Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Shibukawa, Harumi

Reference work entry

BornKyoto, Japan, 1639

DiedEdo (Tokyo), Japan, 1715

Harumi Shibukawa inaugurated his country’s first calendar reforms in many centuries and belonged to the first generation of Japanese scholars who assimilated knowledge of western astronomical ideas and practices. Shibukawa was born into the Yasui family; his father was a professional go (board game) player. As a child, he was called Rokuzo. After his father’s death in 1652, Shibukawa took up go as a profession and adopted his father’s first name, Santetsu. From early childhood, he had the reputation of being a prodigy and showed a remarkable understanding of astronomy and calendar study. Shibukawa received his education from many of the leading scholars of the day. These included Ansai Yamazaki, with whom he studied Confucianism and the Shinto doctrine, and both Jyunsho Matsuda and Gentei Okanoi, from whom he received training in calendrical methods.

Shibukawa spent most of his life in Edo (present Tokyo) but passed time in Kyoto when...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



Assistance in Japanese translation by Saori Ihara.

Selected References

  1. Miyajima, Kazuhiko (1994). “Japanese Celestial Cartography before the Meiji Period.” In The History of Cartography. Vol. 2, bk. 2, Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies, edited by J. B. Harley and David Woodward, pp. 579–604. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Nakayama, Shigeru (1969). A History of Japanese Astronomy: Chinese Background and Western Impact. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. — (1975). “Shibukawa, Harumi.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 12, pp. 403–404. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  4. Sugimoto, Masayoshi and David L. Swain (1978). Science and Culture in Traditional Japan. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Watanabe, Toshio (1986–1987). Kinsei Nihon Tenmongakushi (A Modern History of Astronomy in Japan). 2 Vols. Tokyo: Koseisha Koseikaku.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kanda University of International StudiesChibaJapan