Kokugakuin Archives[Chapter3]Artticles association with the Prince Arisugawa Lineage

Thanks to the kindness of Princess Takamatsu no Miya Nobuhito Shinnōhi Kikuko (1911-2004), Kokugakuin University received a gift of articles belonging to the Arisugawa no Miya House, Prince Nobuhito Shinnō and Princess Kikuko. Many of these articles had been passed down for generations. These articles are now part of the Kokugakuin collection.  This  good fortune can be attributed to the connection between the Imperial Institute for the Study of the Classics at the time of its founding and Prince Arisugawa no Miya Takahito Shinnō, the first director of that institute.   The articles passed down in the Arisugawa no Miya House are of exquisite design and have high artistic merit.  They are a very valuable resource that reveal the culture of the Imperial Court.   

-Prince Arisugawa family and Prince Takamatsu family-

The Arisugawa no Miya line was one of the Four Princely lines, along with the Fushimi no Miya line, the Katsura no Miya line, and the Kan’in no Miya line of the imperial family.    The Arisugawa no Miya line traces its origin to the son of Emperor Goyōzei  (r. 1586-1611).  The Arisugawa no Miya name itself was first used by the third patriarch of this lineage, Arisugawa no Miya Yukihito Shinnō.  Since that time, this line has carried on the tradition of studying the Way of Poetry and the calligraphic arts for generations. After the Meiji Restoration,  the eighth patriarch of the House,  Arisugawa no Miya Takahito Shinnō and the ninth patriach Taruhito Shinnō were appointed to government positions by the Emperor Meiji.  The tenth patriarch, Arisugawa no Miya Takehito Shinnō left no heir, and so the Arisugawa no Miya line ended with him,  but the Emperor Taishō appointed his own third son, Takamatsu no Miya Nobuhito Shinnō, to carry on the Shinto rites and sacrificial functions of the Arisugawa no Miya lineage. 

-Prince  Arisugawa Takahito and Kotenkokyusyo(the Imperial Institute for the Study of the Classics)-

Arisugawa no Miya Takahito Shinnō was known by the name Yaho no Miya in his youth.  In 1823, he was given the adult name Takahito Shinnō.  He excelled at calligraphy and poetry, and was appointed as the tutor for the young Emperor Meiji. Upon the Promulgation of the Restoration of Imperial Rule, he wrote the Five Oaths contained in that document.  In 1882 (Meiji 15), upon the Emperor’s instructions, he established and then headed the Imperial Institute for the Study of the Classics.  The Official Address that he gave upon the occasion of the Institution’s opening 130 years ago (quoted above) continues to be recognized as the founding spirit of Kokugakuin University. 

-Prince Arisugawa family and Calligraphy-

The Arisugawa no Miya line practiced the Way of Poetry and calligraphy as the proprietary arts of their line.  The Arisugawa no Miya line based their study of calligraphy on the foundation established by their fifth patriarch, Yorihito Shinnō, who learned calligraphy from his father the Emperor Reigen (1654-1732).  This calligraphic tradition begun by Yorihito Shinnō was successfully transmitted by the sixth patriarch Orihito Shinnō and the seventh patriarch Tsunahito Shinnō, to Takahito Shinnō.  Takahito Shinnō, who served as calligraphy instructor to the Emperor Meiji, penned the Five Oaths that established the policies of the Meiji Government in 1868, under direct orders from the Emperor himself.  Taruhito Shinnō learned calligraphy directly from his own father, but he developed an original style that differed from that of the Arisugawa School.