Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 10

The Tokugawa Shoguns and Onmyōdō

Hayashi Makoto


Onmyōdō was widely disseminated in Japan from around the tenth century. Astronomy, calendar making, yin-yang practices, and the allotment of time were under the jurisdiction of the Onmyōryō (Ministry of Yin-Yang), but Onmyōdō soon developed from a yin-yang practice into religious practice. Onmyōdō rituals were created in Japan under the influence of kami worship, Buddhism, and Daoism. The study of Onmyōdō was initially focused on activities performed within the aristocratic society, but increasingly new research is being conducted on the relationship between the military government (bakufu) and Onmyōdō. The interest in political history has encouraged the study of the different ways in which the shoguns of the Kamakura, Muromachi and Edo periods have utilized yin-yang practitioners (onmyōji) and conducted rituals. Source evidence suggests that Tokugawa shoguns were not afraid of astronomical irregularities (with the one exception of the fifth Shogun). During the rule of Tsunayoshi, a new calendar, created by Shibukawa Shunkai, made it possible to predict solar and lunar eclipses more accurately, and consequently people were no longer afraid of these phenomena. At the same time, the Tsuchimikado family was given official sanction to control the onmyōji of all provinces.

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