Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Origins of Gifu


Today I will give a short history how Nobunaga created Gifu.  Before Nobunaga's Era in Gifu, the area was known as Inoguchi.  Once the Saito was overthrown in Mino in 1567, Nobunaga decided to rename the city.  Along with his Zen monk friend Takugen Shuon there were three names to decide from.


  • Gizan
  • Giyou
  • Gifu
Gizan (in Japanese)/Qishan (in Chinese) was the area where Chou ruler Wu Wang began his military to unify China in the twelfth century B.C.  Nobunaga took the character "Gi" because of this.  His ideology was almost the same, to unify Japan.


  • Kyokufu (in Japanese)/Qufu (in Chinese) was the birthplace of Confucius.  Nobunaga took the character "fu" to create the word Gifu.  Gifu's origins were from China.  Nobunaga and Takugen decided to rename Inoguchi to Gifu since they knew this was the perfect opportunity to unify Japan under the slogan Tenka Fubu (Rule the Empire by Military Force!).
See Neil McMullin, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan, p. 330. for more information on Takugen Shuon.

Tenka no tame!

4 comments:

Eleonora Nappi said...

Interesting information! Thank you for the explanation!

otsuke said...

You are welcome!

D_A Renoir said...

On the surface it sure seems like a stark contrast. A name related to conquest, and then a name related to philosophy and morals.

Was it ever mentioned why they chose something related to Confucius? Was there perhaps something about Confucius's teaching that relates to the Tenka Fubu idea?

otsuke said...

Probably used for historical purposes.