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Purple Robes Incident

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  • Date: 1627-1629
  • Japanese: 紫衣事件 (shie jiken)

The Purple Robes Incident was an incident in which the Tokugawa shogunate asserted its own prerogative, negating imperial orders that granted monks from Daitoku-ji and Myôshin-ji permission to wear purple robes. It is considered a key moment in the development of Tokugawa assertion of authority over both the imperial court and over religious matters.

The shogunate issued permission for the monks to wear these purple robes in 1613; however, this was traditionally the prerogative of the imperial court. The newly-established shogunate was attempting to exert control over religious institutions as a whole, and in 1627 revoked the permission granted to some 10-20 monks by Emperor Go-Mizunoo to wear purple robes, declaring instead that they were forbidden from doing so.

Daitoku-ji monk Takuan Sôhô criticized this act by the shogunate and was punished with exile to Dewa province; another monk, Gyokushitsu Sôhaku, was similarly exiled temporarily to Tanakura in Mutsu province. Go-Mizunoo abdicated the throne shortly afterward, in 1629, perhaps in part because of shogunate pressure.

References

  • "Shie jiken," Britannica kokusai daihyakka jiten ブリタニカ国際大百科事典.
  • "Shie jiken," Asahi Shinbun kisai keywords 朝日新聞掲載「キーワード」
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