May 022012

Waterhouse (1991: 75):

In 654, according to the Nihon shoki, two men and two women of Tukhāra (Japanese, Tokara), together with one woman from Śrāvasti (Japanese, Sha-e), were driven by a storm to Hyūga Province, in southern Kyūshū (Iida 1940: V, 3311; Aston 1896: II, 246). They appear to have stayed several years, and we learn from an entry for 659 that the Indian lady was in fact the wife of one of the Tocharians (Iida 1940: V, 3348; Aston 1896: II, 259). In the autumn of the following year this Tocharian, whose name is given as Katsuhashitatsua, wished to return to his native country, and requested an escort, saying: ‘At a later date I desire to pay respects to the court of your great country, and therefore in token of this I shall leave my wife with you.’ He then took a course through the Western Sea, with several tens of men (Iida 1940: V, 3360; Aston 1896: 266).

[EDIT: It's become clear since I wrote this that there's a good amount of uncertainty about the actual identity of "Tukhāra"/"Tokara" that Waterhouse failed to convey. Follow-up to this post possible.]

Waterhouse, D. (1991). Where did Toragaku come from? In Marett, A. (Ed.). Musica Asiatica (Vol. 6) (pp. 73-94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  One Response to “Tocharians in 7th-century Japan”

  1. It must’ve been like going to Mars for the Tocharians, coming from the deserts of Central Asia into the lush, cherry-treed landscape of Island Japan with its subtle but ornate temples. The world was so large and mysterious back then. Sometimes I wish I lived back then.

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