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Hu Weiyong

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  • Died: 1380
  • Chinese: 惟庸 (Hú Wéiyōng)

Hú Wéiyōng was the first chancellor (宰相, C: zǎi xiàng) of the Ming Empire. He held the position from 1373 until his death in 1380.

Hú was executed by the Hongwu Emperor in 1380 for his involvement in some sort of schemes either against the emperor or at the very least behind his back. According to some accounts, he was allegedly conspiring with Yuan dynasty loyalists and with figures in Japan to overthrow the Ming;[1] according to others he was simply engaging in foreign affairs decisions and actions on his own, clandestinely, without the official knowledge or direction of the emperor. Hú is said to have engineered the exile of Ningbo official Lin Xian to Japan by falsely accusing him of some crime, all as a means of getting Lin into Japan where Lin could then engage in negotiations or discussions with the Seiseifu, the dominant power on Kyushu at that time. As a result of these negotiations, the Seiseifu later sent a Buddhist priest, Nyoyô, along with 400 soldiers and a secret shipment of hidden swords and gunpowder, to China; by the time it arrived and was discovered, however, Hú had already been executed.

In addition to being significant in his own right as Grand Chancellor, Hú's illicit relations with Japan ultimately led to the collapse of the Seiseifu's trustworthiness in the eyes of the Hongwu Emperor, and thus to the severing of any formal relations with the Seiseifu recognized as legitimate. Formal relations between the Ming court and the Ashikaga shogunate would not be established for another twenty years (1401).

References

  • Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 64.
  1. So Kwan-wai. Japanese Piracy in Ming China during the 16th Century. Michigan State University Press, 1975, 3.
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