“Tinbe” in Satsuma monograph on Chinese language studies, 1812.

19shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833) was a feudal lord (daimyō) of the latter Edo period. He was the 25th head of the Shimazu family, and the 8th feudal lord of the Satsuma fief. He was one of the so-called Ranpeki-daimyō, i.e. a feudal lord that devoted himself to Dutch studies.

In 1771 he established the Satsuma clan school with Yamamoto Shūsui as the professor, and as a training place for the martial arts he established the Enbukan 演武館 or House of Martial Arts Training.

Shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833)

Shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833)

Shimadzu Shigehide had a liking for Chinese pronounciations and is said to have even used them in his communication with his court attendants. In 1812, 5 volumes of the „Description of the Colloquial Language of China“ (Nanzan Zokugo-ko Maki) was published under his name. This work began to evolve by asking the Chinese interpreters at Nagasaki to collect colloquial Chinese language and to add the phonological translation in Japanese. Begun in 1767, it was finished in five volumes only after 45 years, in 1812.

In volume four, we find a chapter on armaments (兵部) and in it a list of the names and pronunciations of various military instruments, among them the rattan shield called Tengpai in Chinese. Phonologically transcribed into Japanese it is given here as “Djinbai”.

In Chinese sources on Ryūkyū, this sort of rattan shield had been mentioned over centuries as an armament used in Sino-Ryukyuan maritime relations.

Tinbe in Satsuma monograph on Chinese languae studies, 1812.

Tinbe in Satsuma monograph on Chinese languae studies, 1812.

We find the same rattan shield mentioned for the 1867 martial arts performances presented to the Chinese investiture envoys at the royal tea villa in Sakiyama (Uchaya-udun).

And it was this rattan shield were the name “Tinbē” came from and is still used for the shield in various Okinawan martial arts. It should be noted though, that all Kata performed with the Tinbē are relatively new, 20th century developments.

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