Astronomical Instruments in Japan

  • Nakamura Tsuko
Reference work entry

Beginning around the sixth century, Japan was under the strong cultural influence of China (via Korea), and astronomy was no exception. Although by the beginning of the eighth century an institutional form of the Chinese Astronomical Office had been introduced into the Japanese court government along with primitive gnomons and water clocks, astronomy as a science did not become part of Japanese society, and only the astrological aspects of Chinese astronomy survived. This situation continued for many centuries throughout medieval times, partially due to the domestic turmoil caused by frequent civil wars. It was not until after the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu finally ruled over Japan in 1615 that the Japanese people could afford to nurture their own culture. In the mid‐sixteenth century, European astronomy was first brought by the Christian missionaries from Portugal and Spain, though their influence did not last long. The reason was that the shogunal government ousted them because it...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Nakamura Tsuko

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