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Zhu Shunshui
Updated:2018-01-02 15:07:00

Zhu Shunshui, or Zhu Zhiyu (1600 - 1682), born in Yuyao (a city in Zhejiang, China), whose courtesy name was Chuyu or Luyu, was one of the greatest scholars and educationalists in the late Ming and the early Qing dynasties. He took part in the imperial test in the Ming Dynasty and was enlisted as tribute student. He declined two invitations to be government official from the Ming Dynasty and the South Ming Dynasty, hence the nickname "Zheng Jun"( a man wanted by the imperial governments).
As a scholar, Zhu advocates learning for practice. He said, the essence of learning lies in practice and the theory of the sages are for application. His theories exerted influence in Japan. He is ranked with Zhu Zhiyu, Huang Zongxi, Wang Fuzhi, Gu Yanwu and Yan Yuan as the five great Chinese scholars in the late Ming and the early Qing dynasties. He is also placed among the four sages of Yuyao together with Wang Yangming, Huang Lizhou and Yan Ziling .
The Manchu army marched southward after they broke the Sanhaiguan Pass in 1644. In the fighting against Manchu invaders and for the revival of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu, as a young hermit, took active role regardless of his personal safety and assisted Wang Yi, the leader of an Anti-Manchu army with their base in Zhoushan Peninsular off the east coast of Zhejiang Province. Wang Yi died on Aug.14, 1651 by the lunar calender. To commemorate Wang Yi, Zhu held a ceremony of condolence for him the next day, and abolished for life the custom of appreciating the full moon on the 15th day of the eighth month by lunar calendar. After that, Zhu also participated in the northbound crusade led by Zheng Chenggong and Zhang Huangyan, fighting enemies bravely. In 1657, Zhu planned to return home and support the Anti-Manchu activity led by Zheng Chenggong when he was then in Vietnam. Coincidentally, the Vietnamese king was then recruiting literates to do the civil service, and someone recommended Zhu Shunshui. Zhu failed returning home and was brought into the palace of Vietnam. Confronted with a foreign king, Zhu would rather die than bow down, which irritated the Vietnamese king and the king threatened to kill him. Then Zhu said, "I'll be regretless if I die for abiding by the etiquette of the Ming Dynasty today. After my death, please write down "Tomb of Zhu - Envoy of the Ming Dynasty" on my tomb. The dauntless act of Zhu won the respect of the Vietnamese king, and finally the king sent him back home. In 1659, after the Manchu army conquered Zhoushan, Zhu saw the gloom over revival of the Ming Dynasty, and fled to Japan.
In Japan, Zhu often burst in tears when he was homesick and became indignant at the thought of Manchu's invasion. He named himself "Shun Shui", which was the name of a river in his hometown, implying that he would never forget his hometown. He thence began his teaching life in Japan for twenty years. Zhu, though in exile, was respected by the Japanese cultural circle. Known as "the Confucius of Japan", He lectured in Japan for more than twenty years and many of his students became the elites in Japan.
Zhu Shunshui not only spread Confucianism and thoughts on morality in Japan, but also introduced Chinese skills on apparel, architecture, food and others to Japan. Nowadays people in many different areas, while doing academic research, can still take for reference from Zhus books. Zhu adhered to the traditional Chinese culture and required his descendants maintain their identities as descendants of the Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang, the two forefathers of the Chinese nationality. Zhu died on April 17, 1682 at the time of Edo Japan. Tokugawa Mitsukuni, prime minister of the day, gave Zhu an elaborate funeral and buried him in Tokugawa feudal family cemetery.   Though Zhu was only an expatriate, his cemetery was located in the central position of the cemetery and his tombstone was inscribed characters in official script, an ancient style, "Tomb of Mr. Zhu - envoy of the Ming Dynasty"  autographed by Tokugawa Mitsukuni. Zhu was granted a posthumous name-" Wengong", a word extracted and recomposed from a verse in ancient Chinese, indicating Zhu was a learned and determined man.


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