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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 2: 400-1400$
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Sarah Foot and Chase F. Robinson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236428

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199236428.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

The Birth and Flowering of Japanese Historiography: From Chronicles to Tales to Historical Interpretation

The Birth and Flowering of Japanese Historiography: From Chronicles to Tales to Historical Interpretation

Chapter:
(p.58) Chapter 3 The Birth and Flowering of Japanese Historiography: From Chronicles to Tales to Historical Interpretation
Source:
The Oxford History of Historical Writing
Author(s):

John R. Bentley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199236428.003.0004

This chapter explains how early Japanese historiography seemed to burst suddenly on the historical stage in the beginning decades of the eighth century. Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) was presented to Empress Genmei in the first month of 712, while Nihon shoki (Chronicle of Japan), Japan's first official historical chronicle, was presented to Empress Gensho in the fifth month of 720. The capital had been moved to a new site, in Nara, in the third month of 710, so the compilation of new histories is perhaps a natural outcome of this move to imitate China by building a permanent capital. However, neither this chronology nor its analysis should be taken at face value. Most scholars agree that the decree of Great King Tenmu issued in the third month of 681 was the impetus for the compilation of both Kojiki and Nihon shoki.

Keywords:   Japanese historiography, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, historical chronicle, Nara, permanent capital, King Tenmu

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