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Tenkaichi (天下一)

A title given to masters of various industrial arts by the authorities, from the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the early Edo period. It was also awarded to Noh mask makers (men-uchi). Toyotomi Hideyoshi granted the title to Suminobō (Wakasanokami) and Zekan. In the Edo period, Kawachi, Yamato, Yūkan, Tōhaku, and Ōmi all claimed to be Tenkaichi. Masks made by these makers were often marked with the branding "Tenkaichi" on the reverse side. Because the title became abused as self-proclaimed Tenkaichi thrived, the Edo government prohibited its use in 1682, making it impossible for mask makers to declare themselves Tenkaichi.

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