VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Hankacho
NMHC_14_1_1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

All the items recorded in Hankacho present contemporary human relations and their vivid lives of immense interest. The record of judgment for such a long term as 200 years is extremely rare in Japan as well. In 2006, the whole volume was designated to the National Important Cultural Property together with the other important documents which were executed by the Nagasaki magistrate’s office. As the most eloquent witness of the overseas exchange as well as the lives in the trade city, Hankacho is certainly qualified as a masterpiece. Kenji KUBO and Ryuji HIRAOKA, curator, Nagasaki.

History of the Object
Hankacho is a record of judgment in Nagasaki magistrate’s office in the Edo period. It was also used as case law which guaranteed the legal grounds. 145 volumes exist in total, from which we know the contents and rulings of the affairs of Nagasaki from 1661 to 1876. Each item of the record consists as follows: the criminal's name is in the heading, followed by his address, rank and relationship, imprisonment date and punishment; then continues the text which summarizes the affair, concluded by the accusation and punishment. As the early modern Nagasaki was the only one international trade port in Japan, there were a lot of affairs unique to the city such as inquiries of smuggling, drifters, Christians, and troubles with foreigners. We can also see the commonplace ones like making fake money, problems of love affairs, robberies and murder cases.

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Type
Book 
Materials
Paper 
Measurements
c.25m x c.35cm (variable) x 145 volumes 
Creator name
The Japanese government of Nagasaki 
Creator date
Edo period (1603-1867) 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
17th Century - 19th Century; 1661-1867 
Function
Book; record of judgment in Nagasaki magistrate’s office in the Edo period. 
Acquisition
In the Meiji period, when the Japanese government of Nagasaki was closed, these records were succeeded by Nagasaki prefecture. It was realized later through the efforts of the local intellectuals who acknowledged the cultural and historical value of these records that the whole volume was transferred, without being scattered, to the possession of Nagasaki Prefectural Nagasaki Library in 1919. Since 2005, they have been preserved in Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan 
Museum
Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture 
Credit line
Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, Nagasaki, Japan 
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