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Tenshō (Momoyama period)

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Tenshō (天正?) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō,?, lit. "year" name) after Genki and before Bunroku. This period started in July 1573 and ended in December 1592.[1] During this time, the emperors were Ōgimachi-tennō (正親町天皇?)[2] and Go-Yōzei-tennō (後陽成天皇?).[3]

The nengō Tenshō means "Heavenly Virtue".[4]

Events of the Tenshō era

Gold coins minted during Tenshō era

Oda Nobunaga suggested that a new era should begin in 1573.[5] The general meaning of Tenshō was "heavenly righteousness".[6]

  • 20 February 1582 (Tenshō 10, 28th day of the 10th month):A Jesuit missionary and four Japanese Catholic boys went to Rome to see Pope Gregory XIII.[11] This is sometimes called the "Tenshō Embassy".[12] or the "Boys' Mission of the Tenshō Period" (Tenshō Shōnen Shisetsu).[13]
  • 1586 (Tenshō 14, 12th month): A marriage is arranged between the youngest sister of Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.[19]
  • 1586 (Tenshō 14, 12th month): The kampaku, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was nominated to be Daijō-daijin.[19]
  • 1587 (Tenshō 15): Gold or silver coins called Tenshō-tsūhō were minted.[20] The gold coins (Tenshō-ōban) were oval shaped.[21]

In 1589-1590 (in the 23rd year of the reign of King Seonjo of Joseon), a diplomatic mission led by Hwang Yun-gil was sent to Japan.[22] The Joseon ambassador was received by Hideyoshi.[23]

The Tenshō era as shown in a Japnese classic film

In popular culture

The fictional plot of the classic Akira Kurosawa film The Seven Samurai takes place in the 15th year of Tenshō.[24]

Related pages


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Tenshō" in Japan encyclopedia, p. 961.
  2. Nussbaum, "Ōgimachi Tennō," p. 739.
  3. Nussbaum, "Go-Yōzei Tennō," p. 265; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 382-405.
  4. Watsky, Andrew Mark. (2004). Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan, p. 24.
  5. Jansen, Marius B. (2002). The Making of Modern Japan, p. 14.
  6. Hall, John Whitney. (1991). Early Modern Japan, p. 14.
  7. Titsingh, p. 389.
  8. Titsingh, p. 391.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1962). Studies in Shinto and Shrines, p.462.
  10. Titsingh, p. 395.
  11. Nussbaum, "Tenshō Ken'ō Shisetsu" at 961; Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. (1838). "Gregory XIII," Penny cyclopaedia, Vol. 11, p. 446.
  12. McKelway, Matthew P. (2006). Capitalscapes: Folding Screens and Political Imagination in Late Medieval Kyoto, p. 164.
  13. Cooper, Michael. "When Four Boys Went to Meet the Pope, 400 Years Ago," Japan Times. 21 February 1982; retrieved 2011-12-7.
  14. Titsingh, p. 398.
  15. Titsingh, p. 399.
  16. Titsingh, p. 401.
  17. Titsingh, p. 402; Ponsonby-Fane, Richard A. B. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869, pp. 340-341.
  18. Titsingh, p. 402; Varley, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami. Compare Kunaichō, Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei); retrieved 2012-6-29.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Titsingh, p. 402.
  20. Munro, Neil Gordon. (1904). Coins of Japan, p. 80.
  21. Nussbaum, "Tenshō-tsūhō" at p. 961.
  22. Rutt, Richard et al. (2003). Korea: a Historical and Cultural Dictionary, p. 190.
  23. Kang, Diplomacy and Ideology, p. 275.
  24. Kurawawa, Akira. (1970). The Seven Samurai, p. 71; Galloway, Patrick. (1974). Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: the Samurai Film Handbook, p. 57.

Other websites

Tenshō 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th
1573 1574 1575 1576 1577 1578 1579 1580 1581 1582 1583 1584 1585 1586 1587 1588 1589 1590 1591 1592
Preceded by:
Era or nengō:
Succeeded by: