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Jia-jing: Year 28, Month 7, Day 5

28 Jul 1549

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Initially, the Vice Censor-in-chief of the Right Zhu Wan, regional inspecting censor of Zhe-jiang and Fu-jian, had reported victory in capturing the yi kings of Wu Yu (浯嶼夷王). Subsequently, he memorialized:

"The yi have brought harm to all China and the coastal residents have been successively inveigled by them. For example, there are La-da and Lin Gong on Chang Yu who go backwards and forwards providing supplies. There is also the evil person Yao Guang-rui (Alt: Yao Guang-duan) and 110-plus other unthinking persons on Da-dan Yu. Now, if we are to prevent future calamities we should draw the cord and pull out the roots so that we can be forever rid of the cause of the problems. It is requested that the matter be sent to the legal offices for deliberation, so that the punishments provided by the statutes and the laws can be used to awe the evil-doers."

Wan was subsequently removed from his post. The Censorate proposed:

"The inspecting censor of Fu-jian should be ordered to pass on to the officials superintending the maritime route and the military commission the task of capturing the previously-mentioned evil persons and the local gentry who provide sanctuary for them, so that they can all be subject to the punishment of the law. As to the three kings of the country of Fo-lang-ji who have been captured, their violations should be investigated and they should be clearly subject to the laws of the country. Also, orders should be sent to all places noting that whoever is able to inform of or capture major evil-doers will be greatly rewarded, while those evil-doers who give themselves up and change their ways shall be exempted from punishment. Coastal calamities occur all along the Zhe-jiang and Fu-jian coasts, and the pirates can move from one area to another. The various officials of the two provinces should be ordered to jointly deliberate on arrangements and carry out their actions in concert."

This was approved.... Note: The maritime troubles had their origins with the mainland evil merchants Wang Zhi and Xu Hai, who frequently travelled illegally taking Chinese valuables and trading them with the fan merchants. They had as their patron (主) a Mister Xie, of Yu-yao. For some time, Mr. Xie held down the prices paid, but subsequently these several bandits made great demands on him. Mr. Xie considered that the demands were excessive and he could not recover costs and thus, to scare them, said: "I am going to report you to the authorities". These several bandits were hateful and frightened and so they called together their gang members and thefan merchants and at night attacked Mr. Xie's residence, burning his house, killing several men and women and engaging in great pillage before departing. The county officials hurriedly advised the upper levels, noting: "Japanese bandits have attacked". The Regional Inspector [Zhu] Wan issued an order requiring that the bandits be captured speedily. He also ordered that coastal residents who had heretofore been in contact with fan persons could all admit their crimes and inform on others.

Thus, the people were in a panic and laid accusations against each other, even falsely accusing good citizens. These several bandits were afraid that the government forces would capture them, so they enticed some yi from the islands and some of the major maritime bandits and, together, they engaged in plunder everywhere. They came ashore with the tide and operated under the name of Japanese bandits (倭寇). Actually, very few of them were Japanese. At this time, the seas had long been at peace and people were unfamiliar with how to defend themselves. As soon as they heard that bandits had arrived, they would all scurry away and the houses and cottages would be left empty. When government troops defended against them, the bandits would scatter with the winds. They spread throughout the seas off Fu-jian and between Zhe-jiang and Zhi-li.....

Shi-zong: juan 350.1a-2a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 85, page 6325/27

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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/reign/jia-jing/year-28-month-7-day-5, accessed November 18, 2018