In 1072 Jōjin (1011-1081) boarded a Chinese merchant ship docked in Kabeshima (modern Saga) headed for Mingzhou (modern Ningbo) on the eastern coast of Northern Song (960-1279) China. Following the convention of his predecessors, Jōjin kept a daily record of his travels from the time he first boarded the Chinese merchant ship in Kabeshima to the day he sent his diary back to Japan with his disciples in 1073.
Jōjin’s diary in eight fascicles, A Record of a Pilgrimage to Tiantai and Wutai Mountains (San Tendai Godaisan ki), is one of the longest extant travel accounts concerning medieval China. It includes a detailed compendium of anecdotes on material culture, flora and fauna, water travel, and bureaucratic procedures during the Northern Song, as well as the transcription of official documents, inscriptions, Chinese texts, and lists of personal purchases and official procurements. The encyclopedic nature of Jōjin’s diary is highly valued for the insight it provides into the daily life, court policies, and religious institutions of eleventh-century China. This dissertation addresses these aspects of the diary, but does so from the perspective of treating the written text as a material artifact of placemaking.
The introductory chapter first contextualizes Jōjin’s diary within the travel writing genre, and then presents the theoretical framework for approaching Jōjin’s engagement with space and place. Chapter two presents the bustling urban life in Hangzhou in terms of Jōjin’s visual and material consumption of the secular realm as reflected in his highly illustrative descriptions of the night markets and entertainers. Chapter three examines Jōjin’s descriptions of sacred Tendai sites in China, and how he approaches these spaces with a sense of familiarity from the textual milieu that informed his movements across this religious landscape. Chapter four discusses Jōjin’s impressions of Kaifeng and the Grand Interior as a metropolitan space with dynamic functions and meanings. Lastly, chapter five concludes by considering the means by which Jōjin’s performance of place in his diary further contributes to the collective memory of place and his own sense of self across the text.
- Jōjin’s Travels in Northern Song China: Performances of Place in the Travel Diary A Record of a Pilgrimage to Tiantai and Wutai Mountains