Japanese era from March 1861 to March 1864

Bunkyū (文久) was a Japanese era name (年号,, nengō,, lit. "year name") after Man'en and before Genji. This period spanned the years from February 1861 through February 1864.[1] The reigning emperor was Kōmei-tennō (孝明天皇).[2]

Events of the Bunkyū era

Coin minted during the Bunkyū era
  • 1861 (Bunkyu 1): Ukai Gyokusen established the first commercial photography studio (Eishin-dō) in Edo.[3]
  • 1861 (Bunkyu 1): Great comet of 1861.[4]
  • January 1862 (Bunkyū 1, 12th month): The Bonin Islands (Ogasawara Islands) were confirmed as part of Japan.[5]
  • 22 April 1863 (Bunkyū 3, 5th day of the 3rd month): Shogun Iemochi traveled in a great procession to the capital. He had been summoned by the emperor, and he had 3,000 retainers as escort.[8]
  • 28 April 1863 (Bunkyū 3, 11th day of the 3rd month): Emperor Komei made an Imperial progress to the Kamo Shrines. He was accompanied by the shogun and many feudal lords.[9]
  • 15-17 August 1863 (Bunkyū 3, 2nd-4th of the 7th month ): British Bombardment of Kagoshima[10] in retaliation for the death of Charles Lennox Richardson.[7]


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Bunkyū" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 91.
  2. Nussbaum, "Kōmei Tennō," p. 553.
  3. Hannavy, John. (2007). Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Photography, p. 770.
  4. Goodsell Observatory, Carleton College. (1938). Popular Astronomy, Vol. 46, p. 142, citing Bunkiu Shinyu Suiseki
  5. Tanaka, Hiroyuki. "The Ogasawara Islands in Tokugawa Japan." Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine Kaiji Shi Kenkyū (Journal of the Maritime History). No. 50, June, 1993, Tokyo: The Japan Society of the History of Maritime.
  6. Jansen, Marius B. (2000). The Making of Modern Japan, p. 296.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Nussbaum, "Namamugi Jiken" at p. 694.
  8. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1956). Kyoto: The Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869, p. 325; this was the first time that a shogun had visited Heian-kyō since the visit of Tokugawa Iemitsu was in the city in Kan'ei 11 (1634)
  9. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 325; this was the first Imperial progress since Emperor Go-Mizunoo visited Nijo Castle more than 230 years before; and no Emperor had visited Kamo since Emperor Go-Daigo honored both shrines in Kemmu 1 (1334).
  10. Nussbaum, "Satuei Sensō" at p. 829.

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Keichō 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1861 1862 1863 1864
Preceded by:
Era or nengō:
Succeeded by: