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Uemura Masakatsu (1695-1777)

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Uemura Masakatsu was a botanist & pharmacologist in the service of the Tokugawa shogunate, and an extensive traveler and writer.

Uemura managed the medicinal garden at Wakayama when Tokugawa Yoshimune was daimyô there. In 1716, when Yoshimune became shogun, Uemura accompanied him to Edo, planting a larger pharmacological garden in Edo's Komaba neighborhood in 1720. He left that same year on a journey to explore the plants and medicines of the country, a journey which in the end lasted 34 years.

In 1740, he compiled a nine-volume account of his travels entitled Shoshu saiyaku-ki, which he submitted to Yoshimune. Masakatsu was then, in 1755, ordered by Shogun Tokugawa Ieshige (Yoshimune's son and successor) to write on unusual sights he encountered in his journeys. He thus produced a text entitled Honchô kiseki dan ("Strange Things of This Realm"), focusing in part on interesting regional customs.

References

  • Plutschow, Herbert. A Reader in Edo Period Travel. Kent: Global Oriental, 2006. pp14-15.
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