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Hong-zhi: Year 3, Month 2, Day 17 (7 Mar 1490)
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The Ying-guo Duke Zhang Mao, Grand Mentor and concurrently Grand Preceptor of the Heir Apparent, spoke of prohibitions and other appropriate arrangements in respect of yi affairs, saying: "In the capital, two Interpreters Institutes have been established. Each has side-rooms to the East, West, front and back, giving a total of nine rooms. These are used solely for accommodation of the yi envoys from various areas, the official messengers sent by the princely establishments and the various officials from the Court and from outside. Only the Northern institute has a banquet room, and its rear hall is used as a reception area. However, the Southern institute has neither of these. Each time a banquet is conferred upon someone, it can only be arranged in the two side rooms, to the East and West, and the guests are entertained in separate rooms. These rooms are very cramped and not suitable. It is requested that the Ministry of Works be ordered to use the wood from the recently dismantled Yong-chang Temple and other temples to build a banquet hall at the Southern institute. It is also requested that the damaged walls and rooms of the two institutes be repaired so that when banquets are held, those being banqueted can be instructed to sit in their proper order, while those not being banqueted can be kept away. Thus confusion will be avoided. Also, many of the yi from the various areas are practiced in cunning and guile. They often enter into communication with the institute attendants and with merchants and, without waiting for the Ministry of Rites to start the trading, they privately sell proscribed goods beforehand. Recently, the yi persons from Ha-mi and other countries brought jade and other goods with them and then sold them on credit to evil persons. They waited for a long time, but were not paid. The yi persons have extended their stay for years and go out drinking wine and acting illegally. The interpreters have repeatedly urged them to go on their way, but they are ignored or injured by the envoys. Although prohibitions have been publicly notified, these persons remain reckless and know no fear. It is requested that the Ministry of Rites firmly make known the prohibitory regulations and that the policing officers be ordered to seek them out and arrest them. If fault lies with the interpreters or institute attendants, they should be subject to heavy punishment. If the yi persons are at fault, then the goods involved in the violation of the prohibitions should be confiscated so that they are warned and disciplined. Also, during the Yong-le reign (1403-24) the Translators Institute was established. Within, it was divided into eight departments (八館), each of which had persons very well-versed in fan scripts and languages. The instructors selected young men from the various countries and young students from the National University, who were then sent to the institute to study. They were then all appointed to official posts and thus there was a familiarity with the yi situations in various countries. Later, the sons of officials and civilians from the capital were selected and, after achieving success in their studies, they were appointed to posts to handle matters. Recently all the departments have lacked officials. There are no instructors to provide training, there are no young men engaging in study, and the superintending officials say that memorials cannot be dealt with. It is requested that the Ministry of Rites be ordered to investigate the regulations and make appropriate arrangements." The Ministry of Rites re-submitted the memorial and all proposals were approved.
Xiao-zong: juan 35.4a-5a Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 52, page 0759/61
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Preferred form of citation for this entry:

Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/770, accessed July 24, 2014.

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