not dare to come down the boat in fear of being send back to the central plain (China) and be charged with the crime of privately going out to the sea.”[259] The Chinese boat also delivered a message to the Royal Secretariat:

People of Quanzhou prefecture of Fujian province of Great Ming [are out for] business because our country is experiencing horrendous natural disaster, people are so hungry. We have no choice so we collectively petitioned to the prefect magistrate (possibly Yu Zibo) to let us carry merchandise to foreign countries for sell. Now we have been blown to your country, it is really heaven’s blessing to keep us alive.[260]

 

This account reveals the possibility that Yu Zibo accepted the request or at least had the knowledge that the people of Quanzhou was leaving by sea to escape the famine. It also shows that the Korean forgiveness of Chinese who killed the soldiers led the boatmen to believe that there was hope. Eventually all men came down from the boat and the Koreans learned that they were all Fujianese from Quanzhou. There were ten leaders, one of whom was was Li Zhang, and sixty sailors. As one of the headmen and fearing the prospect of being sent back to China for the punishment of sea ban, Li Zhang decided to take action. The Koreans had many experience dealing with Chinese traders who try to survive. For example, in August 1544, there was a Chinese boatman who used coercion, saying that “next year, my Great Ming will send one hundred giant ships to barricade your country to famine!”[261] But no Chinese traders ever succeeded in persuading the Korean court except one man. Many wound up like the thousands of Fujianese being sent back to the court. Li Zhang took his chances and he was the only one to succeed.

On July 18th, 1544, Li Zhang handed in his first letter and was read in Royal Secretariat:

Zhang lives in a remote corner called Tongan (in Quanzhou, Fujian). The population is dense, every inch of land is as expensive as an inch of gold, families live in houses that hangs a stone (家室懸磬 meaning really poor), and cooking utensils are covered with old dust. Plus, in October of last year [there was] a great drought, with no rain in the spring and summer. Farmland had cracks like a turtle’s shell and wild grass self immolated. The hungry people that moved from one gully to the next (溝壑 meaning places of death), [and] starving beggars sat on the side of the road. There were fathers and sons who were not able to take care of each other, there were people whose wives and children went not found. The joy of feeding parents water and beans (shushui zhihuan 菽水之歡 meaning filial piety to parents) was never to be fulfilled. Helpless as we were, [we decided to] trade and build a boat, conducting trade in foreign countries, managing to make a tiny profit so to get the joy of family being together in morning and night. With a small boat, passing through million hectares [of water], [we felt] a sense of lost. Whales splashed and the sun bathed us, and though death was ahead we were fearless. Tempests covered the whole the sky, but we little valued our lives and rushed through it. Unfortunately, heaven did not bless us, a hurricane suddenly roared, our boat nearly capsized and people were almost immersed in the water. One cried “heaven,” one cried “earth,” one cried “father,” one cried “mother”. They accused heaven of its injustice (號冤呼顯天). The god of wind stopped and hided it (the storm). Greatly blessed, we soon sailed on. The god of the sea was calm. Coincidentally, we landed in Taean, and luckily benefited from meeting the official. We beg that you consider [that we two are] brotherly countries, for better private relation and the convenience of trade; for the convenience of each other and for the heart to heart of understanding between gentlemen; to love those you do not love as if to love those you loved (words of Mencius), all these one hundred people’s lives come from a father and mother. Placing the burning heart inside the body (推赤心, meaning putting forward words of sincerity), can be seen to ten thousands li away. A commoner [who is like] the quiet valley yearning for the spring season (shu you gu fa yang chun 庶幽谷發陽春), naturally feels itself as boasting. A sunflower leans to the morning sun, which selflessly nurtures it with sunlight. Having depended on [you] for two days, [the benefit] is like a river that irrigates nine miles [of land], so the blessing that Zhang receives is abundant. Insisting that we are outsiders (一膜之外) and to consider us as barbarians (huyue 胡越), this does not accord the hearts of benevolent gentlemen. We only hope that [you will] show sympathy to the foolish and accept our request, consider our condition and feel pity. Then we will be blessed![262]

 

This letter touches upon the theme of Fujian as a land of land shortages and famine. Li Zhang utilized many ancient terms from classical books like Zuozhuan and words by the sages such as Mencius. He also used a line from popular literature. The line in which he begs the Korean king to be merciful was “quiet valley yearning for the spring season, naturally feels itself as boasting. Sunflower leans to the morning sun, which selflessly nurtured it with sunlight.” This is actually a poetic phrase about love from Ming writer Wu Jingsuo’s Jin lan siyou zhuan (金蘭四友傳), a novel on male homosexuality.[263] From his letter, one gets a sense of the danger of the sea and the maritime adventurism of the Fujianese that I discussed in chapter 7. The Fujianese had all had good reason to shout to heaven for its injustice. As I suggested, famine is a chronic problem and the sea ban law both cut off people’s livelihood and threatened the Fujianese with famine. One author, Fu Zongwen, also took note of Li Zhang’s letter. Fu argued that Li Zhang should have also mentioned to the Korean king the heavy corvee labor in China, “which [like the issue of famine] added to the reason why townsmen gathered together and left for trade.”[264]

The most important part of the letter, in my view, is his rationalization of trade under the core principle of Confucian ethics- i.e. filial piety. The desire for profit and maritime activity were both traditionally considered to be un-Confucian. One may recall that I mentioned the Wanli emperor’s judgment on why he thought the Fujianese in Manilla were not worth of a fight with the Spanish. The reasoning goes that maritime sailors are profit-motivated, thus were greedy merchants. Merchants were considered as the lowest in the hierarchy of “scholars, peasants, artisans, and merchants.” In addition, the Wanli emperor also wrote that because maritime sailors were sojourners often staying in the sea away from their families, they were therefore un-filial and uncommitted to family. Filial piety, or the values of family, is arguably the highest virtue in the Confucian world. During early imperial history, filially pious people were recommended for office. The renowned book Classic of Filial Piety has a line by Confucius that says “between heaven and earth, people are the most important. Of people’s behaviors, nothing is more important than filial piety” (天地之信人為貴, 人之信, 莫大與孝). In fact, the Jiajing emperor himself considered filial piety as the governing principle of his reign. He wrote an imperial edict that began with “I have heard that saints who rule the realm considered filial piety as the highest priority.”[265] I also wrote how when he was addressing the commoners in Chengtian prefecture, he asked that the young and old must all abide the rule of filial piety. I shall return to this theme of filial piety in the second letter.

The Korean dynastic record indicates no response to Li Zhang’s letter. But the first letter seems to have gained effect as seen in the second letter. The major difference between the two is that Li Zhang shifted away from a more general “we” to an “I” perspective which he used to describe his personal experience of how he became a sailor. Li Zhang used the pronoun “chen” (臣) which normally means “I, your humble official.” But, since Li Zhang had no position in the Korean court, it was more likely used to indicate his respectability. While Li Zhang does not claim to have any degree from passing Ming civil service exam, his knowledge in Confucian classics indicates some type of Confucian education. After all, “ever since the Song dynasty, [Fujian] has the reputation of “hai bin zou lu” (海濱鄒魯).”[266] The title means literally the coastal version of the Kingdom of Zou (hometown of Mencius) and Kingdom of Lu (hometown of Confucius), which praises the popularity of Confucian education among the Fujianese. It is this Confucian education that made Li Zhang stood out among thousands of lower class Fujianese traders. On August 19, 1544, a second letter went to Royal Secretariat:

[I], your official Zhang from China, even though I have been inspired by the custom of literacy, my home is [nevertheless] in a barren land. Every year there is famine, my family’s farmland turns from productive to waning, such that my only consolation comes from my shadow (刑影相弔). My father is seventy-five years old and does not have many days to live. My toddler son cries wanting to be breastfed. The person at the house (室家 meaning wife) is worried and alone. I tried to be a bond-servant in order to [make money so to] achieve the joy of family being together (shushui zhi huan 菽水之歡). But I have nowhere to be employed, thus I listened to my father’s advice to go to foreign country for profit, not knowing that it was so difficult. Even though I feel guilty in terms of law and discipline (於紀律固有虧), but in terms of human feelings I have not a bit of shame (在人情而無愧). A son must die for filial piety, an official must die for loyalty, this is the principle of heaven. How can I be shaken? Luckily, heaven’s principle reigns, and our boat was blown by the wind and has come to you. [We feel as] the blessed people. Everyone disembarked and come to you. A messenger arrived in Taean with a royal edict and read that considering that [we are] people of Great Ming, thus also people of Korea, in consideration of the appropriate friendship between the two brothers (Ming and Korea), in sympathy with the innocence of the people, hereby orders that [we] be accommodated in houses, treated with a feast with abundant food and wine. You sent people to invite us to you, the [invitation come with] followers on horses that were as many as the cloud. [Your] sincerity and virtue are equivalent to heaven and earth, your kindness is heavier than mountains, I realize how lucky a person I am to have to deserve this. [Your blessing] can be seen ten thousand li away, putting forward the burning heart in the body (meaning sincerity), shining with love, responding to many people’s skepticism by talking to them face to face (meaning lack of hierarchy), grieving over the poverty of people, agonizing over our separation from wives, specifically ordering that a boat be prepared to send us back to home when the wind is right. [You were] personally investigating the condition, believing that leaving by sea is the most appropriate, and ordering through an official document that the [Taean] prefecture to let us go, and transferring the message to the capital (Beijing). Thus, [I] thank the King for assisting [us] back to life. [But] the best stratagem is to satisfy both (兩全之術, meaning the responsibility to Beijing and the fate of Li Zhang and others). If the authority can be stretchable with rules, your official will be very grateful, though when I am alive, I pray to heaven and earth, but when I am dead, I will be very grateful (jie cao er han huan 結草而含環).[267] If [you disregard] the ten thousand li distance and transfer [us] to the imperial capital, even though this is out of a sense of love, it actually will be a punishment. Even though it is as if treating us like sons, it actually is like chopping us like woods. Since we have come here without imperial permission, but return with the order of the King, not only will it be burdensome for the King’s army, but it will also mean that [we] will be punished by law. If this is the prospect, we would rather smash our heads on the jaded staircase, than have our body exposed in wild grassland. We beg the King to consider this as if to grant us the benefit of rebirth, to look up to the will of heaven (天心) and look down to comply with human feelings (人情), do not be overly concern and thus cause the death of several dozens of people. [We will die] if [you are] not able to distinguish right and wrong, cannot be persuaded by commoners, and mixed kindness and evilness. The nature [of the issue] is obvious. [I] sincerely present this letter for your reading. [268]

 

If Li Zhang’s description of Korean hospitality and the generosity of the King was accurate and not an exaggeration, then Li Zhang’s first letter was a successful one. There were several important things to look at in this letter. First, Li Zhang was afraid that the Koreans were going to treat him and his men like huyue. I translated this as “barbarians” but the term itself is very fitting for that context. While Hu refers to the northern barbarian, usually the Mongols or Turkic horse riders, Yue refers more broadly the southern barbarians. Yue is the name of the ancient kingdom that dominated areas near today’s Southeast China. Another name for ancient Fujian was Baiyue (百越), specifically because of a linkage to that history of barbarian interaction. Thus, while Huyue was a more general term to mean barbarians, Fujianese Li Zhang worried that the King was going to consider Fujianese as barbarians among the Chinese.

Secondly, Li Zhang referenced to the concept of Renqing, or human feelings. I elaborated this concept in earlier chapters how it can be used as an attempt to make any fixed law or tradition more flexible. Li Zhang is not so unlike the earlier discussion of six hundred Fujianese traders who asked the Koreans if they are interested in trading with them and presented the native goods as a gesture of friendliness. The six hundred men failed because a desire for trade is insufficient an argument of human feelings in the Confucian world. Trade has to be couched under a core Confucian principle, filial piety. Li Zhang finely demonstrates that understanding. The letter mentioned no desire to become a rich person, but rather his earliest thought was to sell himself as a servant so to make enough money for the family. Li Zhang’s desire was to accompany his toddler son, dying old father, and a lonely wife.

Unlike what the Wanli emperor said about the Zhangzhou Fujianese that the merchants are un-filial for leaving the family, Li Zhang’s case shows a father encouraging his son to go to a foreign country to trade and Li Zhang expressed his desire to stay together with the family. In both letters, a Confucian idiom came up as the reason for Fujianese went out to trade, it is called shushui zhihuang (菽水之歡). Its origin comes from the Classic of Rites in which the two simple items shu (beans) and shui (water) are all it takes to please the parents. The idiom is about filial piety. The reason why the parents were said to be pleased was not because they were fed with luxurious items. It was a scene of family harmony and togetherness in which the simplest items conveyed the greatest meaning. Li Zhang does not dispute with his offense to law, he said he felt guilty knowing that he had violated the sea ban law. But he then supported his action with the concept of human feelings, saying that he has not a bit of shame for that. I mentioned the story of Confucius believed that in his land, a son will not turn his father in for crime because human feelings trumps consideration of law. In Li Zhang’s story, both the father and son are challenging the law with human feelings. Human feelings can also cover empathy. Li Zhang wrote that the Korean King was actively helping him and other Fujianese because the King sympathized their poverty and desperation and also in part because he, as a man, empathized the Fujianese for separation from wives. Therefore, the king may be said as possessing human feelings (人情味).

But words certainly were not enough, and Li Zhang did not depend on them. According to the Korean court historian, Li Zhang also gave speeches in the court:

Zhang came here on his boat to search for goods, floated to our country, his look was like a piece of jade, and his knowledge was like water.[269] Sitting at the court, he was confessing. Occasionally [he was] holding the petition, those vocabularies can move people’s hearts. In Taepyung house (太平館 the residence of Chinese emissaries), the setting sun shines the pillar, [Li Zhang] looked at it while wiping away his tears. His memory of his family and his concern about death, are honestly [worth our] sympathy.

 

After noting that all Zhang wanted was to return home by water so to avoid the Chinese authority, the Korean court historian writes that the court “satisfied his wish, even though we knew it to be a deception to the upper kingdom (the Ming) and knew it was not supposed to be. Those who wanted it be done did so just because they treasured this [man of] talent. Confucian gentlemen’s hearts of treasuring talent were not to be constrained either.”[270] The court historian indeed merely indicated the wish of the Korean court, both of officials and the King. Korean dynasty record recorded the King’s response only as “the Chinese want to go back by water; the things they report cannot be ignored.”[271]

The Korean record ends Li Zhang’s story with the conclusion of this court historian. One fact is for certain. No Ming sources ever reported about this cover up by the Korean court in protection of Li Zhang. The irony is also that Li Zhang was invited to Taepyung house, the residence for Ming diplomatic emissaries. While Li Zhang and others might be called “treacherous people” (奸民) by the Ming, his story was listened to and understood by the Korean officials. If Li Zhang were to be sent back as thousands of Fujianese were, both him and his family members were to be treated under the harsh sea ban law. Li Zhang told the king that he and his men would rather smashed their heads in the King’s jaded staircase than to have their corpses exposed in the grassland. Staircase and grassland are of course all literary vocabularies, but the concern are genuine.

Li Zhang shed tears worrying about his life and the lives of his family members, then the question remains is the Chinese court upholding filial piety by punishing Fujianese maritime traders and banishing their families?  This question is difficult to answer and one should not ignore the complexity of the issue. I showed earlier how the Jiajing emperor tried to fulfill his duty as the son of heaven and concerned deeply about the livelihood of his people. His anger toward Japanese barbarians in the Ningbo incident stemmed largely from the anger that the “living beings of the coast” were being killed by the Japanese. He gave much famine relief during those years and urged lower officials to treat the people like if they are their children. Then, where do the maritime traders fit? Would he be able to sympathize people like Li Zhang just as the Korean king did? The complexity in the Jiajing emperor’s relationship to coastal people is that while he considers them as his suffering people, he does not see the connection between maritime trade and coastal people. In other words, the coastal traders who violated the law and go out to the sea are just as despicable as the barbarians, and at the same time there existed an idealized image of “our people” who are the victims of all the problems stem from trade and piracy. I argue that this complexity is best shown in the case of Chen Gui (陳貴).

Yan Song (嚴嵩 jinshi 1505), a high court official who served as Grand Secretariat, wrote a memorial to the Jiajing emperor on May 18th, 1542. The memorial told a story that involved the conflict between Ryukyu official Cai Tingmei (蔡廷美) and Fujianese merchant Chen Gui. Yan Song writes how the Ryukyu court sent official Cai Tingmei to accuse the Ming of Chen Gui’s crime in Ryukyu. However, Yan did not consider the Ryukyu court to have told the truth. Yan Song received a report from Fujian Chief Censor Xu Zonglu who interrogated Chen Gui and found a different narrative than the one from emissary Cai Tingmei. Cai’s narrative was that Chen Gui is a Fujianese from Zhangzhou, one of the seven Fujianese leaders, who led twenty-one ships and one thousand and three hundred men to Ryukyu for trade. But Chen Gui’s boat encountered the Cantonese merchants in Ryukyu where the two groups started killing each other because of competition over profit.

However, Yan Song described how Chen Gui confessed a different story that the actual conflict was not between the two groups of Chinese, but between Chen Gui and the Ryukyuans. In reality, Chen Gui had twenty six ships of goods. Yan wrote that Chen Gui’s goods “were all confiscated by their country.” He inferred from this that:

Obviously it has to be that their country could not resist the greed and because of a difference in price negotiation so they started [Cai and Chen] killing each other and defame him (Chen Gui) as a bandit. The man[Chen Gui] travels by sea for ten thousand li all the way to their barbarian island. The difference in number meant that they were easily defeated and being framed as bandits.

 

Yan wrote to the Jiajing emperor how all the goods in Chen Gui’s boat could be traced origin, indicating that Chen Gui was a merchant and not a bandit that it had to be that “their country craftily made up fake words.”[272] Chen Gui and Cai Tingmei shared something in common. They are both Fujianese. Chen Kan, the earlier mentioned Chinese emissary who was sent to Ryukyu, who met Cai Tingmei said that Cai was among the descendants of Fujianese thirty-six families dispatched to Ryukyu by Ming founder Hongwu.[273] He added that Cai and several other descendants of Fujianese in Ryukyu all received their education in Chinese imperial academy, “all are handsome and teachable, and used to come to China for learning and were students of famous Confucians.”[274] The irony of the story is that given that Cai Tingmei was well educated in Confucian classics, the idea that he would participate in illegal trading with Fujianese Chen Gui and even cheated him is a shocking revelation.

Figure 29: Portrait of Ryukyuan[275]

Figure 30: Portrait of Cai Tingmei[276]

 

Yan Song wrote that “Cai Tingmei used to trade [with him].” He also believed that it is possible that Cai Tingmei himself did the trading and Ryukyu King had no knowledge of this trade. Ryukyu King Shō Sei apparently was not informed of the private trade business and he was believed to “prohibit his barbarian cohorts to trade or collaborate with the Chinese.” Nevertheless, Yan wrote of the fact the Ryukyu King had always benefited from the saintly court, and ought not to have committed such a foolish act. He recommended to the emperor that “Zhongshan King Shō Sei must repent and must tell his barbarian cohorts to not trade nor communicate with China’s merchants to cause troubles.”[277] He added that “treacherous [Chinese] merchants randomly appeared in the islands to trade with barbarians. This problem is endemic. If we do not heavily control the [maritime] activity, then we will lose dignity and be confronted with annoyances such as Chen Gui’s case.”[278] The Jiajing emperor’s response was:

Chen Gui and other criminals who ignored the law and collaborated with barbarians must be investigated properly by local authorities according to our law and be treated harshly. As to Ryukyu kingdom’s collaboration with him, now had the guts to steal all the goods and arbitrarily arrest and kill my people (wo ren我人), and then frame them as bandits, such a stratagem-centered and disobedient barbarian [country]! Cai Tingmei and others are supposed to be imprisoned and punished severely. But considering the [face] of the King, thus generously let them go. If in the future, such trouble occurs again, then [we will] end the tribute relationship and prepare our forces, tell that country [this] with all seriousness.[279]

 

It is unknown what eventually happened to Chen Gui nor do we know what will happened to their families. Chen Gui created an annoyance for the Ming court because he participated in maritime trade and communicated with barbarians. Yan Song and the Jiajing emperor both learned that Chen Gui was a victim in the trade with Ryukyu official Cai Tingmei. The latter killed Chen Gui’s men because of a desire to take over his goods. Chen Gui from Zhangzhou traveled ten thousand li to get his goods to barbarian lands, only to find out that the barbarians cheated him and had the idea of sending him back to face the harsh sea ban law. The Jiajing emperor did not have sympathy for Chen Gui as the Korean king had to Li Zhang. If the story of Li Zhang firing cannons at Korean soldiers were learned by the Ming court, and that the Korean court send Li Zhang back to China, I believe the Jiajing emperor would have treated Li Zhang the same as he did to Chen Gui.

The irony of the Jiajing emperor’s response is that he considered Chen Gui as “my people” but insist on a harsh punishment for “my people” and lenient punishment for the barbarians who cheated Chen Gui. When the conflict was between Chinese and barbarians, the Chinese authority was often quick enough to identify who is “we” and who is “they.” Just as in the context of Ningbo incident, in the case of Chen Gui, the Jiajing emperor was quick to distinguish the issue as “our people” as victim and Japanese as the “aggressor.” But does this desire to create a dichotomy between Chinese and barbarians necessarily mean that the Chinese authority understood the need and interest of our people? In his constant imperial edicts that stressed the necessity to care about the livelihood of the poor, did the emperor understand that Chen Gui and Li Zhang were only microcosm of the people in the coast who suffered from the very policy he designed to protect them? The Jiajing emperor’s conception of being a humane emperor seems to exclude any understanding that coastal merchants and traders were just following their way of life and sea was their only avenue for a better life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

The presence of sea ban law did not mean that the law was fair to people like Chen Gui, or to thousands of Fujianese being sent back for trials during those years of famine. It was precisely this inability to understand the need of coastal people that I argue caused the endemic Wokou problem throughout the Jiajing era. If the Fujianese faced the choice of hunger and went out to trade, but this only avenue for livelihood is considered illegal in the context of Ming sea ban, then it makes sense that a Fujianese will participate in Wokou and fight back.

In this research, I have tried to illuminate the voices of the coastal people and paid a special attention to the Fujianese. The Fujianese are important to the Wokou story because I mentioned how several generals and officials all agreed that issue of Wokou all started because of Fujianese. But my goal should not be considered as a transfer of blame, such as from blaming the Japanese, to blaming the coastal Chinese, and then to blaming the Fujianese. My goal throughout this paper has been about “understanding” why the Wokou problem continued throughout the Jiajing era? I argue that it is not a problem that was simply externally forced upon China, such as to say that it was about Japanese invasion or bands of overseas Chinese strongmen. There certainly were lower class Japanese and Chinese who followed the strongmen to loot and kill throughout China’s seacoast. This was my argument in the early chapters.

But my question is, would the coastal strongmen, said Wang Zhi and Xu Hai, be influential if not for the systemic problem in China’s seacoast? I have done very little to describe the stories of these coastal strongmen because I consider that the greater problem is the lack of an understanding of the Chinese court for its coastal people. The fact that coastal Chinese were prohibited by law to continue their way of life and forced to cut off their tradition of trade and association with sea suggests that the Wokou problem is to a large extent, a self-regenerating problem. The political center implemented self-contradicting policy of sea ban in a sense that it was aimed to reduce Wokou problem since the Hongwu era, but in reality, it only fueled the Wokou problem. I presented in this research how officials and generals noticed that one cannot disassociate “traders” and “pirates.” People like Fujian Grand Coordinator Xu Fuyuan petitioned to rescind the sea ban because he saw how the lower classes were all in discontent. Others like Tang Shu said that traders turned into bandits because of the sea ban. The fact that these maritime traders knew that they were all on their own and that the Chinese law not only does not protect them but persecute them means that their turning into bandits is understandable.

I have used a very different approach in this research in compare to previous scholarships before me. Contrary to major publication on Wokou such as the book by Fan and Tong, my work does not have organized statistics and chronology on how many people Wokou killed and where and how did people suffered from those cruelty. I have dedicated most of my attention to competing narratives rather than trying to construct one smooth narrative void of complexity and inconsistency. My work does not claim to answer all the important historical questions. For example, was it a Japanese invasion of coastal China? I showed that if we were to concentrate just on the racialist narrative, then the answer is positive. But I also dedicated to show that there was a group of pragmatist officials and generals who associated the problem with China’s own people. The two categories are of course my rough generalizations. I am also aware of scholars’ potential disagreement with my use of terms such as “national” or “racial.” But I consciously employed these terms because I find them most appropriate in the Ming context after extensive reading of primary sources. In other words, I did not choose these words out of a nationalistic sentiment or a lack of knowledge of scholarship such as about Benedict Anderson or twentieth-century Chinese nationalism.

I have also endeavor to present the voices of many groups of people in this research. Rather than avoiding the complexity, I unveil how the Jiajing emperor is not what is popularly believe for not caring about people. Nor shall we simply assume that his continued sea ban law was based on a lack of attention to coastal people. His concern for the coastal people co-existed with the fact that he did not understand the coastal people and their way of life. He tried to protect the coastal people by being angry of Japanese barbarians for he assumed that they are the ones who killed his people in the coast. At the same time, he does not understand that the coastal people associated themselves with trade and the maritime world. The coastal people did not consider sea ban with gratitude, such as Zhang Chong and Xia Yan believed, they actively resisted the inflexible law because it does not accord with their history, custom, and way of life.

This research is also not just about the voices of important people like the Jiajing emperor and his high officials. Voices from minor individuals such as coastal officials and traders were also being presented. I argue that while it is customary for historians to focus on what the decision makers have to say, it is important to know that simple folks affected by the policy have their stories as well. Zhi Dalun and Yu Zibo were minor officials in the Ming, but they understood the need and concern of coastal people more than the emperor or his high officials. I have shown that both Zhi and Yu participated in going out to the street, giving the poor Fujianese their own cooked porridge in order to help them relieve from famine. If Li Zhang’s letter to the Koreans were right then Yu may have helped people like Li Zhang and his villagers to go out to trade. Whether it is Yu or Zhi, both have tried to use human feelings, or renqing, to circumvent the fixed law. At the end, they all showed an understanding for the people and not a one-sided criticism or denunciation of their people. Zheng Xiao also used human feelings to convince Tang Shunzhi. He argued that generals cannot be bounded by the racialist narrative of Chinese versus barbarians, for doing so fail to understand the difficulty and humanity of barbarians. Wang Shizhen said that it is not the difference in military strength or geography that China lost to barbarians, it is the lost of people’s trust that was the greatest enemy faced the imperial government. I follow both Zheng and Wang’s advice that the Wokou story, which involved all the different groups of people, what historians need to do is not aim to construct a flawless narrative of good and evil. Rather it is most important in seeing how each group has a story that we need to understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] Xu Jie and Zhang Juzheng 徐階, 張居正. Ming shi zong shi lu 明世宗實錄, juan 28, pg. 779.

[2] Charlotte Von Verschuer. Across the perilous sea: Japanese trade with China and Korea from the seventh to the sixteenth centuries, pg. 115-116.

[3] Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋. Huang ming zu xun 皇明祖訓, pg. 3.

[4] Zhang Xie 張燮. Dong xi yang kao東西洋考(二), juan 6, pg. 75.

[5] Tokugawa Mitsukuni 德川光圀. Dai Nihonshi大日本史, volume 96, juan 333, pg. 13-14.

[6] Ibid, pg. 14.

[7] Wan Sitong 萬斯同. Ming shi 明史, lie zhuan 210, wai guo 3, pg. 14.

[8] Ibid, pg. 16.

[9] Ibid, pg. 17.

[10] Ibid, pg. 16.

[11] Ibid, pg. 17.

[12] Xue Jun 薛俊. Chong kan ri ben kao lue 重刊日本考略, pg. n.a. See under “Kou bian lue” 寇邊略.

[13] Yang Dezheng 楊德政. Yang wen yi gong wen ji jing chuan gao 楊文懿公文集鏡川稿, juan 5, pg. 1.

[14] Zhang Chong 張翀. “Du jiao yi yi an zhong tu shu” 杜狡夷以安中土疏 in Chen Zilong, Xu Fuyuan, Song Zhengbi 陳子龍,徐孚遠,宋徵壁. Huang ming jing shi wen bian 皇明經世文編Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 292, pg. 3074.

[15] Gui Youguang 歸有光. “Lun yu wo shu” 論禦倭書in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 295, pg. 3110.

[16] Fan Zhongyi and Tong Xigang 范中義, 仝晰綱. Ming dai wo kou shi lue 明代倭寇史略, pg. 110.

[17] Li Chengxun was mistakenly called “Advisory official” (給事中) by Jia Sanjin 賈三近 in Huang ming liang chao shu chao 皇明兩朝疏抄, pg. 18.

[18] Li Chengxun. “Kan chu wo kou shi qing yi mi hou huan shu” in Huang ming liang chao shu chao, juan 16, pg. 58.

[19] Ibid, pg. 59.

[20] Ibid, pg. 60.

[21] Zhu Houzong 朱厚熜 (Jiajing emperor). “Yu zhong wai chen gong jia you sheng” 諭中外臣工加脩省 in Fu Fengxiang 傅鳳翔. Huang ming zhao ling 皇明詔令, juan 19, pg. 33.

[22] Zhu Houzong. “Kuan xu zhao” 寬恤詔in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 20, pg. 1.

[23] Xia Yan 夏言. “Kan chu wo kou shi qing shu” 勘處倭寇事情疏 in Qian Long 乾隆Yu xuan ming chen zou yi 御選明臣奏議, juan 19, pg. 2.

[24] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian 鄭若曾, 胡宗憲. Chou hai tu bian 籌海圖編, juan 5, pg. 4.

[25] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 5, pg. 5.

[26] Wang Tao 王濤. “Hong wu shi qi de jin shi guan” 洪武時期的近侍官 135-149 in Ming day zhi du yan jiu 明代制度研究, pg. 144.

 

[27] Wang Tianyou 王天有. Ming dai guo jia ji gou yan jiu 明代國家機構研究, pg. 73.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid, pg. 74.

[30] Ibid, pg. 77.

[31] Ibid, pg. 73.

[32] Wan Sitong. Ming shi, zhi 57, shihuo 5, pg. 40.

[33] Xia Yan 夏言. “Kan chu wo kou shi qing shu” 勘處倭寇事情疏 in Qian Long乾隆Yu xuan ming chen zou yi 御選明臣奏議, juan 19, pg. 3.

[34] Zhang Chong 張翀. “Du jiao yi yi an zhong tu shu” 杜狡夷以安中土疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 292, pg. 3075.

[35] Luo Qi 羅玘. “Song kun shuai huang jun fu jian bei wo xu” 送閫帥黃君福建備倭序in Huang ming jing shi wen bian 皇明經世文編, juan 125, pg. 1201.

[36] Ibid, pg. 1202.

[37] Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋. “Lun wu chen xu jun chi” 論武臣恤軍 in Huang ming zhao ling , juan 3, pg. 17.

[38] Zhang Chong. “Du jiao yi yi an zhong tu shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 292, pg. 3074.

[39] Yang Dezheng. Yang wen yi gong wen ji jing chuan gao, juan 5, pg. 2.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid, pg. 3.

[42] Hou Jigao候繼高. Quan zhe bing zhi 全浙兵制, volume 1, pg.n.a. See under “Ning shao qu tu shuo” 寧紹區圖說.

[43] Li Chengxun. “Kan chu wo kou shi qing yi shen guo wei shu” 勘處倭寇事情以伸國威疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 101, pg. 905.

[44] Qian Wei 錢薇. “Yu dang dao chu wo yi lun” 與當道處倭議論in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 214, pg. 2235.

[45] Li Jinming 李金明. Zhang zhou gang : Ming dai hai cheng yue gang xing shuai shi 漳州港: 明代海澄月港興衰史, pg. 15.

[46] Zhu Lili 朱莉麗. “Fen rao de hai yu yu cuo wu de ri ben xiang-wo kou bei jing xia ming dai ren de ri ben ren shi” 紛擾的海域與錯誤的日本像-倭寇背景下明代人的日本認識 in Shi jie shi zhong de dong ya hai yu, pg. 121.

[47] Fan and Tong. Ming dai wo kou shi lue, pg. 208.

[48] Ma Xianhong 馬先紅. “Xue jun de ri ben guan ——yi di yi bu yan jiu ri ben de zhuan zhe “ri ben kao lue wei zhong xin” 薛俊的日本观——以第一部研究日本的专著《日本考略为中心》, pg. 1.

[49]  Xue Jun. Chong kan ri ben kao lue, pg.n.a. See under “Chong kan ri ben kao lue xu” 重刊日本考畧序.

[50]  Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 12, pg. 101.

[51] Yang Dezheng. Yang wen yi gong wen ji jing chuan gao, juan 5, pg. 1.

[52] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian , juan 12, pg. 112.

[53] Zheng Xiao 鄭曉. Wu xue bian 吾學編, juan 26, pg. 83

[54] Li Chengxun. “Kan chu wo kou shi qing yi shen guo wei shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 101, pg. 906.

[55] Ibid, 904.

[56] Wang Shizhen 王世貞. “Wo zhi” 倭志 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 332, pg. 3555.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Hu Zongxian. “Guang fu ren tong fan chang jin lun” 廣福人通番嘗禁論 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 267, pg. 3555.

[59] Zhu Yuanzhang. Da ming lu shi yi 大明律釋義, juan 15, bing lu 兵律3, guan jin 關津, pg. 10.

[60] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-26, pg. 9127.

[61] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 209-5, pg. 8855.

[62] Tang Shu 唐樞. “Fu hu mei lin lun chu wang zhi” 復胡梅林論處王直 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 270, pg. 2850.

[63] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi 武備志, juan 117, zhan chuan 10, pg. 4806.

[64] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi 武備志, juan 117, zhan chuan 7, pg. 4799.

[65] Li Jinming 李金明. Zhang zhou gang: Ming dai hai cheng yue gang xing shuai shi 漳州港: 明代海澄月港興衰史 pg. 13.

[66] Wang Shiqi 王士騏. Huang ming yu wo lu 皇明馭倭錄, juan 5, pg. 4.

[67] Ibid, pg. 5.

[68] Zhu Houzong. Ming shi zong bao xun 明世宗寶訓, juan 9-40, pg. 815.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Du Xiaojun 杜小軍. Mu fu ri ben hai jun shi 幕府日本海軍史, pg. 40.

[71] Wang Shiqi. Huang ming yu wo lu, juan 5, pg. 6.

[72] Zhu Wan 朱紈. “Shao bao yi chuan shi” 哨報夷船事in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 205, pg. 2162.

[73] Zhu Wan. “Hai yang zei chuan chu mo shi” 海洋賊船出沒事 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 205, pg. 2161.

[74] Cai Ruxian 蔡汝賢. Dong yi tu shuo 東夷圖像, pg. 10.

[75] Yi yu tu zhi 異域圖志, pg. 3.

[76] Chen Jiru 陳繼儒. Zeng bu wan bao quan shu 增補萬寶全書, juan 2, pg. 2

[77] Cai Ruxian. Dong yi tu shuo, pg. 6.

[78] Ibid, pg. 6.

[79] Ibid, pg. 3.

[80] Zhu Wan. “Shao bao yi chuan shi” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 205, pg. 2163.

[81] Wang Shiqi. Huang ming yu wo lu, juan 5, pg. 9.

[82] Yang Dezheng. Yang wen yi gong wen ji jing chuan gao, juan 5, pg. 3.

[83] Charlotte Von Verschuer. Across the perilous sea: Japanese trade with China and Korea from the seventh to the sixteenth centuries, pg. 159.

[84] Qian Wei. “Hai shang shi yi yi” 海上事冝議in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 214, pg. 2241.

[85] Li Chengxun. “Kan chu wo kou shi qing yi shen guo wei shu” 勘處倭寇事情以伸國威疏 in  Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 101, pg. 905.

[86] Gui Youguang. “Lun yu wo shuo” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 295, pg. 3110.

[87] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 2, pg. 245.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Wu Qi and Xiu Bin 吳起, 修斌. “Shi lun ‘yong le tong bao’ zai ri ben de liu bu” 試論‘永樂通寶’ 在日本的流布, pg. 208

[90] Ibid, pg. 210.

[91] Ibid, pg. 200.

[92] Chang Lan 萇嵐. 7-14 shi ji zhong ri wen hua jiao liu de kao gu xue yan jiu 7-14世紀中日文化交流的考古學研究, pg. 119-125.

[93] Tang Wenji 唐文基. Fu jian gu dai jing ji shi 福建古代經濟史, pg. 494

[94] Ibid, pg. 494.

[95] Song Yingxin 宋應星. Tian gong kai wu 天工開物, middle volume 中卷, pg. 26

[96] Ibid, pg. 27.

[97] Ibid.

[98] Ibid, pg. 28.

[99] Zheng Liangsheng 鄭樑生. Ming dai zhong ri guan xi yan jiu: yi ming shi ri ben chuan suo jian ji ge wen ti wei zhong xin 明代中日關係研究: 以明史日本傳所見幾個問題為中心, pg. 45.

[100] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 9, pg. 30.

[101] Zheng Xiao 鄭曉. “Huang ming si yi kao shang juan” 皇明四夷考 上卷, pg. 40 in Zheng Xiao 鄭曉. Wu xue bian, 吾學編, volume 26.

[102] Ibid, pg. 39.

[103] Ibid, pg. 40.

[104] 王忤瘋 Nickname of Wang Zhi meant “recalcitrant madman,” not to be confused with 五峰, another one of his nickname.

[105] 徐必欺Nickname of Xu Hai meant “bully is a must.”

[106] 毛醞瘋Nickname of Mao Haifeng meant “Drunk madman.”

[107] For example, the history of “Wonu” from Han dynasty to Ming became such a standardized format for memorials that officials often used copies.

[108] Huo Yuxia 霍與瑕. “Ping guang dong wo kou yi” 平廣東倭寇議 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 368, pg. 3975.

[109] Ibid.

[110] Zheng Xiao. “Huang ming si yi kao shang juan”, pg. 40 in Wu xue bian, volume 26.

[111] Song Yiwang 宋儀望. “Hai fang shan hou shi yi shu” 海防善後事宜疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 362, pg. 3900.

[112] Wang Shiqi. Huang ming yu wo lu, juan 5, pg. 6.

[113] Fan and Tong. Ming dai wo kou shi lue, pg. 25.

[114] Ibid, pg. 19.

[115] Ibid, pg. 37.

[116] Ibid, pg. 50.

[117] Ibid, pg. 24.

[118] Song Yiwang. “Hai fang shan hou shi yi shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 362, pg. 3900.

[119] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 2, pg. 36.

[120] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 2, pg. 1.

[121] Ibid, pg. 2.

[122] Li Fuyuan 李釜源. Di tu zong yao 地圖綜要, hai fang 海防 25, zong lun 總論, pg. 129-130.

[123] Li Fuyuan 李釜源. Di tu zong yao 地圖綜要, si yi 四夷 2, zong lun 總論, pg. 183.

[124] Yang Guozhen 楊國楨. Min zai hai zhong: zhui xun fu jian hai yang fa zhan shi 閩在海中: 追尋福建海洋發展史, pg. 161.

[125] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 2, pg. 50.

[126] Tu Zhonglu 屠仲律. “Yu wo wu shi shu” 禦倭五事疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 282, pg. 2979.

[127] Xu Fuyuan 許孚遠. “Shu tong hai jin shu” 疏通海禁疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 400, pg. 4334.

[128] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 1, pg.10.

[129] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 313-22, pg. 9075.

[130] Ibid, juan 313-22, pg. 9076.

[131] Ibid, juan 314-19, pg. 9113.

[132] Ibid, juan 314-19, pg. 9114.

[133]Mao Yuanyi. “Ri ben kao” 日本考in Shi min si shi ji石民四十集, juan 46, pg. 12.

[134] Mimicking the sound of mosquitoes.

[135] Xu Fuyuan. “Shu tong hai jin shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 400, pg.4333.

[136] Huang Chengxuan 黃承玄. “Ti liu qiu zi bao wo qing shu” 題琉球咨報倭情疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 479, pg. 5268.

[137] Ibid, pg. 5274.

[138] Xu Fuyuan. “Shu tong hai jin shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 400, pg.4333.

[139] Hou Jigao 候繼高. Quan zhe bing zhi 全浙兵制, volume 2, pg.n.a. See under “Wen chu qu tu shuo” 溫處區圖說.

[140] Zhang Shiche 張時徹. “Zeng shan feng ruan gong jin fu dou yu shi fu zhen fu jian xu” 贈山峯阮公晉副都御史撫鎮福建序 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 243, pg. 2541.

[141] Ibid.

[142] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-25, pg. 9125.

[143] Close to a pound.

[144] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-25, pg. 9126.

[145] Hou Jigao. Quan zhe bing zhi, volume 2, pg.n.a. See under “Wen chu qu tu shuo.”

[146] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-19, pg. 9114.

[147] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-20, pg. 9115.

[148] He Qiaoyuan 何喬遠. Min shu 閩書, juan 133, ying jiu zhi 英舊志, qiao yu 僑寓 1, pg. 3988.

[149] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-22, pg. 9118.

[150] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 4, pg. 1.

[151] Ibid, pg. 5.

[152] Ibid, pg. 3.

[153] Ibid, pg. 2.

[154] Mao Yuanyi. Wu bei zhi, juan 214-22, pg. 9118.

[155] Xie Zhaozhe 謝肇淛. Wu za zu 五雜俎, juan 3, pg. 46.

[156] Ibid, juan 2, pg. 12.

[157] Ibid, juan 4, pg. 19.

[158] Chen Kan 陳侃. Shi liu qiu lu 使琉球錄, pg. 20.

[159] Ibid, pg. 21.

[160] Ibid, pg. 10.

[161] Xie Zhaozhe. Wu za zu, juan 4, pg. 18.

[162] Ibid, juan 1, pg. 5.

[163] Ibid, juan 4, pg. 18.

[164] Note that Tuiguan 推官 and Zhixian 知縣 are both translated as “magistrate.”Tuiguan is more responsible for judicial process, and zhixian is the highest position in the local area.

[165] Zhi Dalun 支大綸. “Yu ge yi sheng shi” 諭各醫生in Zhi Dalun支大綸. Zhi hua ping xian sheng ji 支華平先生集, juan 17, pg. 26.

[166] Zhi Dalun. “Zai niu lun” 宰牛論 in Zhi hua ping xian sheng ji, juan 17, pg. 27.

[167] Ibid, juan 18, pg. 11.

[168] Ibid, juan 17, pg. 23.

[169] Ibid, juan 18, pg. 5.

[170] Zhu Wan 朱紈. “Yue shi hai fang shi” 閱視海防事in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 205, pg. 2158.

[171] Hou Jigao. Quan zhe bing zhi, volume 2, pg. n.a. See under “Xu yi hou chen ji mi shi qing” 許儀後陳機密事情.

[172] Wang Shizhen. “Wo zhi” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 332, pg. 3556.

[173] Zheng Xiao. “Huang ming si yi kao shang juan”, pg. 42.

[174] Fan and Tong. Ming dai wo kou shi lue, pg. 26.

[175] Tu Zhonglu 屠仲律. “Yu wo wu shi shu” 禦倭五事疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 282, pg. 2979.

[176] Tang Shu唐樞. “Yu wo za zhu” 禦倭雜著in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 270, pg. 2849.

[177] Liu Xi 劉熹. “Da zong du hu mei lin fu jiao wo kou shu” 答總督胡梅林撫剿倭寇書” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 308, pg. 3254.

[178] Wang Shu 王忬. “Wo yi rong liu pan ni jiu jie ru kou shu” 倭夷容留叛逆糾結入寇疏 in  Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 283, pg. 2998.

[179] Tang Shu. “Yu wo za zhu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 270, pg. 2849.

[180] Ibid.

[181] Wan Sitong. Ming shi, lie zhuan 208, wai guo 1, pg. 61.

[182] Fan and Tong. Ming dai wo kou shi lue, pg. 25.

[183] Zheng Xiao. “Da jing chuan tang yin tai” 答荊川唐銀臺 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 218, pg. 2273.

[184] Ibid.

[185] Zheng Xiao. “Fu nie shuang jiang” 復聶雙江in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 218, pg. 2278.

[186] Tang Shunzhi 唐順之.“Tiao chen ji lian bing shi yi shu” 條陳薊練兵事宜疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 259, pg. 2743.

[187] Tang Shunzhi. “Tiao chen hai fang jing lue shi shu” 條陳海防經畧事疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 260, pg. 2746.

[188] He eventually passed away in 1560.

[189] Tang Shunzhi. “Tiao chen hai fang jing lue shi shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 260, pg. 2748.

[190] Tang Shunzhi. “San sha bao jie shu” 三沙報捷疏 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 259, pg. 2744.

[191] Zheng Xiao. “Yu jing chuan tang du xian” 與荊川唐都憲 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 218, pg. 2274.

[192] Tang Shunzhi. “Tiao chen hai fang jing lue shi shu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 260, pg. 2746.

[193] The story of Shang dynasty King Tang praying for rain in the forest because his people are experiencing the drought. He blames himself for heaven’s not raining. The story means that he cares about his people so much.

[194] Tang Shunzhi. Jing chuan ji 荊川集, juan 1, pg. 2.

[195] Ibid, juan 1, pg. 3.

[196] Ibid, juan 1, pg. 6.

[197] Ibid, juan 1, pg. 8.

[198] Zhu Houzong. “Kuan xu zhao” 寬恤詔 in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 20, pg. 1.

[199] Zhu Houzong. “Zhao sheng huang tai hou bing yu xian di hou cheng hao zhao” 詔聖皇太后并與獻帝后稱號詔 in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 19, pg. 42.

[200] Zhu Houzong. “Xuan yu cheng tian fu bai xing” 宣諭承天府百姓 in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 21, pg. 63.

[201] Zhu Houzong. “Ri shi ba mian fu chen chi” 日食罷免輔臣敕 in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 21, pg. 77.

[202] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 2, pg. 9.

[203] Ibid, juan 2, pg. 8.

[204] Wang Shizhen. “Wo zhi” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 332, pg. 3354.

[205] Ibid, juan 332, pg. 3558.

[206] Xie Zhaozhe. Wu za zu, juan 4, pg. 38.

[207] Ibid, juan 4, pg. 39.

[208] Tang Shu. “Fu jian shi yi” 福建事宜 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, pg. 2859.

[209] Zheng Xiao. “Zhong da wo kou qi chu qian liang shu” 重大倭寇乞處錢糧疏 in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi 鄭端簡公奏議, juan 1, pg. 12.

[210] Zheng Xiao. “Chi zhi ming zhi zhang yi fang wo kou shi qing” 敕旨明職以防禦倭寇事情in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi, juan 1, pg. 7.

[211] Zheng Xiao. “Shi fen jin ji wo kou shu” 十分緊急倭寇疏 in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi, juan 1, pg. 15.

[212] Ibid, juan 1, pg. 16.

[213] The author of the book claimed to be descendant of Hu Zongxian and depicted this general as Hu Zongxian. Hu Xianzong 胡獻宗. Chong ke wu lu shen ji 重刻武略神機, pg. 52.

[214] Ibid, pg. 54.

[215] Wang Shizhen. “Wo zhi” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 332, pg. 3555.

[216] Zheng Xiao. “Qi shou wu yong ji yi zhao fu yi xiao zei dang shu” 乞收武勇亟議招撫以消賊黨疏 in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi, juan 2, pg. 7.

[217] Ibid, juan 2, pg. 8.

[218] Zheng Xiao. “Yu peng cao ting du xian” 與彭草亭都憲 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 218, pg. 2277.

[219] Zong Chen 宗臣. “Bao zi yu” 報子與in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 330, pg. 3531.

[220] Ibid, juan 330, pg. 3532.

[221] Gu Guohua and Xu Jianzhong 顧國華, 許建中. “Lun Zong Chen yu wo san wen de shi liao jia zhi” 論宗臣御倭散文的史料價值, pg. 169.

[222]  Ibid, pg. 168.

[223] Zong Chen. “Bao zi yu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 330, pg. 3531.

[224] Zheng Xiao. “Wo kou deng jie shu”倭寇登劫疏in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi, juan 5, pg. 312.

[225] Zheng Xiao. “Shi fen jin ji wo kou shu” 十分緊急倭寇疏 in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi, juan 1, pg. 16.

[226] Zheng Xiao. “Qin zhan wo kou shou e shu”擒斬倭寇首惡疏in Zheng duan jian gong zou yi, juan 1, 32.

[227] Gui Youguang. “Bei wo shi yi” 備倭事宜in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 295, pg. 2112.

[228] Zheng Ruozeng and Hu Zongxian. Chou hai tu bian, juan 11, pg. 231.

[229] Fan Lai 範淶. Liang zhe hai fang lei kao xu bian 兩浙海防類考續編, juan 8, pg. 1-2.

[230] Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo 東京大學史料編撰所編. Egakareta Wako: ” Wako Zukan “to” Kowa Zukan ” 描かれた倭寇 「倭寇図巻」と「抗倭図巻」pg. 18.

[231] Hou Jigao. Quan zhe bing zhi, volume 2, pg. n.a. See under “Xu yi hou chen ji mi shi qing.”

[232]Zong Chen. “Bao zi yu” in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 330, pg. 3531.

[233] Fan and Tong. Ming dai wo kou shi lue, pg. 270-271.

[234] Lin Qiuming 林秋明. Fei yi fu qing 非遺福清, pg. 67.

[235] “Zhong zong da wang shi lu liu” 中宗大王實錄六 in Wu Han 吳晗. Chao xian li chao shi lu zhong de zhong guo shi liao 朝鮮李朝實錄中的中國史料, pg. 1136

[236] “Zhong zong da wang shi lu yi” 中宗大王實錄一 in Chao xian li chao shi lu zhong de zhong guo shi liao, pg. 1384.

[237] Ibid, pg. 1385.

[238] Ibid, pg. 1385.

[239] Ibid, pg. 1386.

[240] Ibid, pg. 1387.

[241] Ibid, pg. 1389.

[242] Jia jing wo luan bei chao 嘉靖倭亂備, pg. n.a.

[243] Ibid.

[244] Lin Xiyuan 林希元. “Shang xun an er si fang wo jie tie” 上巡按二司防倭揭帖 in Huang ming jing shi wen bian, juan 165, pg. 1679.

[245] Liu Cunde 劉存德. “Qi zhen dai shu” 乞賑貸疏 in Wu Xihuang吳錫璜. Tong an xian zhi 同安縣志, juan 28, pg. 11.

[246] Ibid, juan 28, pg. 12.

[247] Zhu Houzong. “Jiu miao kuan xu zhao” 九廟災寬恤詔 in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 21, pg. 68.

[248] Ibid, juan 21, pg. 69.

[249] Ibid, juan 21, pg. 73.

[250] Xie Daicheng 謝道承. Fu jian tong zhi 福建通志, juan 30, pg. 29.

[251] Zhou Xuezeng 周學曾. Jin jiang xian zhi 晉江縣志, juan 34, pg. 54.

[252] Ibid.

[253] Hu Xianzong. Chong ke wu lu shen ji, pg. 18-19.

[254] Hu Xianzong. Chong ke wu lu shen ji, pg. 19-20.

[255] “Zhong zong da wang shi lu shi” 中宗大王實錄十 in Chao xian li chao shi lu zhong de zhong guo shi liao, pg. 1365.

[256] Ibid, pg. 1366.

[257] There is a small episode about Li Wangqi (李王乞), one of the ten leaders being arrested because he alone disembarked while everyone else stayed in the boat. He was then sent back to China. Given the complicated nature of the story, his story is omitted so not to distract us from the importance of Li Zhang.

[258] “Zhong zong da wang shi lu shi” in Chao xian li chao shi lu zhong de zhong guo shi liao, pg. 1366.

[259] Ibid, pg. 1367.

[260] Ibid, pg. 1367.

[261] Ibid, pg. 1371.

[262] Ibid, pg. 1369.

[263] For scholars interested may read partially in here http://open-lit.com/listbook.php?cid=9&gbid=278

[264] Fu Zongwen 傅宗文. Cang sang ci tong (xia) 滄桑刺桐 (下), pg. 394-395.

[265] Zhu Houzong. “Nan shou huan jing zhao” 南狩還京詔 in Huang ming zhao ling, juan 21, pg. 63.

[266] Zhu HouzongHuang Zhongzhao 黃仲昭. Hong zhi ba min tong zhi 弘治八閩通志, juan 44, pg. 1.

[267] Jie cao 結草, tying up the grass, is a story about an old man wanting to pay back his gratitude to a general so he improvised a rope by grabbing and tying up the grass around him, thus tripping the general’s enemy which led to his victory. Han huan 含環 is a story about a siskin bird been rescued by a boy from the mouth of eagle. The boy nurtured the bird and when the bird was recovered, it fitted in its mouth rings as gifts to the boy which were said to be able to give him good luck. Eventually the boy and his family became famous officials.

[268] “Zhong zong da wang shi lu shi” in Chao xian li chao shi lu zhong de zhong guo shi liao, pg. 1370.

[269] Meaning knowledgeable in that he was always able to respond quickly like the speed of water

[270] “Zhong zong da wang shi lu shi” in Chao xian li chao shi lu zhong de zhong guo shi liao, pg. 1371.

[271] Ibid, pg. 1370.

[272] Yan Song 嚴嵩. “Liu qiu guo jie song tong fan ren fan” 琉球國解送通番人犯 in Yan Song. Nan gong zou yi 南宮奏議, juan 30, pg. 505.

[273] Chen Kan. Shi liu qiu lu, pg. 34.

[274] Ibid, pg. 31.

[275] Cai Ruxian. Dong yi tu shuo, pg. 1.

[276] Cai Duowen 蔡多文. Jia de chuan shuo 家的傳說, pg. 436.

[277] Yan Song. “Liu qiu guo jie song tong fan ren fan” in Nan gong zou yi, juan 30, pg. 505.

[278] Ibid.

[279] Ibid, juan 30, pg. 506.

杜环:经行记 [Du Huan: Record of Travels]

杜环 (唐)

Du Huan (Tang dynasty)

拔汗那国

拔汗那国在怛逻斯南千里,东隔山。去疏勒二千馀里,西去石国千馀里。城有数十,兵有数万。大唐天宝十年,嫁和义公主于此。国主有波罗林,林下有球场。又有野鼠,遍于山谷。土宜蒲萄、馣罗果、香枣、桃、李。从此至西海,尽居土室,衣羊皮叠布,男子妇人皆著靴。妇人不饰铅粉,以青黛涂眼而已。

康国

康国在米国西南三百馀里,一名萨末建。土沃人富,国小,有神祠名祆。诸国事者,本出于此。

师子国

师子国,亦曰新檀,又曰婆罗门,即南天竺也。国之北,人尽胡貌,秋夏炎旱。国之南,人尽獠面,四时霖雨,从此始有佛法寺舍。人皆儋耳,布裹腰。

拂菻国

拂菻国在苫国西。隔山数千里,亦曰大秦。其人颜色红白,男子悉著素衣,妇人皆服珠锦,好饮酒,尚干饼,多工巧,善织络,或有俘在诸国,守死不改乡风,琉璃妙者,天下莫比。王城方八十里,四面境土,各数千里。胜兵约有百万,常与大食相御。西枕西海,南枕南海,北接可萨突厥。西海中有市,客主同和,我往则彼去,彼来则我归。卖者陈之于前,买者酬之于后,皆以其直置诸物傍,待领直然后收物,名曰‘鬼市’。又闻西有女国,感水而生。

摩邻国

又去摩邻国,在秋萨罗国西南,渡大碛,行二千里至其国。其人黑,其俗犷,少米麦,无草木,马食干鱼,人飡鹘莽,鹘莽,即波斯枣也。瘴疠特甚。

大食法、大秦法、寻寻法

诸国陆行之所经也,胡则一种,法有数般。有大食法、有大秦法、有寻寻法,其寻寻蒸报于诸夷狄中最甚,当食不语。其大食法者,以弟子亲戚而作判典,纵有微过,不至相累。不食猪狗驴马等肉,不拜国王父母之尊,不信鬼神,祀天而已。其俗每七日一假,不买卖,不出纳,唯饮酒谑浪终日。其大秦,善医眼及痢,或未病先见,或开脑出虫。

波斯国

(波斯)自被大食灭,至天宝末,已百馀年矣。

石国

其国城一名赭支,一名大宛。天宝中,镇西节度使高仙芝擒其王及妻子归京师。国中有二水,一名真珠河,一名质河。并西北流,土地平敞,多果实,出好犬良马。

碎叶国

碎叶国从安西西北千馀里。有秋达岭。岭南是大唐北界,岭北是突骑施南界。西南至葱岭二千馀里。其水岭南流者,尽过中国而归东海。岭北流者,尽经胡境,而入北海。又北行数日,度雪海。其海在山中,春夏常雨雪,故曰雪海。中有细道,道傍往往有水孔,嵌空万仞,辄堕者莫知所在。㪍达岭北行千馀里,至碎叶川。其川东头有热海,兹地寒而不冻,故曰热海。又有碎叶城。天宝七年,北庭节度使王正见薄伐。城壁摧毁,邑居零落。昔交河公主所居止之处,建大云寺犹存。其川西接石国。约长千馀里。川中有异姓部落。有异姓突厥。各有兵马数万,城堡间杂,日寻干戈,凡是农人,皆擐甲胄,专相虏掠,以为奴婢。其川西头,有城名怛逻斯。石国大镇。即天宝十年高仙芝军败之地。从此至西海以东,自三月至九月,天无云雨,皆以雪水种田,宜大麦、小麦、稻禾、豌豆、毕豆。饮蒲萄酒、糜酒、醋乳。

大食国

大食一名亚俱罗。其大食王号暮门,都此处。其士女瑰伟长大,衣裳鲜洁,容止闲丽。女子出门,必拥蔽其面。无问贵贱,一日五时礼天,食肉作斋,以杀生为功德。系银带,佩银刀,断饮酒,禁音乐。人相争者,不至殴击,又有礼堂,容数万人。每七日,王出礼拜,登高座为众说法曰︰“人生甚难,天道不易,奸非劫窃,细行谩言,安己危人,欺贫虐贱,有一于此,罪莫大焉。凡有征战,为敌所戮,必得生天,杀其敌人,获福无量。”率土禀化,从之如流。法唯从宽,葬唯从俭,郛郭之内,里闬之中,土地所生,无物不有,四方辐凑,万货丰贱,锦绣珠贝,满于市肆。驼马驴骡,充于街巷,刻石蜜为卢舍,有似中国宝轝。每至节日,将献贵人,琉璃器皿、𨱎石瓶钵,盖不可算数。粳米白面,不异中华。其果有楄桃、又千年枣,其蔓菁根大如斗而圆,味甚美,馀菜亦与诸国同。蒲萄大者如鸡子。香油贵者有二︰一名耶塞漫,一名没匝〈女甲反〉师。香草贵者有二︰一名查塞菶〈蒲孔反〉,一名梨芦茇。绫绢机杼,金银匠,画匠,汉匠起作画者,京兆人樊淑、刘泚,织络者,河东人乐Huan.png、吕礼。又以橐驼驾车。其马,俗云西海滨龙与马交所产也,腹肚小,脚腕长,善者日走千里。其驼小而紧,背有孤峰,良者日驰千里。又有驼鸟,高四尺以上,脚似驼蹄,颈项胜得人骑,行五六里,其卵大如三升。又有荠树,实如夏枣,堪作油,食除瘴。其气候温,土地无冰雪。人多疟痢,一年之内,十中五死。今吞灭四五十国,皆为所役属,多分其兵镇守,其境尽于西海焉。

末禄国

末禄国在亚梅国西南七百馀里。胡姓末者,兹土人也。其城方十五里,用铁为城门。城中有盐池,又有两所佛寺。其境东西百四十里,南北百八十里,村栅连接,树木交映,四面合匝,总是流沙。南有大河,流入其境,分渠数百,溉灌一州。其土沃饶,其人净洁。墙宇高厚,市鄽平正。木既雕刻,土亦绘画。又有细软叠布,羔羊皮裘,估其上者,值银钱数百。果有红桃、白㮈、遏白黄李。瓜大者名寻支,十馀人飡一颗辄足。越瓜长四尺以上。菜有蔓菁、萝卜、长葱、颗葱、芸台、胡芹、葛蓝、军达、茴香、茇薤、瓠芦,尤多蒲萄。又有黄牛、野马、水鸭、石鸡。其俗以五月为岁,每岁以画缸相献。有打球节、秋千节。其大食东道使镇此。从此至西海以来,大食波斯,参杂居止。其俗礼天,不食自死肉及宿肉,以香油涂发。

苫国

苫国在大食西界,周回数千里。造屋兼瓦,垒石为壁。米谷殊贱,有大川东流入亚俱罗,商客籴此粜彼,往来相继。人多魁梧,衣裳宽大,有似儒服。其苫国有五节度,有兵马一万以上,北接可萨突厥。可萨北又有突厥,足似牛蹄,好啖人肉。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

雍正:大義覺迷錄/卷一 [Yongzheng: Awakening from Great Delusion, Volume 1]

雍正上諭二份

Two Imperial Edicts from Emperor Yongzheng

One

上諭:自古帝王之有天下,莫不由懷保萬民,恩加四海,膺上天之眷命,協億兆之懽心,用能統一寰區,垂庥奕世。蓋生民之道,惟有德者可為天下君,此天下一家,萬物一體,自古迄今,萬世不易之常經,非尋常之類聚群分,鄉曲疆域之私衷淺見所可妄為同異者也。

The Emperor announces: Ever since the ancient emperors ruled all-under-heaven, all of them have heartily protected the people, spreaded virtues far away to the four seas, so to follow the blessing and will of heaven. They gather the the minds and hearts of trillions, so could used them to unify the realm, bringing blessing to generations. The principle of people’s livelihood is that only those with virtues can be the ruler of all-under-heaven. The idea that all-under-heaven is one family, and ten thousand living beings cluster into one, is  a forever proven truth. It is not up to the bizarre people to disagree with, like saying about distinguishing groups and kinds, focusing on their love for local folksong or territory, and talking about their shallow views.

《書》曰:“皇天無親,惟德是輔。”蓋德足以君天下,則天錫佑之以為天下君,未聞不以德為感孚,而第擇其為何也之人而輔之之理。

又曰:“撫我則后,虐我則仇。”此民心向背之至情,未聞億兆之歸心,有不論德而但擇地之理。

又曰:“順天者昌,逆天者亡。”惟有德者乃能順天,天之所與,又豈因何地之人而有所區別乎?我國家肇基東土,列聖相承,保乂萬邦,天心篤佑,德教弘敷,恩施遐暢,登生民於袵席,遍中外而尊親者,百年於茲矣。

夫我朝既仰承天命,為中外臣民之主,則所以蒙撫綏愛育者,何得以華夷而有更殊視?而中外臣民,既共奉我朝以為君,則所以歸誠效順,盡臣民之道者,尤不得以華夷而有異心。此揆之天道,驗之人理,海隅日出之鄉,普天率土之眾,莫不知大一統之在我朝,悉子悉臣,罔敢越志者也。

乃逆賊呂留良,凶頑悖惡,好亂樂禍,俶擾彝倫,私為著述,妄謂“德祐以後,天地大變,亙古未經,於今復見”。而逆徒嚴鴻逵等,轉相附和,備極猖狂,餘波及於曾靜,幻怪相煽,恣為譭謗,至謂“八十餘年以來,天昏地暗,日月無光”。在逆賊等之意,徒謂本朝以滿洲之君,入為中國之主,妄生此疆彼界之私,遂故為訕謗詆譏之說耳。不知本朝之為滿洲,猶中國之有籍貫。舜為東夷之人,文王為西夷之人,曾何損於聖德乎?

《詩》言“戎狄是膺,荊舒是懲”者,以其僭王猾夏,不知君臣之大義,故聲其罪而懲艾之,非以其為戎狄而外之也。若以戎狄而言,則孔子周遊,不當至楚應昭王之聘。而秦穆之霸西戎,孔子刪定之時,不應以其誓列於周書之後矣。

蓋從來華夷之說,乃在晉宋六朝偏安之時,彼此地醜德齊,莫能相尚,是以北人詆南為島夷,南人指北為索虜。在當日之人,不務修德行仁,而徒事口舌相譏,已為至卑至陋之見。今逆賊等於天下一統,華夷一家之時,而妄判中外,謬生忿戾,豈非逆天悖理,無父無君,蜂蟻不若之異類乎?

且以天地之氣數言之,明代自嘉靖以後,君臣失德,盜賊四起,生民塗炭,疆圉靡寧,其時之天地,可不謂之閉塞乎?

本朝定鼎以來,掃除群寇,寰宇乂安,政教興修,文明日盛,萬民樂業,中外恬熙,黃童白叟,一生不見兵革。今日之天地清寧,萬姓沾恩,超越明代者,三尺之童亦皆洞曉,而尚可謂之昏暗乎?

夫天地以仁愛為心,以覆載無私為量。是以德在內近者,則大統集於內近;德在外遠者,則大統集於外遠。孔子曰:“故大德者必受命。”自有帝王以來,其揆一也。

今逆賊等以𡨋頑狂肆之胸,不論天心之取捨,政治之得失;不論民物之安危,疆域之大小,徒以瑣瑣鄉曲為阿私,區區地界為忿嫉,公然指斥,以遂其昧棄彝倫,滅廢人紀之逆意。至於極盡狂吠之音,竟敢指天地為昏暗,豈皇皇上天,鑒觀有赫,轉不如逆賊等之智識乎?

且逆賊呂留良等,以夷狄比於禽獸,未知上天厭棄內地無有德者,方眷命我外夷為內地主。若據逆賊等論,是中國之人皆禽獸之不若矣,又何暇內中國而外夷狄也?自詈乎?詈人乎?

且自古中國一統之世,幅𢄙不能廣遠,其中有不向化者,則斥之為夷狄。如三代以上之有苗、荊楚、玁狁,即今湖南、湖北、山西之地也。在今日而目為夷狄可乎?

至於漢、唐、宋全盛之時,北狄、西戎世為邊患,從未能臣服而有其地。是以有此疆彼界之分。自我朝入主中土,君臨天下,并蒙古極邊諸部落,俱歸版圖,是中國之疆土開拓廣遠,乃中國臣民之大幸,何得尚有華夷中外之分論哉!?

從來為君上之道,當視民如赤子;為臣下之道,當奉君如父母。如為子之人,其父母即待以不慈,尚不可以疾怨忤逆,況我朝之為君,實盡父母斯民之道,殫誠求保赤之心。而逆賊尚忍肆為訕謗,則為君者,不知何道而後可也。

從前康熙年間,各處奸徒竊發,動輒以朱三太子為名,如一念和尚、朱一貴者,指不勝屈。近日尚有山東人張玉,假稱朱姓,託於明之後裔,遇星士推算,有帝王之命,以此希冀鼓惑愚民,現被步軍統領衙門拿獲究問。

從來異姓先後繼統,前朝之宗姓臣服於後代者甚多,否則隱匿姓名伏處草野,從未有如本朝奸民假稱朱姓,搖惑人心若此之眾者。似此蔓延不息,則中國人君之子孫,遇繼統之君,必至於無噍類而後已,豈非奸民迫之使然乎?

況明繼元而有天下,明太祖即元之子民也。以綱常倫紀言之,豈能逃篡竊之罪?至於我朝之於明,則鄰國耳。且明之天下喪於流賊之手,是時邊患肆起,倭寇騷動,流賊之有名目者,不可勝數。而各村邑無賴之徒,乘機劫殺,其不法之將弁兵丁等,又借征剿之名,肆行擾害,殺戮良民請功,以充獲賊之數。中國民人死亡過半,即如四川之人,竟致靡有孑遺之歎。其偶有存者,則肢體不全,耳鼻殘缺,此天下人所共知。

康熙四五十年間,猶有目睹當時情形之父老,垂涕泣而道之者。且莫不慶倖我朝統一萬方,削平群寇,出薄海內外之人於湯火之中,而登之袵席之上,是我朝之有造於中國者大矣,至矣!

至於厚待明代之典禮,史不勝書。其藩王之後,實係明之子孫,則格外加恩,封以侯爵,此亦前代未有之曠典。

而胸懷叛逆之奸民,動則假稱朱姓,以為構逆之媒。而呂留良輩又借明代為言,肆其分別華夷之邪說,冀遂其叛逆之志。此不但為本朝之賊寇,實明代之仇讎也。

且如中國之人,輕待外國之入承大統者,其害不過妄意詆譏,蠱惑一二匪類而已。原無損於是非之公,倫常之大。倘若外國之君入承大統,不以中國之人為赤子,則中國之人,其何所托命乎?

況撫之則后,虐之則仇,人情也。若撫之而仍不以為后,殆非順天合理之人情也。假使為君者,以非人情之事加之於下,為下者其能堪乎?為君者尚不可以非人情之事加之人於下,豈為下者轉可以此施之於上乎?

孔子曰:“君子居是邦也,不非其大夫。”況其君乎!

又曰:“夷狄之有君,不如諸夏之亡也。”夫以春秋時百里之國,其大夫猶不可非。況我朝奉天承運,大一統太平盛世,而君上尚可謗議乎?且聖人之在諸夏,猶謂夷狄為有君,況為我朝之人,親被教澤,食德服疇,而可為無父無君之論乎?

韓愈有言:“中國而夷狄也,則夷狄之;夷狄而中國也,則中國之。”歷代從來,如有元之混一區宇,有國百年,幅𢄙極廣,其政治規模頗多美德,而後世稱述者寥寥。其時之名臣學士,著作頌揚,紀當時之休美者,載在史冊,亦復燦然具備,而後人則故為貶詞,概謂無人物之可紀,無事功之足錄,此特懷挾私心識見,卑鄙之人不欲歸美於外來之君,欲貶抑淹沒之耳。

不知文章著述之事,所以信今傳後,著勸戒於簡編,當平心執正而論,於外國入承大統之君,其善惡尤當秉公書錄,細大不遺。庶俾中國之君見之,以為外國之主且明哲仁愛如此,自必生奮勵之心,而外國之君見是非之不爽,信直道之常存,亦必愈勇於為善,而深戒為惡,此文藝之功,有補於治道者,當何如也。

倘故為貶抑淹沒,略其善而不傳,誣其惡而妄載,將使中國之君以為既生中國,自享令名,不必修德行仁,以臻郅隆之治。而外國入承大統之君,以為縱能夙夜勵精,勤求治理,究無望於載籍之褒揚,而為善之心,因而自怠,則內地蒼生,其苦無有底止矣。其為人心世道之害,可勝言哉!

況若逆賊呂留良等,不惟於我朝之善政善教,大經大法,概為置而不言,而更鑿空妄撰,憑虛橫議,以無影無響之談,為惑世誣民之具。顛倒是非,紊亂黑白,以有為無,以無為有。此其誕幻譸張,誑人聽聞,誠乃千古之罪人!所謂愍不畏死,凡民罔不憝,不待教而誅者也,非祇獲罪於我國家而已。此等險邪之人,胸懷思亂之心,妄冀僥倖於萬一。曾未通觀古今大勢,凡首先倡亂之人,無不身膏斧鑕,遺臭萬年!

夫以天下國家之鞏固,豈烏合鼠竊之輩所能輕言動搖?即當世運式微之時,其首亂之人,歷觀史冊,從無有一人能成大事者。如秦末之陳涉、項梁、張耳、陳餘等,以至元末之劉福通、韓林兒、陳友諒、張士誠等,雖一時跳梁,究竟旋為灰燼。而唐宋中葉之時,其草竊之輩,接踵疊跡,亦同歸於盡。總之,此等奸民,不知君臣之大義,不識天命之眷懷,徒自取誅戮,為萬古之罪人而已。

夫人之所以為人,而異於禽獸者,以有此倫常之理也。故五倫謂之人倫,是闕一則不可謂之人矣。君臣居五倫之首,天下有無君之人,而尚可謂之人乎?人而懷無君之心,而尚不謂之禽獸乎?盡人倫則謂人,滅天理則謂禽獸,非可因華夷而區別人禽也。

且天命之以為君,而乃懷逆天之意,焉有不遭天之誅殛者乎?朕思秉彝好德,人心所同,天下億萬臣民,共具天良,自切尊君親上之念,無庸再為剖示宣諭。但憸邪昏亂之小人,如呂留良等,胸懷悖逆者,普天之下不可言止此數賊也。用頒此旨特加訓諭,若平日稍有存此心者,當問天捫心,各發天良,詳細自思之。朕之詳悉剖示者,非好辯也。古昔人心淳樸,是以堯舜之時,都俞吁咈,其詞甚簡。逮至殷周之世,人心漸不如前,故《殷盤》、《周誥》所以告誡臣民者,往復周詳,肫誠剴切,始能去其蔽錮,覺其愚蒙,此古今時勢之不得不然者。

每見陰險小人,為大義所折,理屈詞窮,則借聖人之言,以巧為詆毀,曰:“是故惡夫佞者。”不知孔子之以子路為佞,因子路“何必讀書,然後為學”之語而發。蓋以無理之論,而欲強勝於人,則謂之佞,所謂禦人以口給也。

若遇呂留良、嚴鴻逵、曾靜等逆天背理,惑世誣民之賊,而曉以天經地義,綱常倫紀之大道,使愚昧無知,平日為邪說陷溺之人,豁然醒悟,不致遭天譴而罹國法,此乃為世道人心計,豈可以謂之佞乎?

天下後世自有公論。著將呂留良、嚴鴻逵、曾靜等悖逆之言,及朕諭旨,一一刊刻,通行頒布天下各府、州、縣、遠鄉僻壤,俾讀書士子及鄉曲小民共知之,並令各貯一冊於學宮之中,使將來後學新進之士,人人觀覽知悉。倘有未見此書,未聞朕旨者,經朕隨時察出,定將該省學政及該縣教官從重治罪。特諭。

上諭:朕荷上天眷佑,受聖祖仁皇帝付托之重,君臨天下。自御極以來,夙夜孜孜,勤求治理,雖不敢比於古之聖君哲后,然愛養百姓之心,無一時不切於寤寐,無一事不竭其周詳。撫育誠求,如保赤子,不惜勞一身以安天下之民,不惜殫一心以慰黎庶之願,務期登之袵席,而無一夫不得其所。宵旰憂勤,不遑寢食,意謂天下之人,庶幾知朕之心,念朕之勞,諒朕之苦,各安生業,共敦實行,人心漸底於善良,風俗胥歸於醇厚,朕雖至勞至苦,而此心可大慰矣。

豈意有逆賊曾靜,遣其徒張熙投書於總督岳鍾琪,勸其謀反,將朕躬肆為誣謗之詞,而於我朝極盡悖逆之語。廷臣見者,皆疾首痛心,有不共戴天之恨。似此影響全無之事,朕夢寐中亦無此幻境,實如犬吠狼嗥,何足與辯?既而思之,逆賊所言,朕若有幾微愧歉於中,則當回護隱忍,暗中寢息其事。今以全無影無聲之談,加之於朕,朕之心可以對上天,可以對皇考,可以共白於天下之億萬臣民。而逆賊之敢於肆行誣謗者,必更有大奸大惡之徒,捏造流言,搖眾心而惑眾聽。若不就其所言,明目張膽宣示播告,則魑魅魍魎,不公然狂肆於光天化日之下乎?

如逆書加朕以謀父之名。朕幼蒙皇考慈愛教育,四十餘年以來,朕養志承歡,至誠至敬,屢蒙皇考恩諭。諸昆弟中,獨謂朕誠孝,此朕之兄弟及大小臣工所共知者。

朕在藩邸時,仰托皇考福庇,安富尊榮,循理守分,不交結一人,不與聞一事,於問安視膳之外,一無沽名妄冀之心。此亦朕之兄弟及大小臣工所共知者。

至康熙六十一年十一月冬至之前,朕奉皇考之命,代祀南郊,時皇考聖躬不豫,靜攝於暢春園,朕請侍奉左右,皇考以南郊大典,應於齋所虔誠齋戒,朕遵旨於齋所致齋。至十三日,皇考召朕於齋所,朕未至暢春園之先,皇考命誠親王允祉、淳親王允祐、阿其那、塞思黑、允䄉、公允祹、怡親王允祥、原任理藩院尚書隆科多至御榻前,諭曰:“皇四子人品貴重,深肖朕躬,必能克承大統,著繼朕即皇帝位。”是時惟恒親王允祺以冬至命往孝東陵行禮,未在京師,莊親王允祿、果親王允禮、貝勒允禑、貝子允禕,俱在寢宮外祗候。及朕馳至問安,皇考告以症候日增之故,朕含淚勸慰。其夜戌時,龍馭上賓,朕哀慟號呼,實不欲生。隆科多乃述皇考遺詔,朕聞之驚慟,皆仆於地。誠親王等向朕叩首,勸朕節哀,朕始強起辦理大事。此當日之情形,朕之諸兄弟及宮人內侍與內廷行走之大小臣工,所共知共見者。

夫以朕兄弟之中,如阿其那、塞思黑等,久蓄邪謀,希冀儲位,當茲授受之際,伊等若非親承皇考付朕鴻基之遺詔,安肯帖無一語,俯首臣伏於朕之前乎?而逆賊忽加朕以謀父之名,此朕夢寐中不意有人誣謗及此者也。

又如逆書加朕以逼母之名,伏惟母后聖性仁厚慈祥,闔宮中若老若幼,皆深知者。朕受鞠育深恩,四十年來,備盡孝養,深得母后之慈歡,謂朕實能誠心孝奉。而宮中諸母妃咸美母后,有此孝順之子,皆為母后稱慶,此現在宮內人所共知者。

及皇考升遐之日,母后哀痛深至,決意從殉,不飲不食。朕稽顙痛哭,奏云:“皇考以大事遺付沖人,今聖母若執意如此,臣更何所瞻依,將何以對天下臣民,亦惟以身相從耳。”再四哀懇,母后始勉進水漿。自是以後,每夜五鼓,必親詣昭仁殿,詳問內監,得知母后安寢,朕始回苫次。

朕御極後,凡辦理朝政,每日必行奏聞,母后諭以不欲與聞政事。朕奏云:“臣於政務素未諳練,今之所以奏聞者,若辦理未合,可以仰邀訓誨,若辦理果當,可仰慰慈懷,並非干預政事也。”嗣後朕每奏事,母后輒喜,以皇考付托得人,有不枉生汝,勉之莫怠之慈旨。

母后素有痰疾,又因皇考大事,悲慟不釋於懷,於癸卯五月,舊恙舉發。朕侍奉湯藥,冀望痊癒。不意遂至大漸。朕向來有畏暑之疾,哀痛擗踴,屢次昏暈,數月之內,兩遭大事,五內摧傷,幾不能支,此宮廷所共知者。

朕於皇考、母后大事,素服齋居,三十三月如一日,除祭祀大典,及辦理政事外,所居之地,不過屋宇五楹,不聽音樂,不事遊覽,實盡三年諒陰之禮,此亦內外臣工所共知者。

至於朕於現在宮中諸母妃之前,無不盡禮敬養,今諸母妃亦甚感朕之相待,豈有母后生我,而朕孺慕之心有一刻之稍懈乎?況朕以天下孝養,豈尚缺於甘旨而於慈親之前,有所吝惜乎?逆賊加朕以逼母之名,此更朕夢寐中不意有人誣謗及此者也。

又如逆書加朕以弑兄之名。當日大阿哥殘暴橫肆,暗行鎮魘,冀奪儲位,二阿哥昏亂失德。皇考為宗廟社稷計,將二人禁錮。此時曾有硃筆諭旨:“朕若不諱;二人斷不可留。”此廣集諸王大臣特降之諭旨,現存宗人府。

朕即位時,念手足之情,心實不忍,祇因諸弟中如阿其那等,心懷叵測,固結黨援,往往藉端生事,煽惑人心,朕意欲將此輩徐徐化導,消除妄念,安靜守法,則將來二阿哥亦可釋其禁錮,厚加祿賜,為朕世外兄弟,此朕素志也。所以數年以來,時時遣人賚予服食之類,皆不令稱御賜,不欲其行君臣之禮也。二阿哥常問云:“此出自皇上所賜乎?我當謝恩領受。”而內侍遵朕旨,總不言其所自。及雍正二年冬間,二阿哥抱病,朕命護守咸安宮之大臣等,於太醫院揀擇良醫數人,聽二阿哥自行選用。二阿哥素知醫理,自與醫家商訂方藥。迨至病勢漸重,朕遣大臣往視,二阿哥感朕深恩,涕泣稱謝云:“我本有罪之人,得終其天年,皆皇上保全之恩也。”又謂其子弘皙云:“我受皇上深恩,今生不能仰報,汝當竭心盡力,以繼我未盡之志。”及二阿哥病益危篤,朕令備儀衛移於五龍亭。伊見黃輿,感激朕恩,以手加額,口誦佛號。以上情事,咸安宮宮人、內監百餘人,皆所目睹者。及病故之後,追封親王,一切禮儀有加,且親往哭奠,以展悲慟。其喪葬之費,動支庫帑,悉從豐厚,命大臣等盡心辦理,封其二子以王公之爵,優加賜賚。今逆賊加朕以弑兄之名,此朕夢寐中不意有人誣謗及此者也。

又如逆賊加朕以屠弟之名,當日阿其那以二阿哥獲罪廢黜,妄希非分,包藏禍心,與塞思黑、允䄉、允禵結為死黨,而阿其那之陰險詭譎,實為罪魁,塞思黑之狡詐奸頑,亦與相等。允禵狂悖糊塗,允䄉卑污庸惡,皆受其籠絡,遂至膠固而不解,於是結交匪類,蠱惑人心,而行險僥倖之輩,皆樂為之用,私相推戴,竟忘君臣之大義。以致皇考憂憤震怒,聖躬時為不豫,其切責阿其那也,則有“父子之情已絕” 之旨。其他忿激之語,皆為臣子者所不忍聽聞。朕以君父高年,憂懷鬱結,百計為伊等調停解釋,以寬慰聖心,其事不可枚舉。及皇考升遐之日,朕在哀痛之時,塞思黑突至朕前,箕踞對坐,傲慢無禮,其意大不可測,若非朕鎮定隱忍,必至激成事端。朕即位以後,將伊等罪惡,俱行寬宥,時時教訓,望其改悔前愆,又加特恩,將阿其那封為親王,令其輔政,深加任用。蓋伊等平日原以阿其那為趨向,若阿其那果有感悔之心,則群小自然解散。豈料阿其那逆意堅定,以未遂平日之大願,恚恨益深,且自知從前所為,及獲罪於皇考之處萬無可赦之理,因而以毒忍之心肆其桀驁之行,擾亂國政,顛倒紀綱,甚至在大庭廣眾之前詛朕躬,及於宗社。此廷臣所共見,人人無不髮指者。

從前朕遣塞思黑往西大同者,原欲離散其黨,不令聚於一處,或可望其改過自新。豈知伊怙惡不悛,悖亂如故,在外寄書允䄉,公然有“機會已失,悔之無及”等語。又與伊子巧編格式,別造字樣,傳逓京中信息,縫於騾夫衣襪之內,詭計陰謀,甚於敵國奸細。有奸民令狐士儀,投書伊處,皆反叛之語,而伊為之隱藏。其他不法之處甚多,不可勝數。

允禵賦性狂愚,與阿其那尤相親密,聽其指使。昔年因阿其那謀奪東宮之案,皇考欲治阿其那之罪,允禵與塞思黑在皇考前袒護強辯,致觸聖怒,欲手刃允禵。此時恒親王允祺抱勸而止。皇考高年,知伊愚逆之性,留京必致妄亂啟釁,後因西陲用兵,特遣前往效力,以疏遠之。伊在軍前,貪婪淫縱,惡蹟種種。及朕即位,降旨將伊喚回,伊在朕前放肆傲慢,犯禮犯分,朕悉皆曲宥,仍令奉祀景陵。竟有奸民蔡懷璽,投書伊之院中,造作大逆之言,稱允禵為皇帝,而稱塞思黑之母為太后。允禵見書,將大逆之語剪裁藏匿,向該管總兵云:“此非大事,可酌量完結。”即此,則其悖亂之心,何嘗改悔耶!?

允䄉無知無恥,昏庸貪劣,因其依附邪黨,不便留在京師,故令送澤卜尊丹巴胡土克圖出口。伊至張家口外,託病不行,而私自禳禱,連書雍正新君於告文,怨望慢褻,經緒王大臣等以大不敬題叅。朕俱曲加寬宥,但思若聽其閑散在外,必不安靜奉法,是以將伊禁錮以保全之,伊在禁錮之所竟敢為鎮魘之事,經伊跟隨太監舉出,及加審訊,鑿鑿可據。允䄉亦俯首自認,不能更辯一詞。從前諸王大臣臚列阿其那大罪四十欵,塞思黑大罪二十八欵,允禵大罪十四欵,又特叅允䄉鎮魘之罪,懇請將伊等立正典刑,以彰國憲。朕再四躊躇,實不忍,暫將阿其那拘禁,降旨詢問外省封疆大臣,待其回奏,然後定奪。仍令太監數人供其使令,一切飲食所需,聽其索取。不意此際,阿其那遂伏𡨋誅,塞思黑從西寧移至保定,交與直隸總督李紱看守,亦伏𡨋誅。夫以皇考至聖至慈之君父,而切齒痛心於阿其那、塞思黑等,則伊等不忠不孝之罪,尚安有得逃於天譴者乎?

朕在藩邸,光明正大,公直無私,諸兄弟之才識實不及朕,其待朕悉恭敬盡禮,並無一語之爭競,亦無一事之猜嫌,滿洲臣工及諸王門下之人,莫不知者。

今登大位,實無絲毫芥蒂於胸中,而為報怨洩憤之舉,但朕纘承列祖皇考基業,負荷甚重,其有關於宗廟社稷之大計,而為人心世道之深憂者,朕若稍避一己之嫌疑,存小不忍之見,則是朕之獲罪於列祖皇考者大矣。

古人大義滅親,周公所以誅管蔡也,假使二人不死,將來未必不明正典刑。但二人之死,實係𡨋誅,眾所共知共見。朕尚未加以誅戮也。至於朕秉公執法,鋤惡除奸,原不以誅戮二人為諱,若朕心以此為諱,則數年之中,或暗賜鴆毒,或遣人傷害,隨時隨地皆可隕其性命,何必諮詢內外諸臣,眾意僉同而朕心仍復遲迥不決,俾伊等得保首領以歿乎?至允䄉、允禵將來作何歸結,則視乎本人之自取,朕亦不能予定。而目前則二人現在也。

朕之兄弟多人,當阿其那等結党之時,於秉性聰明,稍有膽識者,則百計籠絡,使之入其匪党,而於愚懦無能者,則恐嚇引誘,使之依附聲勢,是以諸兄弟多迷而不悟,墮其術中。即朕即位以後,而懷藏異心者,尚不乏人,朕皆置而不問。朕之素志,本欲化導諸頑,同歸於善,俾朝廷之上,共守君臣之義,而宮廷之內,得朕兄弟之情,則朕全無缺陷,豈非至願?無如伊等惡貫滿盈,獲罪於上天、皇考,以致自速𡨋誅,不能遂朕之初念。此朕之大不幸,天下臣庶,當共諒朕為國為民之苦心,今逆賊乃加朕以屠弟之名,只此一事,天下後世自有公論,朕不辯亦不受也。

至逆書謂朕為貪財,朕承皇考六十餘年太平基業,富有四海,府庫充盈,是以屢年來大沛恩澤,使薄海黎庶,莫不均霑 。如各省舊欠錢糧,則蠲免幾及千萬兩,江南、江西、浙江之浮糧,則每年減免額賦六十余萬兩。地方旱澇偶聞,即速降諭旨,動帑遣官,多方賑恤,及災傷勘報之後,或按分數蠲除,或格外全行豁免。今年又降諭旨,將被災蠲免分數,加至六分七分。至於南北黃運河工堤工,興修水利,開種稻田,以及各省建造工程,備辦軍需,恩賜賞賚,所費數百萬兩,皆內動支帑項,絲毫不使擾民。

夫以額徵賦稅,內庫帑金減免支給如此之多,毫無吝惜,而謂朕為貪財,有是理乎?只因從前貪官污吏,蠹國殃民,即置重典,亦不足以蔽其辜。但不教而殺,朕心有所不忍,故曲宥其死,已屬浩蕩之恩,若又聽其以貪婪橫取之資財肥身家,以長子孫,則國法何存,人心何以示儆?

況犯法之人,原有籍沒家產之例,是以將奇貪極酷之員,照例抄沒,以彰憲典,而懲貪污,並使後來居官者,知贓私之物,不能入已,無益有害,不敢復蹈故轍,勉為廉吏,此朕乂安百姓,整飭吏治之心。今乃被貪財之謗,豈朕不吝惜於數千百萬之帑金,而轉貪此些微之贓物乎?

至於屬員,虧空錢糧,有責令上司分賠者,蓋以上司之於屬吏有通同侵蝕之弊,有瞻狥容隱之風,若不重其責成,則上司不肯盡察吏之道,而侵盜之惡習無由而止。是以設此懲創之法,以儆惕之。俟將來上官皆能察吏,下寮群知奉公,朕自有措施之道。若因此而謗為貪財,此井蛙之見,烏知政治之大乎?

至逆書謂朕好殺,朕性本最慈,不但不肯妄罰一人,即步履之間,草木螻蟻,亦不肯踐踏傷損。即位以來,時刻以祥刑為念,各省爰書及法司成讞,朕往復披覽,至再至三,每遇重犯,若得其一線可生之路,則心為愉快,倘稍有可疑之處,必與大臣等推詳講論,期於平允。六年以來,秋審四經停決,而廷議緩決之中,朕複降旨,察其情罪稍輕者,令行矜釋,其正法及勾決之犯,皆大逆大惡之人,萬萬法無可貸者。夫天地之道,春生秋殺。堯舜之政,弼教明刑。朕治天下,原不肯以婦人之仁,弛三尺之法。但罪疑惟輕,朕心慎之又慎,惟恐一時疏忽,致有纎毫屈枉之情。不但重辟為然,即笞杖之刑,亦不肯加於無罪者。每日誡飭法司,及各省官吏等,以欽恤平允為先務。今逆賊謂朕好殺,何其與朕之存心行政相悖之甚乎?

又逆書謂朕為酗酒。夫酒醴之設,聖賢不廢。古稱堯千鐘,舜百榼,《論語》稱孔子惟酒無量,是飲酒原無損於聖德,不必諱言。但朕之不飲,出自天性,並非強致。而然前年提督路振揚來京陛見。一日忽奏云:“臣在京許久,每日進見,仰瞻天顏,全不似飲酒者,何以臣在外任,有傳聞皇上飲酒之說。”朕因路振揚之奏,始知外聞有此浮言,為之一咲。今逆賊酗酒之謗,即此類也。

又逆書謂朕為淫色。朕在藩邸,即清心寡欲,自幼性情不好色欲。即位以後,宮人甚少。朕常自謂天下人不好色,未有如朕者。遠色二字,朕實可以自信,而諸王大臣近侍等,亦共知之。今乃謗為好色,不知所好者何色?所寵者何人?在逆賊既造流言,豈無耳目,而乃信口譏評耶!

又逆書謂朕為懷疑誅忠。朕之待人,無一事不開誠布公,無一處不推心置腹,胸中有所欲言,必盡吐而後快,從無逆詐,億不信之事。其待大臣也,實視為心膂股肱,聯絡一體,日日以至誠訓誨臣工,今諸臣亦咸喻朕心有感孚之意。至於年羹堯、鄂倫岱、阿爾松阿則朕之所誅戮者也。年羹堯受皇考及朕深恩,忍於背負,胸懷不軌,幾欲叛逆。其貪酷狂肆之罪,經大臣等叅奏九十二條,揆以國法,應置極刑。而朕猶念其西藏、青海之功,從寬令其自盡;其父兄俱未處分,其子之發遣遠方者,今已開恩赦回矣。鄂倫岱、阿靈阿實奸党之渠魁。伊等之意,竟將東宮廢立之權,儼若可以操之於己。當阿其那惡跡敗露之時,皇考審詢伊之太監,比將鄂倫岱、阿靈阿同惡共濟之處,一一供出,荷蒙皇考寬宥之恩,不加誅滅。而伊等並不感戴悔過,毫無畏懼,愈加親密,鄂倫岱仍敢強橫踞傲,故意觸犯皇考之怒。當聖躬高年頤養之時,為此忿懣恚恨,臣工莫不切齒。阿靈阿罪大惡極,早伏𡨋誅。伊子阿爾松阿,仿效伊父之行,更為狡獪。朕猶念其為勳戚之後,冀其洗心滌慮,以蓋前愆,特加任用,並令管理刑部事務。而伊逆心未改,故智複萌,顛倒是非,紊亂法律。一日審理刑名,將兩造之人,用三木各夾一足,聞者皆為駭異。又與鄂倫岱同在乾清門,將朕所降諭旨擲之於地,其他狂悖妄亂之處,不可殫述。朕猶不忍加誅,特命發往奉天居住,使之解散其黨羽,尚可曲為保全,豈料二人到彼全無悔悟之念,但懷怨望之心,而在京之邪黨,仍然固結,牢不可破。朕再四思維,此等巨惡,在天理國典,斷不可赦,於是始將二人正法。至於蘇努則老奸大蠹,罪惡滔天,實逆党之首惡。隆科多則罔上欺君,欵跡昭著。二人皆伏𡨋誅,未膺顯戮。

逆書之所謂懷疑誅忠者,朕細思朕於年羹堯、鄂倫岱、阿爾松阿三人之外,並未誅戮忠良之大臣。想逆賊即以年羹堯、鄂倫岱、阿爾松阿、蘇努、隆科多等為忠良乎?天下自有公論也。又逆書謂朕為好諛任佞。朕在藩邸四十餘年,於人情物理,熟悉周知,讒諂面諛之習,早已洞察其情偽,而厭薄其卑污。不若冲幼之主,未經閱歷者也。是以即位以來,一切稱功頌德之文,屏棄不用,不過臣工表文,官員履歷,沿習舊日體式,作頌聖之句,凑合成章,朕一覽即過,不復留意。日日訓諭大小臣工,直言朕躬之闕失,詳陳政事之乖差,以忠讜為先,以迎合為戒。是以內外諸臣,皆不敢以浮誇頌禱之詞見諸言奏,恐為朕心之所輕。今逆賊之所謂好諛任佞者,能舉一人一事以實之否耶?

以上諸條,實全無影響,夢想不及之事,而逆賊滅絕彝良,肆行詆毀者,必有與國家為深讐積恨之人捏造此言惑亂眾聽。如阿其那、塞思黑等之奸黨,被朕懲創拘禁,不能肆志,懷恨於心,或貪官污吏,匪類棍徒,怨朕執法無私,故造作大逆之詞,洩其私憤。且阿其那、塞思黑當日之結黨肆惡,謀奪儲位,也於皇考則時懷忤逆背叛之心。於二阿哥則極盡搖亂傾陷之術,因而嫉妒同氣,排擠賢良,入其黨者,則引為腹心。遠其黨者,則視為讐敵。又如阿其那,自盜廉潔之名,而令塞思黑、允䄉、允禵貪贓犯法,橫取不義之財,以供其市恩沽譽之用。且允禵出兵在外,盜取軍需銀數十萬兩,屢次遣人私送與阿其那,聽其揮霍。前允禵之子供出,阿其那亦自認不諱者。又如阿其那殘忍性成,逐日沉醉。當朕切加訓誡之時,尚不知改。伊之護軍九十六,以直言觸怒,立斃杖下,長史胡什吞,亦以直言得罪,痛加箠楚,且推入氷中,幾至殞命。允禵亦素性嗜酒,時與阿其那沉湎輕生。允禵又復漁色宣淫,不知檢束,以領兵之重任,尚取青海台吉之女,及蒙古女子多人,恣其淫蕩,軍前之人誰不知之?

今逆書之譭謗,皆朕時常訓誨伊等之事,伊等既負疚於心,而又銜怨於朕,故即指此以為訕謗之端,此鬼蜮之伎倆也。且伊等之奴隸太監,平日相助為虐者,多發遣黔粵烟瘴地方,故於經過之處,布散流言。而逆賊曾靜等,又素懷不臣之心,一經傳聞,遂藉以為蠱惑人心之具耳。向因儲位未定,奸宄共生覬覦之情,是以皇考升遐之後,遠方之人皆以為將生亂階,暗行窺伺。及朕纘承大統,繼志述事,數年以來幸無失政。天人協應,上下交孚,而兇惡不軌之徒,不能乘間伺釁,有所舉動,逆志迫切,自知無得逞之期,遂鋌而走險,甘蹈赤族之罪,欲拼命為疑人耳目之舉耳。殊不知實於朕無損也。又逆書云“明君失德,中原陸沉,夷狄乘虛入我中國,竊據神器”等語。

我朝發祥之始,天生聖人起於長白山,積德累功,至於太祖高皇帝,天錫神武,謀略蓋世,法令制度,規模弘遠。是以統一諸國,遐邇歸誠,開創帝業。迨太宗文皇帝,繼位踐祚,德望益隆,奄有三韓之地,撫綏蒙古,為諸國之共主。是本朝之於明,論報復之義,則為敵國,論交往之禮,則為與國。本朝之得天下,較之成湯之放桀,周武之伐紂,更為名正而言順,況本朝並非取天下於明也。崇禎殉國,明祚已終,李自成僭偽號於北京,中原塗炭,咸思得真主,為民除殘去虐。太宗文皇帝不忍萬姓沉溺於水火之中,命將興師,以定禍亂。干戈所指,流賊望風而遁。李自成為追兵所殺,餘黨解散。世祖章皇帝駕入京師,安輯畿輔,億萬蒼生咸獲再生之幸,而崇禎帝始得以禮殯葬。此本朝之為明報怨雪恥,大有造於明者也。是以當時明之臣民,達人智士,帖然心服,罔不輸誠向化。今之臣民,若果有先世受明高爵厚祿,不忘明德者,正當感戴本朝為明復仇之深恩,不應更有異說也。況自甲申,至今已八十餘年,自祖父以及本身,履大清之土,食大清之粟,而忍生叛逆之心,倡狂悖之論乎?

逆書云:“夷狄異類,詈如禽獸。”

夫人之所以異於禽獸者幾希?以其存心也。君子以仁存心,以義存心。若僻處深山曠野之夷狄番苗,不識綱維,不知禮法,蠢然漠然,或可加之以禽獸無異之名。至於今日蒙古四十八旗,喀爾喀等,尊君親上,慎守法度,盜賊不興,命案罕見,無奸偽盜詐之習,有熙皥寧靜之風,此安得以禽獸目之乎?若夫本朝,自關外創業以來,存仁義之心,行仁義之政,即古昔之賢君令主,亦罕能與我朝倫比。且自入中國,已八十餘年。敷猷布教,禮樂昌明,政事文學之盛,燦然備舉,而猶得謂為異類禽獸乎?孔子曰:“夷狄之有君,不如諸夏之亡也。”是夷狄之有君,即為聖賢之流,諸夏之亡,君即為禽獸之類。寧在地之內外哉!

《書》云:“皇天無親,惟德是輔。” 本朝之得天下,非徒事兵力也。太祖高皇帝開創之初,甲兵僅十三人,後合九姓之師,敗明四路之眾。至世祖章皇帝入京師時,兵亦不過十萬,夫以十萬之眾,而服十五省之天下,豈人力所能強哉?實道德感孚,為皇天眷顧,民心率從,天與人歸。是以一至京師,而明之臣民,咸為我朝効力馳驅。其時統領士卒者,即明之將弁,披堅執銳者,即明之甲兵也。此皆應天順時,通達大義,輔佐本朝成一統太平之業。而其人亦標名竹帛,勒勳鼎彝,豈不謂之賢乎?而得以禽獸目之乎?及吳三桂反叛之時,地方督撫提鎮,以至縣令武弁攻城破敵,轉餉輓糧,多半漢人也。且多臨陣捐軀,守土殉節者,國史不勝其載,歷歷可數。又如三次出征朔漠,宣力行間,贊襄蕩平之勳者,正復不少。豈不謂之忠且義乎?而得以禽獸目之乎?即如岳鍾琪,世受國恩,忠誠義勇,克復西藏,平定青海,屢奏膚功,赤心奉主,豈非國家之棟樑,朝廷之柱石乎?如逆賊曾靜者,乃漢人之禽獸也。蓋識尊親之大義,明上下之定分,則謂之人。若淪喪天常,絕滅人紀,則謂之禽獸。此理之顯然者也。且夷狄之名,本朝所不諱。孟子云:“舜東夷之人也,文王西夷之人也。” 本其所生而言,猶今人之籍貫耳。況滿洲人皆恥附於漢人之列,準噶爾呼滿洲為蠻子,滿洲聞之,莫不忿恨之,而逆賊以夷狄為誚,誠醉生夢死之禽獸矣。

本朝定鼎以來,世祖十八年建極開基,聖祖六十一年深仁厚澤。朕即位以後,早夜憂勞,無刻不以閭閻為念,是以上天眷佑,雨暘時若,奸宄不興,寰宇享升平之福。在昔漢、唐、宋極治之時,不過承平二三十年,未有久安長治如今日者。百姓自齠齔之年,至於白首,不見兵革,父母妻子家室完聚,此非朝廷清明庶績咸熙之所致乎?且漢、唐、宋、明之世,幅𢄙未廣,西北諸處,皆為勁敵,邊警時聞,烽煙不息。中原之民,悉索敝賦,疲於奔命,亦危且苦矣。今本朝幅𢄙弘廣,中外臣服,是以日月照臨之下,凡有血氣,莫不額手稱慶,歌詠太平。而逆賊謂乾坤反復,黑暗無光,此又瘈犬鴟鴞之吠鳴,禽獸中之最惡者矣。或逆賊之先世為明代之勳戚,故戀戀於明乎,今昌平諸陵,禁止樵採,設戶看守,每歲遣官致祭。聖祖屢次南巡,皆親謁孝陵奠酹,實自古所未有之盛典,朕又繼承聖志,封明後以侯爵,許其致祭明代陵寢,雖夏、商、周之所以處勝國之後,無以加矣。若逆賊果心念前明,更當感切肺腑,夢寐之中,惟本朝崇奉,而猶云:“內中國而外夷狄乎?” 此逆賊也。非惟在本朝為漢人之禽獸,即在明代,亦一禽獸,且其意非僅比本朝為禽獸,其視明代亦一漠不相關之禽獸耳。

又云:“五六年內寒暑易序,五穀少成,恒雨恒暘,荊、襄、岳、常等郡,連年洪水滔天,吳、楚、蜀、粵,旱澇時聞,山崩川竭,地暗天昏。”

夫天時水旱,關乎氣數,不能保其全無,所恃人力補救耳。如堯有九年之水,湯有七年之旱,曾無損於一帝一王賢聖之名,但朕自嗣位以來,賴天地祖宗之福庇,陰陽和順,風雨時調,五穀豐收,農民樂業,各省之內,間有數州縣旱澇不齊,即令動帑賑濟,民獲安全。湖廣惟上年江水泛漲,有傷禾稼,即特發帑金,築堤捍禦,此天下臣民所共知者。幸六年之內,各省薄收之處不過數州縣耳。倘遇大水大旱,不知又作何幸災樂禍之說也。方今天下,凡有知識之人,以及草木昆蟲,皆居於戴高履厚之內,而云“地暗天昏”,蓋逆賊之心昏暗,入於鬼道,固不知有天地矣。

至云:“孔廟既毀,朱祠複災。” 孔廟之不戒於火,唐宋皆有之。明弘治時,被災尤甚。弘治非明代之賢君乎?若以此為人君之不德所致,則將來叛逆之徒,必藉此煽動人心,至有縱火焚毀,以及各府州縣文廟者。逆賊既稱東魯腐儒,附於聖人桑梓,而忍為此言乎?若朱祠之焚,未知果有其事否?但朱子祠宇遍天下,偶一被火,即關君德,則諸儒之祠宇何窮,寧能保其一無回祿之災乎?

至云:“五星聚,黃河清;為陰盡陽生,亂極轉治之機。” 夫果至亂極之時,有此嘉祥,猶可附合其說,今天下吏治雖不敢曰盡善,然已大法小廉矣,民生雖不敢曰乂安,然已衣食粗足矣。四方無事,百姓康樂,戶口蕃庶,田野日辟,正萬國咸寧之時,而乃云“亂極”乎?且食草木者何人,積屍者何地,逆賊能確指之乎?昧心喪理,總不舉首仰觀於天也。昊蒼之所以恩眷本朝者,歷代未有若斯之厚,而且顯也。朕即位之初,孝陵蓍草叢生,六年之秋,景陵芝英產於寶城山上,以至雙岐五秀之嘉禾,九穗盈尺之瑞穀,五星聚於奎璧,黃河清於六省,駢實連株之應,卿雲甘露之祥,朕雖不言禎符,而自古史冊所艶稱而罕觀者,莫不備臻而畢具。而逆書則云:“山崩川竭。” 試問此數年來,崩者何山,竭者何川,能指出一二否乎?

夫災異之事,古昔帝王未常諱言。蓋此乃上天垂象,以示儆也。遇災異而能恐懼修省,即可化災為福矣。遇嘉祥而或侈肆驕矜,必致轉福為災矣。朕於此理見之甚明,信之甚篤,故每逢上天賜福,昭示嘉祥,寤寐之間,倍加乾惕。並飭內外臣工,共深敬謹,若涉冰淵,所頌諭旨,已數十次,朕豈敢欺天而為此不由衷之語耶!數十年來,凡與我朝為難者,莫不上幹天譴,立時殄滅。如內地之三逆,外蕃之察哈爾、噶爾丹、青海、西藏等,偶肆跳樑,即成灰燼。又么麼丑類,如汪景祺,查嗣庭、蔡懷璽、郭允進等,皆自投憲網,若有鬼神使之者。今逆賊曾靜,又複自行首露。設逆賊但閉戶著作,肆其狂悖,不令張熙投書於岳鍾琪,其大逆不道之罪,何人為之稽察,不幾隱沒漏網乎?而天地不容,使之自敗,朕實感幸之。昔明世嘉靖,萬曆之時,稗官野史所以誣謗其君者,不一而足。如《憂疑議錄》、《彈園雜誌》、《西山日記》諸書鹹訕誹朝廷,誣及宮壺,當時並未發覺,以致流傳至今,惑人觀聽。今日之凶頑匪類,一存悖逆之心,必曲折發露,自速其辜,刻不容緩,豈非上天厚恩我朝之明徵歟?又云:“自崇禎甲申,以至今日,與夫德祐以迄洪武,中間兩截世界,百度荒塌,萬物消藏,無當世事功足論,無當代人物堪述。”

夫本朝豈可與元同論哉?元自世祖定統之後,繼世之君,不能振興國家政事,內則決於宮闈,外則委於宰執,綱紀廢弛,其後諸帝,或欲創制立法,而天不假以年,所以終元之世,無大有為之君。

本朝自太祖、太宗、世祖,聖聖相承。聖祖在位六十二年,仁厚恭儉,勤政愛民,乾綱在握,總攬萬幾,而文德武功,超越三代,歷數綿長,亙古未有。朕承嗣鴻基,以敬天法祖為心,用人行政,無一不本於至誠。六年以來,晨夕惕厲之心,實如一日。朕雖涼德,黽勉效法祖宗,不敢少懈,是豈元政之可比哉?且元一代之製作,及忠孝節義之人物,亦史不勝書。《元史》獨非明洪武時之所編輯乎?其稱太祖則云:“深沉有大略,用兵如神。”稱世祖則云:“度量弘廣,知人善任,信用儒術,立經陳紀。”是明之於元帝譽美如此,而云“無當世事功足論”乎?且《元史》專傳之外,其儒學、循良、忠義、孝友諸傳,標列甚眾。而云“無當代人物堪述”乎?

《元史》係明太祖所修,而逆賊云爾,是厚誣明太祖矣。乃稱欲為明復仇乎?夫天眷帝德,以為保定,朕惟兢兢業業,夙夜基命,則自蒙上天嘉佑,曆世永享太平,為內外一家之主,豈一二禽獸之吠鳴,可以惑人心而淆公論哉!人生天地間最重者莫如倫常,君臣為五倫之首,較父子尤重。天下未有不知有親者,即未有不知有君者,況朕之俯視萬民,實如吾之赤子,朕清夜捫心,自信萬無遭謗之理。而逆賊之恣意譭謗,果何自而來乎?

夫造作蜚語捏飾誣詞,加之平等之人,尚有應得之罪,今公然加之於君上,有是理乎?何忍為乎?朕思秉彝之良,人所同具,宇宙億萬臣民,無不懷尊君親上之心,而逆賊獨秉乖戾之氣,自越於天覆地載之外,自絕於綱常倫紀之中,可恨亦可哀矣。逆賊之所詆毀者,皆禽獸不為之事,而忍心加之於朕,朕實不料吾赤子之內,有此等天良盡喪之人。普天率土之臣民,定不為其所惑於萬一,但天壤間,既有此誕幻怪異之事,則天下之人情不可以常理測度,或者百千億萬人之中,尚有一二不識理道之人,聞此流言,而生幾微影響之疑者。是以特將逆書播告於外,並將宮廷之事宣示梗概,使眾知之。若朕稍有不可自問之處,而為此佈告之詞,又何顏以對內外臣工,萬方黎庶,將以此欺天乎?欺人乎?抑自欺乎?朕見逆賊之書,坦然於中,並不忿怒,且可因其悖逆之語,明白曉諭,俾朕數年來寢食不遑,為宗社蒼生憂勤惕厲之心,得白於天下後世,亦朕不幸中之大幸事也。特諭。

奉旨問訊曾靜口供十三條

問曾靜:旨意問你上岳鐘琪書內云「道義所在,民未嘗不從;民心所係,天未嘗有違。自古帝王能成大功建大業,以叅天地,而法萬世者,豈有私心成見介於其胸」等語。

我朝積德累功,至太祖高皇帝神武蓋世,統一諸國,成開創之功,太宗文皇帝,弘繼統之業,世祖章皇帝,建極綏猷,撫臨中外。此正順天命,從民心,成大功,建大業,叅天地而法萬世之至道也。你生在本朝,不知列祖為天命,民心之所歸,而云「道義所在,民未嘗不從,民心所係,天未嘗有違」,是何所指?

曾靜供:彌天重犯這些話,是泛說自古帝王之興,與帝王之在位皆是順天命,得民心的。天命順,民心從,而興起在位,即是道義之當然。彌天重犯生長楚邊山谷,本鄉本邑,以及附近左右,並沒有個達人名士在朝,而所居去城市又最遠,所以盛朝功績,傳聞不到。直至舊年到省城,由省城以至於帝畿,見聞漸廣,方知東海龍興,列祖列聖承承繼繼,不惟非漢、唐、宋、明所及,直邁三代成周之盛。蓋天地精英日流日開,上世渾噩,人文未起,積到成周,而太和翔洽,文明大著。然天之篤生聖人以開治者,在周亦惟算文武二聖為極,至豈若本朝疊疊相因,日遠日大,愈久愈光。自太祖高皇帝神武蓋世,開創王基;太宗文皇帝繼體弘業,統一諸國;世祖章皇帝建極綏猷,撫臨中外;聖祖仁皇帝深仁厚澤,遍及薄海;迨至我皇上,天聰明,恢弘前烈,已極禮明樂,備海晏河清。此正是天命民心所歸,乃道義之當然,叅天地,法萬世,為天運文明之隆會。從前彌天重犯實實陷於不知,不是立意要如何,以自外於聖世。

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云「天生人物,理一分殊,中土得正,而陰陽合德者為人,四塞傾險而邪僻者,為夷狄。夷狄之下為禽獸」等語。禽獸之名,蓋以居處荒遠,語言文字,不與中土相通,故謂之夷狄,非生於中國者為人,生於外地者不可為人也。

人與禽獸同在天地之中,同稟陰陽之氣,得其靈秀者為人,得其偏異者為禽獸,故人心知仁義,而禽獸無倫理。豈以地之中外,分人禽之別乎?若如你所說,則中國陰陽和合之地,只應生人之一類,不應複有禽獸並育其間矣。何以遍中國之地,人與禽獸雜然共居,而禽獸之族,比人類為尤多。且即人類之中,還生出你這等叛逆狂悖、淪喪天良、絕滅人理、禽獸不如之物來呢,你有何說處?

曾靜供:天生人物,理一分殊,其有分別,實以理之偏,全不在所居之內外。彌天重犯讀書淺少,義理看不透徹,妄意以地之遠近分華夷,初不知以人之善惡分華夷,今日伏讀皇上諭旨,謂如你所說中國只應生人之一類,不應複有禽獸並育其間矣。義更精實,理更顯明,雖頑石無知,亦應靈動了。

況本朝之興,列聖相承,亙古所無,萬國咸寧,歷代罕睹,且開闢幅𢄙之廣,聲教四訖。自有生民以來,到今日而極盛。又聖祖皇帝承天眷顧之篤厚,享年之久,三代以來所無。況更有幾多善政善教,緯地經天,開萬世之弘基,立百王之大法,所謂考諸三王而不謬,建諸天地而不悖,質諸鬼神而無疑,百世以俟聖人而不惑者,正於今日見之矣。所以聖祖皇帝賓天詔到,雖深山窮谷,亦莫不奔走悲號,如喪考妣,即以彌天重犯𡨋頑無知,至此亦曾廢食輟飲,慟哭號涕,被素深山,居喪盡制。然在當時皆起於心之不及覺,發於情之不容己,非有所為而為也,若非聖德隆厚,皇恩浩大,何以使民至此,今日聖祖皇帝在天之靈,猶或洞鑒。只為向見《春秋》有華夷之辨,錯會經旨,所以發出誕妄狂悖言語,其實到今日方曉得經文所說。只因楚不尊王,故攘之,而本朝之興,與經文之所指天懸地隔。

彌天重犯因思天地之內無氣不通,無理不到,華夷之辨固不可以地言,即以地言,亦無定限。天地精英之氣日散日遠,而且循環無常,今日二五之精華盡鐘於東土,諸夏消磨,蕩然空虛,是實話實理。況夷狄本是論人,亦善惡五性克全,無所虧欠為人,五性濁雜,不忠不信,為夷狄。孟子既稱大舜、文王為東西夷所生,又詆楊朱、墨翟之無父無君為禽獸,是中國豈無夷狄,要荒豈無聖人,至於有明之世,非魯、衛、齊、晉之舊,而本朝之興,直邁成周之轍,更不待言。彌天重犯識淺見小,未曾經歷,又得這些無知流言,夾雜胸中,所以有此妄言,悔罪無及。彌天重犯記得前而兩次親供,前供就人而論,看得天地精英之氣愈開愈遠,循環無常,不以地限。而後供指出,有明之世非魯衛齊晉之舊,而本朝之興,直邁成周之轍。以今看來,益覺自信無疑,悔罪無及,是彌天重犯雖昔同禽獸,今蒙金丹點化,幸轉人胎矣。

問曾靜:旨意問你書云「聰明睿智,仁能育萬物,義能正萬事,禮能宣萬化,智能察萬類,信能孚萬邦者,天下得而尊之親之。概自先明君喪其德,臣失其守,中原陸沉,夷狄乘虛竊據神器,乾坤反複,地塌天荒,八十餘年,天運衰歇,天震地怒,鬼哭神號」等語。

從來皇天無親,惟德是輔。我太祖、太宗、世祖,聖聖相承,聖祖在位六十二年,深仁厚澤,浹髓淪肌。正所謂聰明睿智,仁育萬物,義正萬事,禮宣萬化,智察萬類,信孚萬邦者也。天與人歸,懋昭大德。凡有血氣,莫不尊親,蓋列祖之至德感孚,奉若天道者,為從古之極盛。是以皇天之保佑,申命恩厚於我朝者,為從古之極隆。若謂乾坤反複,地塌天荒,而我朝八十餘年以來,享承平之福,凡叛逆之徒,稍萌奸回,即滅不旋踵。是豈天震地怒,鬼哭神號,皆無可奈何,而人力竟可勝天乎?此非敢於評誣稍詆我朝,乃敢於誣詆上天矣。曾靜,你有何說處?

曾靜供:彌天重犯所說必聰明睿知而兼具五性之全德,乃是尊貴天位之語。到今日看來,列祖列聖之聰明睿智,仁義禮智信之施於薄海內外者,固己共信為聖神之極致。我皇上御極以來,聖德神功,上承列祖,尤無纖毫不愜於民心。惟彌天重犯為謠言蠱惑,遂戴天不知天之高,履地不知地之厚,出入作息,竟忘帝力於何。有以是釀成大惡,身陷亂賊。直到舊冬,得聞欽差大人宣傳聖德之大,涵育宇宙,又伏讀聖諭諄諄,光被四表,始覺心神開豁,脫然得悟從前之非。然耳雖聞聖德,心雖服聖教,目實為曾親見有道盛世的光景。

昨奉解來京,自湖南而湖北,以抵河南,由河南而到直隸京城,所過都邑省郡,自野及市,歷人歷境,不知凡幾萬千。但見民康物阜,風景和平,生其間者,皆氣象古茂,性習淳厚,治化休明,太和翔洽,油然共慶太平有道之世。若不是皇上聰明睿智,仁育萬物,義正萬事,禮宣萬化,智察萬類,信孚萬邦,休養撫育,勵精不倦,為從古所未有。何以民心愛戴,休徵齊著,天眷隆篤至此,到此愈覺從前錯誤之罪大彌天,無地自容,惟日自痛悔號泣而已。至若謂「中原陸沉」以下等語,總因錯聽謠言,錯解經義,一個病根,一路直錯到底。今日雖萬死萬剮,亦所宜然,更何能稍置一喙?

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云「土田盡為富戶所收,富者日富,貧者日貧」等語。自古貧富不齊,乃物之情也。凡人能勤儉節省,積累成家,則貧者可富;若游惰侈汰,耗散敗業,則富者亦貧。富戶之收並田產,實由貧民之自致窘迫,售其產於富戶也。今你說土田為富戶所收,其果自雍正元年以後,富者始收民之土田乎?抑康熙年間,富者已收民之土田乎?其果本朝以前,若明若宋若漢、唐之代,民間皆貧富均齊乎?抑自古以來,民間即有富者,收民之土田乎?你以富者日富,貧者日貧,俱歸咎於君上,有何理據呢?

曾靜供:此是太平日久,民間輾轉積而成弊。固自然之勢,不關君上事。亦漢唐以來的通弊,不起於本朝。但本朝歷聖相繼,承平之久,亙古少及。而皇上御極以來,德盛民化,風清弊絕,民間無絲毫煩擾,而惟田業一項,富戶安於有餘,貧民常苦不足,輾轉流弊,土田將多為富戶所收。此際似正須裁成輔相,因妄謂斯民所仰望君上者,在酌盈劑虛,衰多益寡。聖人成能,宜不忍任物情之自流。此是彌天重犯鄙之粗見,不通世事之愚論,豈知貧以游惰而致,富因勤儉而得。此等不齊,自天降下民已然,原非人力之所能挽。蓋天之生物不齊,因五氣雜揉,不能一致,人之昏明巧拙,才質不同,乃造化之自然,雖天亦無可如何。人之貧富,視乎作為營辦,作為營辦,又視乎才力之巧拙昏明,此自然之理勢也。況天道福善禍謠,要幽遠莫測,其窮困者,安知不是天厄之,其豐亨者,安知不是天相之乎?皇上以撫育為心,舉一世而涵濡之,豈願其有此。得聖諭點化,更覺分明。

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云:「到處呼號怨恨,切日喪偕亡之願」等語。這呼號怨恨的確是何人?確在何地?確有何被虐之事?確有何願喪之情?須一一據實供來。

曾靜供:這等呼號的,乃是洞庭湖濱偶被水災,不能安業之民。蓋人生疾病痛苦,飢寒勞瘁,忍耐不過,多呼天呼父母,此情之不容自己者。而小民太平日久,素享豐盈,偶爾被水,覺苦不聊生,曾不如他郡他邑之群歌大有。皇上赤子,必帑賑濟,存留者雖沐恩惠,而散流輾轉者或遠不遍及,其逃於外的,間有呼號。彌天重犯不能廣覽遠稽,故有此語。其實寒暑怨咨,何傷天地之大,況沐恩者久,且多未遍者,暫而少不獲安業者,以湖南計之,不過百分之一,以普天下計之,尚不及億萬分之一乎。此個緣故,到今方知。

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云「戴皇祖之仇以為君,且守死盡節於其前」,又有「俯首屈節,盡忠於匪類」等語。曾靜以岳鐘琪之遠祖武穆王,稱為皇祖者,是奉岳鐘琪為主而已,為其臣子也。且曾靜狂言,以《春秋》大義自居。其逆書有云「人臣之擇主,如女之子從夫,為臣者事非其主,而失身如女子已嫁於人而再醮者矣。而曾靜又臣事於岳鐘琪,是以失身再醮」等語。岳鐘琪假若依曾靜之說而叛本朝,是岳鐘琪為不能守死盡節而再醮之人矣。曾靜以岳鐘琪之臣事本朝為屈節盡忠於匪類,則曾靜之願奉岳鐘琪為君,豈不為匪類中之匪類乎?且逆書內以岳鐘琪為岳飛之後,稱功頌德,乃欽差訊問時,又盛言本朝之恩澤勛業。未知曾靜之心,仍欲臣事岳鐘琪乎?抑願臣事本朝乎?如願臣事本朝,則曾靜不亦屈節於匪類乎?設岳鐘琪為曾靜鼓惑,未知曾靜此時以岳鐘琪為是乎?抑為匪類也。可一一訊問,令其逐條供明。

曾靜供:彌天重犯本心毫無所為,只為誤聽謠言,錯解經義,故一切大義大分,都至混淆。加以聞見狹隘,不知本朝世德之隆,得統之正,深仁厚澤之久而且洽。所以上書岳鐘琪。種種悖謬,直是痛悔無及。蓋人臣之擇主,固如女子之從夫,今岳鐘琪以文武全材,篤生聖神之世,而事聖神之君,正如皋夔之事堯舜,伊周之事湯武,不但如正女之從賢夫而己者。固萬無可叛之義,亦決無或叛之心。而彌天重犯以誤聽流言,遂至冒昧上書,不惟自昧君臣之大義,而並勸人以不忠。是微如蜂蟻,尚知有君臣,毒如蛇虎,尚不忘恩報,而靦然人面,直匪類之不若也。迨至去冬奉欽差大人審問,傳宣聖德,已知從古盛世帝王莫與倫比;而且詳告本朝來龍興功德,事事仁至義盡,得統之正,全是天與人歸。蓋本朝來撫萬國之初,明愍帝已身殉國難,而李賊猖狂,中原塗炭,毒逾水火,世祖章皇帝不煩一兵,不折一矢,而天下感戴,率從如赤子之依父母,較之湯武,昔嘗為夏殷諸侯,而臨時不免兵戈者,更名正言順,神武而不殺。彌天重犯得聞此義,始如墜深淵,而痛哭追悔,萬死莫及。嗣後蒙大人仰遵皇上高厚深恩,一路撫惜到京。而彌天重犯自長沙以抵京師,沿途目之所見,盡是聖世隆景,耳之所聞,莫非聖德仁聲。且當身親被,又有幾多破格恩典,而一到京師出之囹圄,居以廣廈,給食賜衣。

彌天重犯生長山陬,不知聖天子憂切民瘼,曲諒民難,哀矜民隱,竟及於極惡重囚,萬死莫赦之徒,直至如此。彌天重犯雖同草木無知,頑石無靈,亦當翻然感化。故在當時岳鐘琪幸而怒斥,得免亂賊之名,萬一誤見聽從,不惟彌天重犯為萬世亂賊之罪魁,而岳鐘琪亦不免為萬世亂賊之巨惡了。岳鐘琪之守正,固益顯其為聖世之良臣,而彌天重犯到此尚有何別義可以借口?只痛恨謠言之害人,遂至陷身於大惡而莫解,然猶幸到今,尚得接天語下詰,省悟以翻身,縱不敢望苟免幸生,得為聖世之民。然得聞大義而知前此之非,是即為聖世之鬼,亦所甘心矣。至若奉岳鐘琪為君,而己為其臣子,在彌天重犯初無此心,其稱彼遠祖為皇祖者,乃是見得禮經,自諸侯以下,概有皇考皇伯父之號,故欲用三代以上稱呼而妄耳。蓋當時止做旁人獻義,未即輸身歸順,總之大義既錯,罪在惡極,一路皆錯,尚有何是處可言。惟千萬叩首感激隆恩盛德,自傷欲為聖世之民,而不可得。至於臣事本朝,乃天經地義之當然,又曷嘗自即於匪類乎。

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云「明亡之恨」等語。前明之亡國,亡於流寇李自成之手,與我朝毫無干涉。自有明之季,政教不修,綱紀廢弛,內則盜賊紛起,李自成等擾亂殘虐,淪陷京師,外則邊警時聞,各處蒙古外藩,皆為勁敵。是蹂躪中國,消耗明之元氣,非獨本朝也。況我太祖創業以來,並無取明之天下之心。太宗皇帝曾勒兵入關徇地,直到山東臨清,周視京城,縱獵南苑,數日乃歸。明朝並不能一矢加遺。彼時若欲取明之天下,豈不易如反掌?蓋我祖宗列聖惟冀息兵安民,解仇釋忿。屢欲與明朝和好,而明之君臣總置之不問。迨李自成已陷北京,明愍帝殉國而死,明祚已絕,明位已移,始請兵我朝,來除寇亂。太宗皇帝命將興師,兵至山海關,一戰而勝。李自成二十萬之眾,望風逃竄,席卷長驅,是以我世祖皇帝君臨萬邦,廓清群寇,救億萬臣民於水火之中,為明朝報仇雪恥,是我朝深有德於前明,顯然著明可白萬世者也。我朝得國較之湯武征誅,更為名正言順,何明亡之有恨乎?以李自成之橫行中原,所過殘破,明朝糜餉百萬,曾不能少抗其鋒。賊兵一至城下,長驅直入,李自成唾手得明之天下。是明之兵力,萬萬不如流寇甚明。當李自成既陷京師之後,其志方張,精銳之鋒未嘗少挫,更增明之叛臣降卒以助其勢。而我朝兵威甫及,如摧枯拉朽,只經山海關一戰,流賊即亡魂奪魄,奔逃潰敗。由是而論,我朝之兵力聲勢,與明何啻相懸雲壤乎?設若取明之天下,已早取矣,何待流賊之摧殘乎?惟以仁義為心,不肯代有其國。本朝之光明正大若此,今你懷叛逆之心,若在明朝,即是流寇李自成。而乃以明亡致恨為詞,曾不反心自問乎?你還有何說?

曾靜供:這個源頭,彌天重犯從前全然不知,蓋因失父太早,獨居山僻窮陋者,已數十餘年左右。附近不惟無史冊可以借觀稽考,而鄉黨鄰里,並無知事老成傳聞,但知本朝代明而有天下,初不知有明之天下,早已失之於流寇之手。直至舊冬,聞大人之說後,又得仰讀聖諭,乃知本朝全是以仁義而興,直駕千古莫媲,其弘功偉績之在當世。不惟明之君臣感其恩,戴其力,即在當時之草木,亦莫不被德而蒙惠。蓋有明之季,上下怠慢,政教全然蕩廢不舉,綱紀頹然倒墜不整,內則任宦官把持國政,外則聽諸藩剝削民力,荒淫縱恣,無禮無學,遂致民不聊生,奔入賊黨,四起為敵。在外官兵望風而靡,所以賊得長驅,直抵京師。當此之時,生民流離困苦,殘殺慘掠,直不啻如水火之告急。

太宗皇帝龍興東海,政舉教修,仁聲仁聞,施及薄海內外,並未萌一點取天下之心。曾勒兵入關,縱獵南苑,以期為明解仇釋怨,息兵而安民。而明之君臣,竟置之不問,由是振旅東歸,當時若有一毫利天下之心,取明直如反掌之易耳。又何待賊陷京城,愍帝身殉國難,明祚已絕,明位已移,請求除寇安亂,而後興師命將乎?即此一舉,較之武王觀兵孟津,以冀紂惡之改悔,心事更光明正大,表裏無憾。況入關一戰而勝,李自成二十萬之眾流寇,亡魂奪魄,潰散奔逃,掃蕩廓清,當時天下之眾如出深淵,如睹父母。世祖皇帝由是發政施仁,撫臨天下,救億萬生靈之苦於水火之中,而天下之感戴者,不惟在明之君臣雪恥複仇,銜結莫報。而為億萬生靈救死扶生,其大德直與天地同流。由是看來,湯武雖以仁興,而君臣一倫猶不能脫然無憾。所以當時成湯不免有慚德,武庚不免以殷叛。豈若本朝之有天下得於流賊之手,名正言順,明臣、漢人皆感激深切,樂為效力致死者乎!彌天重犯從前陷於不知,任臆狂悖,妄引《春秋》以自誤,所以有「明亡之恨」等語。到今知之,痛悔流涕,幾不欲生,而且蒙恩高厚,更覺無地自容了,複有何說。

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云「《春秋》大義,未經先儒講討,有明三百年,無一人深悉其故。幸得東海夫子秉持撐柱」等語。孔子成《春秋》,原為君臣父子之大倫,扶植綱常,辨定名分。故曰:「孔子成《春秋》而亂臣賊子懼。」

今曾靜以亂臣賊子之心,託《春秋》以為說,與孔子經文判然相背,無怪乎明三百年無一人能解。不但元、明之人,即漢、唐、宋以來之儒,亦無人能解也。惟逆賊呂留良凶悖成性,悍然無忌,與曾靜同一亂賊之性,同一亂賊之見,所以其解略同耳。曾靜之惡逆大罪,肆詆朕躬,已為自古亂臣賊子所罕見。而呂留良張狂吠,獲罪於聖祖,其罪萬死莫贖,宜曾靜之服膺傾倒,以為千古卓識。可問曾靜,呂留良所說《春秋》大義,如何昭然大白於天下?呂留良是域中第一義人,還是域中第一叛逆之人?著他據實供來。

曾靜供:彌天重犯僻處山谷,離城甚遠,左右鄰里,無讀書士子,良師益友就正,因應試州城,得見呂留良所本朝程墨,及大小題,房書諸評。見其論題理,根本傳注,文法規矩先進大家,遂據僻性服膺,妄以為此人是本朝第一等人物,舉凡一切言議,皆當以他為宗。其實當時並未曾曉得他的為人行事何如。而中國有論管仲九合一匡處,他人皆以為仁,只在不用兵車,而呂評大意,獨謂仁在尊攘。彌天重犯遂類推一部《春秋》也只是尊周攘夷,卻不知《論語》所云「攘」者止指楚國而言,謂僭王左袵,不知大倫,不習文教,而春秋所擯,亦指吳楚僭王,非以其地遠而擯之也。若以地而論,則陳良不得為豪傑,周子不得承道統,律以《春秋》之義,亦將擯之乎。況舜為東夷之人,文王為西夷之人,其說載於《孟子》,更大昭著者也。由是看來,在當時呂留良固為背謬之極,而彌天重犯信而宗之,尤為失之千里矣。但呂留良議論彌天重犯所見者止此。其餘文字著作,並不曾見過。惟到雍正五年,有學徒張熙,到浙江購書,到呂家傳得呂留良題《如此江山圖》及《錢墓松歌》詩。彼時聞之,不覺驚異,不敢信以為然,隨複得謠言,疊疊惑亂,遂疑他的話是實,且妄悔當身大義之不能早聞。今奉旨將呂留良家藏舊作日記纂一本、詩集一本、日記草本四束、抄本文集四本、散詩稿一束賜看。其中不惟錯看《春秋》,罪與彌天重犯同。且竟有譏詆聖祖皇帝處。

聖祖皇帝在位六十餘年,深仁厚澤,遍及薄海,即彌天重犯生長山僻,猶知感佩,況呂留良身居浙江大地,列名膠癢,食毛踐土,亦已數十餘年,如何喪心病狂,竟至如此。彌天重犯從前不知,姿以《春秋》之義說,雖出於呂氏,旨實發於孔子,不得不信。今日解出孔子不是如此說,又深知本朝得統之正,全是天與人歸,歷聖相承,無不道隆德備。而呂留良所云,如此到今,實實見得他是凶悖成性,悍然無忌,張狂吠,得罪聖祖,萬死莫贖,誠為盛朝叛逆之罪魁。而彌天重犯山鄙無知,坐昧當身大義,姿信而附和之,萬死亦不足以當其罪。今雖深痛無知而誤信,切恨呂說之害人。俱嗟無及矣,更有何說。但呂留良之說行世日久,如彌天重犯之為其蠱惑者,諒複不少,今幸得因彌天重犯敗露,莫非歷聖德隆,皇天篤佑我朝,故水落石出,一至於此,此豈人力之所能與?彌天重犯今雖陷法網,由此而天下之人共知其叛逆,不為彼說所惑,彌天重犯死所甘心矣。

問曾靜:旨意問你書內云「可榮可辱,可生可死,而此義必不可失墜」等語。今欽差審問之時,曾靜繕寫親供全然改變,求哀乞憐,備極稱頌。在曾靜將以為榮乎,將以為辱乎?又未知曾靜之心,此時願生乎,抑願死乎?其爭持大義者何在?著他據實供來。

曾靜供:彌天重犯向謂榮辱死生大義必不可失,只因錯解《春秋》,錯聽謠言耳。其實彌天重犯原是皇上的赤子,非有歷世功爵在先明難忘,素懷背叛不臣之心。今日發覺被執,只為謠言蠱惑,錯解經義遂至狂悖若此。即在舊年狂悖蒙心之中,此心自問毫無別為,皆是從知識聞見上差錯起。到今日解出經義,毫不相干,知得謠傳是蜚語詆誣。彌天重犯是螻蟻小民,實是心悅誠服,到此惟有痛哭流涕,自恨當身大義,自悔不能為順則之民,其乞哀求憐,正是彌天重犯今日當身之正義,但恐求乞之誠不至不能贖補當前之罪,雖蒙皇恩浩蕩,自計於法無可生耳。至若頌德稱功,亦彌天重犯為臣民之分,所宜然,尚得似前日之陷於不知,而姿自詆誣,惟所慮者,識淺學陋,不能仰測龍德中正之備,而頌與稱有不能至,以是死難瞑目也。蓋君之尊同天,親同父,民之稱天,子之頌父豈得為過,況五倫從天而下,極之昆蟲草木,皆有而君臣一倫,尤為五倫之首。彌天重犯從前錯聽流言,錯解經義,所以陷身禽獸,自咎雖生猶死,今既曉得本朝龍興,不同尋常萬萬,又親被聖德,高厚從古所無,此時雖死猶生,雖辱亦榮了。

問曾靜:旨意問你,書內云「生當今日,遭逢今世,無志於當世之利祿以自污」等語。曾靜果無志當世,則宜早為高尚,何以應試入學,身列青衿,及考居五等,然後憤懣窮居,肆為狂放?尚得云無志利祿乎?又書內「與一二同志,閉門空山,養雞種瓜」等語。觀曾靜書內,見聞甚多,援據甚廣,若閉門空山之中,蜚語訛言,何因入耳?是曾靜同志之人,必非一二數也。著據實供吐,若供出何人傳說,則曾靜是誤聽傳聞,罪尚可恕,不可以身犯大逆之罪,遂拼一死以含糊了事,甘為眾人容隱。皇上恩旨,著你據實供吐,你須將書內所云若者得自何人,若者傳自何處,逐一據實供來。

曾靜供:彌天重犯書內千錯萬錯,無一字著實者,總因錯聽謠言,誤解經義,所以釀成大惡,到今日不可疏解。今聖德光潔,毫無瑕玷,而皇恩浩蕩,不可名言。以彌天重犯如是之大罪大犯,尚如是優容寬待,另置幽閒清曠之地,且敕部給食賜衣,此誠千古未有奇典,堯舜所不到之殊恩。即此一事,彌天重犯粉身碎骨,亦不能仰酬皇恩於萬一。此時此際,若果曉得造言首犯,方欲寢食其皮肉,又豈敢容隱他人奸回,以負皇恩?所以當日在長沙,大人審問再三,不敢說者,實為胸中不曉得個實在源頭上造言的人。而傳言的人,又實實是個忠厚守法,不惟不肯造言,並不肯亂言的人。且自計罪大咎深,自料必不能生,雖蒙大人屢宣皇上智慮神奇,聰明天縱,事事非常,法所得定,亦非常情所得擬。彌天重犯的死生,斷非事前所得決然。在彌天重犯當身自計,萬難自信,可以僥幸於不死,與其臨死而又牽累他人,不如自家一死之安為稍愈。今感皇恩如此高厚,且奉旨意詢問,思量自家一死何足輕重,即死亦要說明白自家的心事。

赤子冒觸父母,雖當父母盛怒之下,亦要向前號泣,說個明白,況今日旨意煌煌,得許彌天重犯直吐其人乎。此在自家分上計合,該要供出人來。因思水流畢竟有源即流,或可以尋源,胸中記出有兩個偶爾傳言的人,一是安仁縣生員姓何名立忠,曾說他聽聞有個茶陵州人姓陳字帝錫,傳說朝中有人上議皇上多條,其大者如此如此。又永興縣十八都有個醫生,姓陳字象侯,也說他在一處人家行醫,聽得人說茶陵州有個堪輿姓陳字帝錫,口傳有個本章,諫議皇上如此不好,那上本的臣子姓岳名鐘琪。彌天重犯聽得二人之話符同,遂漸疑此為實事,其實源頭造言的人,不知就是那陳帝錫,抑陳帝錫上手還遞傳有人否。且陳帝錫彌天重犯從未會面,不知其人形貌何如,即帝錫兩字,也不知是此兩字否,問何立忠便知。聽聞比人會堪輿,前兩年在安仁縣起學官,何立忠是安仁縣的秀才,或者知得他的名字。其實今日仰惟皇上如天如地,何可毀謗。天經雲隔,何傷於天,反因雲隔,而轉見天之高;地經穿鑿,何損於地,反因穿鑿,而轉見地之厚。今皇上之行,如日月經天,雖湖山萬里,莫不共見共聞。彌天重犯幸今亦如盲得視複見天地日月了。

十一

問曾靜:旨意問你在湖南供稱「山崩川竭,是傳聞泰山崩四十里,至於川並未竭,因筆頭不謹,弄文致誣」等語。這泰山崩四十里之說,影響全無,你將傳說筆之於書,已極悖逆了,況川竭之事,並無傳說,而遂連類。並及這「山崩川竭」,是何等之事,竟可以筆頭播弄得麼?乃僅以「不謹」二字,輕忽戲玩之詞掩飾此罪,如何使得呢?但所聞必有所自,你須據實供出。

曾靜供:「山崩」之說,雖有傳聞,彌天重犯今日萬死,記想個人不出。「川竭」之誤,彌天重犯今日實實該死。蓋尋常說話,猶庸言之謹,一涉不實,不惟於道理有礙、於心不能無愧,抑且當面受人訶責不小。此是何等重大的事情,如何可以輕易掠過?且以庶人小民之賤,而上議國家事體,即有實據,猶不免出位冒干之罪,況既複妄,虛中更虛,即此一項。

十二

問曾靜:旨意問你,所著逆書《知新錄》,內云「以大事看來,五星聚,黃河清,某當此時如何死得。天不欲開治則止,天欲開治,某當此機會,畢竟也算裏面一個,求人於吳楚東南之隅,舍某其誰?」等語。從古治亂之數,必上有桀紂之君,下有生世塗炭之禍,方可謂之大亂。曾靜以我朝為夷狄,為匪類,然必為君者實有昏德,紀綱法度,一切廢弛,方為否極之時。以今日海宇承平,萬民樂業,以朝廷政事而論,雖不敢謂為至治之世,然苟有人心之識者,斷無有誣為亂極當治之時也。且自開闢以來,未有如曾靜禽獸不如之人,而以「五星聚,黃河清」為「舍我其誰」。又云「當此機會」,所謂機會者,何所指?據實供來。

曾靜供:彌天重犯許多該死該剮的話,今日反複省悟,也有個病根。蓋緣自幼以來,講解經書,講到《孟子》「滕文公問為國」章說,那井田法制,心中覺得快活,私地暗想,以為今日該行。由是屢去問人,卻無一人說今日行得。心下聽著人說行不得,甚不快活。後看見呂留良此章書文評語,竟以為行得,且說治天下必要井田封建,井田封建複了,然後方可望得治平。遂不覺賞心合意,從此遂深信呂留良的話。且執著這個死法子,放肚裏。因而看輕漢、唐、宋、明之治,大不及三代,妄以為井田不複,貧富不均,其餘言治,皆非至道,乃猥不自量,敢以經濟抱負,超越尋常。自許一聞「五星聚,黃河清」,遂疑此必是文明開始的機會,既遇文明開治的機會,必行井田複三代,欲行井田複三代,在當身自計,竭其駑駘,亦足備一時犬馬之用,因而有舍我其誰之語。即所謂當此機會者,亦是望上之人用我,故曰求人於吳楚東南之隅,非是說彌天重犯當此機會,另生個別見也。只因謠言見聞,遂深疑皇躬主德未純,所以狂悖,而有是舉。及昨自湖南一路以抵京師,所歷過之地數千里,無不家給人足,薄海內外,無不化行俗,美道德,政教修舉,詳明較三代之井田學校,更因時損益,已精益精,正禮明樂備之極,天開文明之盛,當此如是之道隆德至,治著功成。我皇上猶求治之念孜孜不遑,不肯一時一刻少懈。伏讀諭旨,尚曰:不敢謂為至治之世。德隆心下,聖不自聖,一至於此,此所以無人感孚,瑞呈詳見,「五星聚,黃河清」者,正為皇上道德純全,超越千古,本朝治教休明,邁盛三代,大聖人興起在位應也。況井田疆界,自秦以來,已蕩廢二千餘年,封洫溝渠,皆不可考。而今日承平日久,平原曠土,各成舊業,以理勢論之,跡必不可行。且天下人文蔚起,不知有幾千幾萬賢良才智深於治體、精於治法者,用之不盡,而彌天重犯山鄙無知,禽獸不如,乃謂「舍我其誰」,其不自量,一至如此,狂妄之罪,萬死何逃。

十三

問曾靜:旨意問你,所著逆書《知新錄》內云「近世晚村夫子學問足,本領濟,大有為得」。又「生非其時,在今日似恰逢其會」等語。這呂留良自以其先世為前明之儀賓,不忘故國,而在本朝應試諸生,以天蓋樓選刻時文,將本朝制科內名人之墨卷文稿刊板求利,致富不貲,乃包藏禍心,肆行無忌。實一反複無賴、卑污狂悖、叛逆之人,天地覆載所不容。今你乃奉為師法,心悅誠服,以為孔孟複生。你所謂呂留良之學問本領,從何處見得?呂留良之大有為,從何處知道?是你與呂留良必曾會晤,親承指授,而信敬畏服,一至於此。且云「今日恰逢其會」,又是何解?可從實供來。

曾靜供:聖人曰:「不患人之不己知,患不知人也。」又曰:「不知人則是非邪正莫能辨。」彌天重犯今日狂悖,一路錯到底者,總因自家僻處山谷,眼孔小,見聞隘,胸次鄙陋,錯認人故也。如這些話都是自家沒識見討人底裡不著,遂妄意心悅誠服,奉以為師,不惟以為師,且以他為一世的豪傑。其實當時何曾曉得他的行徑大有不好處。不過就語句言話上,見得與自家僻性相投合,遂不覺好之深。好之深,遂不覺信之篤。當時所謂學問本領者,妄意指他的說理明,論文精。謂他大有為者,期他得用,可行井田,複三代,從前謬妄信得他是如此。今日蒙聖恩開導點化,始曉得他的行事為人,到處不是。不特他當身大義背謬而已。從此回想,向日之信聽他者,何啻陳相之悅許行,痛悔何及?至若謂親承指授,實實沒有。他生在浙江,彌天重犯生在湖南,近廣東界,相去有數千里,且彌天重犯是康熙十八年生,呂留良是康熙二十一年死,彌天重犯只有四歲,實未曾與他會晤。至於「恰逢其會」等語,是彌天重犯胸中先有他一段看輕後世之心,又有他一段錯解《春秋》之意,加以元年匪類之說在耳,而又適值永興縣那兩年大雨,數月不斷,遂以為世道有不好處。此全是山僻無知的識見。直到舊歲奉拿到長沙,今歲又由長沙到京城,見得年豐時和化行俗美,太平有道,普天薄海皆然。方知聖人在位,政教修舉,禮樂明備,直盛千古。從前滿肚疑團,始得一洗落實。而呂留良之欺世盜名,大逆不道,蠱惑人心,為覆載難容處,彌天重犯亦了然明白矣。