Ch'ên Yüan-pin

Ch'ên Yüan-pin 陳元贇 (T. 義都 H. 既白山人, 菊秀軒, 升庵, 芝山, 1587-1671, was a native of Hangchow, Chekiang. In the spring of 1621 he accompanied Shan Fêng-hsiang 單鳳翔, an official of Chekiang, on a journey to Japan to lodge a protest against piratical activities along the China coast. During his sojourn in Japan, Ch'ên composed verses with Hayashi Nobukatsu 林信勝 (H. 羅山, 1553-1657) and others. He went back to China but in 1638 returned to Japan. Soon after his arrival in Nagasaki he fell ill, but later he secured a position with the Lord of Owari at a stipend of 60 koku of rice per annurn. He produced one scholarly work on Lao-tzu, entitled 老子通考 Rōshi tsukō. Together with a priest, Gensei 元政 (1623-1668), he composed and published some eighty poems under the title, 元元倡和集 Gen Gen shōwa shu, in 2 chüan. By intrtoducing the poems of Yüan Hung-tao 袁宏道 (T. 中郎 H. 石公, 1568-1610) to Gensei he indirectly made a valuable contribution to the [107] development of Japanese poetry. In 1660 Ch'ên's patron ordered a kiln built, and Ch'ên manufactured a number of pieces of porcelain modelled after imported Annam ware and modified by his own orginal patterns. Later this ware was called Gen-pin-yaki, i.e., "[Ch'ên] Yüan-pin ware."

To Ch'ên is also frequently ascribed the introduction of jũjutsu 柔術. An anonymous work, 拳法秘書 Kempō hisho, published some time before 1683, stated that jũjutsu had originated in Japan following a conversation between Ch'ên and three rōnin regarding the Chinese method of seizing a man. This theory has since been widely accepted. However, careful investigation by competent scholars has disclosed the prior existence of a similar art known as yawara, and Ch'ên probably should not be regarded as the founder of jũjutsu, but rather as one who gave it the stimulus that inspired its later prodigious development. He died in 1671 and his remains were interred at the Kenchũ monastery in Nagoya.

[ Gen Gen shōwa shu; 先哲叢談 2; Tsuji Zennosuke 辻善之肋, 海外交通史話 Kaigai kotsu shiwa pp. 660-80; Shimokawa Ushio 下川潮, 陳元贇と柔道の始祖, 史林, Gen-pin to jũdō no shiso (Shirin) 6/2/35; 附錄雜書僎者小傳 Furoku zassho senja shōden in 續史籍集覽 Zoku Shiseki shũran 6; 尾張名家誌 Owari meika shi 上卷: 好古類纂 Kōko ruisan 3, with portrait; 尾張名所圖會 Owari meisho zuye 2; 尾張敬公 Owari Kei-kō (1910), p. 99.1