Reports from early records

Natives and barbarians at the dawn of Japanese history

By William Wetherall

First posted 4 April 2006
Last updated 10 April 2017

Related articles
The journey to Kasasa: Paradise found and lost in the land of Hayato
Kofun through Nara • 300-794: Conquest, incorporation, integration, and security
Allegiance change in Yamato: How natives and migrants joined the fold
Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony
Akihito's Korean roots: The Fujiwara embrace of Kudara

Historical sources

Numerous written records contain reports that reveal the unfolding of what today is called the "history" of Japan. For the centuries spanned in this article, the most important sources are the earliest surviving chronologies compiled by Yamato hands of one or another historigraphic persuasion.

It is not the purpose here to examine the motives of the compilers or the factuality of what they recorded of legends and events of the past. I merely list the works that constitute the main body of "official" early history as it were.


Chronologies, peerages, and laws

Of the many works produced since writing based on Chinese script began to flourish, especially from the 7th and 8th centuries, quite a few survive in the form of later copies, partial copies, or excerpts in other works. The following works are the most useful for understanding how Yamato officials understood the past, in terms of migration from the continent and the assimilation of migrants into the native population.

Most of these works are chronologies compiled by officials as records of events in terms of when, who, what, where, sometimes how, and at times even why. The several thousand events they report are, at best, the most important of the millions that must have been known to the compilers from their own memories, from other contemporary witnesses, and from documentary material at their disposal. At worst they represent the workings of self-serving political and other biases in the standards of selection and narration.

Whatever their aims and however they were compiled, such works inevitably contain accounts that reflect flawed memories and faulty sources, if not imagination and fantasy. And for the most part, sans independent accounts that allow comparison and evaluation, we today, and future historians, will never be the wiser.

National histories

The chronologies known as the "Six National Histories" (˜Z‘Žj Rikkokushi) cover time immemorial to nearly the end of the 9th century, well into Heian period. To this body of works I am adding the Kojiki, which covers about the same period as the Nihon shoki but differently, and the Nihon kiryaku, which covers the period of the six histories and a century and a half beyond, and fills in some gaps left by missing parts of earlier histories.

If the "national histories" covering the 8th and 9th centuries report numerous events related to Fujiwara affairs, it is because their compilers included, and were overseen by, the most influential members of the Fujuwara house.

0. Kojiki ŒÃŽ–‹L, Origins to 628, K
[Records of old (ancient) matters]
3 kan completed in 712 (Wadō 5)
Compiled by Oo no Asomi Yasumaro (‘¾’©bˆÀäݗµ d723) and Hieda no Are (•B“cˆ¢—ç 7th-8th centuries)

1. Nihon shoki “ú–{‘‹I, Origins to 697, NS
[Chronicles of Japan]
30 kan and a geneology completed in 720 (Yōrō 4)
Compiled by Prince Toneri (ŽÉle‰¤ 676-735) and later also partly attributed to Oo no Yasumaro (‘¾ˆÀäݗµ d723)

2. Shoku Nihongi ‘±“ú–{‹I, 697-791, SN
[Continued Japan chronicles]
Comissioned by Kanmu in 794 (Enryaku 8)
40 kan completed in 797 (Enryaku 16)
Compiled by Sugawara no Mamichi (›–ì^“¹ 741-814), Fujiwara no Tsugutada (“¡Œ´Œp“ê 727-796), and others
Covers 697 (Monmu 1) to 791 (Enryaku 10)

Tsugutada's Kudara ties

One of Tsugutada's wives was Kudara no Konikishi Myōshin, whose ancestors included the last ruler of Kudara (Paekche). This may partly account for the appearance in this chronology of items about Myōshin and her ancestors. Tsugutada's strong ties with Kudara families was not, however, unique among the more powerful Fujiwara families.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.

3. Nihon kōki “ú–{Œã‹I, 792-833, NK
[Later chronicles of Japan]
40 kan completed in 840 (Jōwa 7)
Compiled by Fujiwara no Fuyutsugu (“¡Œ´“~Žk 775-826), Fujiwara no Otsugu (“¡Œ´Žk 774-843), and others from 819 (Kōnin 10)
Covers from 792 (Enryaku 11) to 833 (Tenchō 10)
Only 10 kan survive. However, some of the accounts that are thought to have come from the lost kan appear the Nihon kiryaku (see below).

Fuyutsugu's Kudara ties

Fuyutsugu's mother was a daughter of Fujiwara no Uchimaro (“¡Œ´“à–ƒ˜C 756-812) and Kudara no Nagatsugu (•SÏ‰iŒp). Nagatsugu later served in Kanmu's back [inner] palace [quarters for women] and received his affection but was never recognized as a consort.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.

4. Shoku Nihon kōki ‘±“ú–{Œã‹I, 833-850, SNK
[Continued Later chronicles of Japan]
20 kan completed in 869 (Jōgan 11)
Compiled by Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (“¡Œ´—Ç–[ 804-872) and Haruzumi no Yoshinawa (tŸ‘P“ê 797-870), among others.
Covers from 833 (Tenchō 10) to 850 (Kashō 3), during reign of Ninmyō.

Yoshifusa's Kudara ties

Yoshifusa was a son of Fuyutsugu, one of the compilers of Nihon kōki.

5. [Nihon] Montoku tenno Jitsuroku “ú–{•¶“¿“VcŽÀ˜^, 850-858
[True record of (the reign of) Montoku tennō (of Japan)]
10 kan completed in 879 (Gangyō 3)
Compiled by Fujiwara no Mototsune (“¡Œ´ŠîŒo 836-891), Minabuchi no Toshina (“ì•£”N–¼ 808-877), Miyako no Yoshika (“s—Ǎ 834-879), and Ooe no Otonda (‘å]‰¹l 811-877), and by Sugawara no Koreyoshi (›Œ´¥‘P 812-880) and Shimoda no Tadaomi (“ˆ“c—ǐb 828-892) from the deaths of Toshina and Otonda in 877.
Covers Monmoku's reign (850-858).

Mototsune's Kudara ties

Mototsune was born the third son of Fuyutsugu's oldest son Nagayoshi (’·—Ç Nagara), but was adopted by Fuyutsugu's second son Yoshifusa (—Ç–[).

6. [Nihon] Sandai jitsuroku “ú–{ŽO‘ãŽÀ˜^, 858-887
[True record of the three eras (of Japan)]
50 kan completed in 901 (Engi 1)
Compiled by Fujiwara no Tokihira (“¡Œ´Žž•½), Ookura no Yoshiyuki (‘å‘ ‘Ps 832-921), Sugawara no Michizane (›Œ´“¹^ 845-903), and others.
Covers reigns of sovereigns Seiwa, Yōsei, and Kōkō (858-887).

7. Nihon kiryaku (“ú–{‹I—ª), Origins to 1036, NGR
[Briefs of chronicles of Japan]
34 kan completed during Heian period
Compilers unknown. Accounts from origins through reign of Kōkō (887) are based on earlier chronicles, including the lost books of Nihon kōki. Accounts from reign of Uda (887) through reign of Goichijō (1036) are original.


Shinsen Shōroku Vï©Ž˜^
[Newly compiled record of uji (clans, lineages) with kabane (titles)]
Presented to sovereign (Saga) in 814 (Kōnin 5-6-1) by prince Manda Shinnō (788-830), a son of Kanmu, and Fujiwara no Asomi Sonohito (756-819), and others.
Preface to extant copy dated 815 (Kōnin 6-7-20)
Contains, according to the preface, geneological information on some 1182 lineages or clans (Uji) and their titles (kabane).

Sonohito's father was Fujiwara no Kaedemaro (“¡Œ´•––ƒ˜C 723-776), and his mother was a daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu. As such he was a first cousin or half-first cousin of Saga, who was a son of Kanmu and another daughter of Yoshitsugu, though the sisters appear to have had different mothers.


Tánglù shūyì “‚—¥‘`‹`
[Tang code reading and meaning / Tang code and commentary]
12 sections (•Ñ) containing 502 articles (ð)
Presented to the sovereign Gaojong (‚@ 628-683, r649-683) in 653.
Compiled by eighteen people under direction of Gaojong's nephew Zhangsun Wuji (’·‘·–³Šõ d659 in suicide provoked by accusations made against him by an ally of Gaojong's wife Wu, who Zhangsun had opposed).
Contains contemporary version of Tang code (“‚—¥ Táng lù), completed in 624 after decades of legal development in China, plus extensive commentary.
The Tang code became a model for contemporary laws in neighboring East Asian countries including Japan, as well as the basis for later dynastic codes in China.

Ryō no gige —ß‹`‰ð
[Meanings and unravelings of the (Yoro) ordinaces]
Commissioned in 833 by Junna (r823-833).
Completed in 834 under the editorial supervision of Kiyohara no Mahito no Natsuno (782-837), then the Great Minister of the Right cum Major Captain Minister of the Left Division of the [Headquarters] of the Inner Palace Guards.
Includes the Yōrō codes and ordinances (—{˜V—¥—ß Yōrō ritsuryō) and related commentary. Both the Yōrō laws and the commentary were heavily influence by the Tang code and its commentary.


Man'yōshū –œ—tW

Kakinotmo no Hitomaro lived between roughly 660 and 720. Nothing is known about his life except what can be gleaned from his poems in the Man'yōshū and Kokinshō. That he was at one time closely associated with Iwami is clear from the number of poems he wrote that eulogize the province.


Texts, translations, dates

Kanbun texts

The kanbun text, and the Yamato translation, are based on the attributed sources. Some texts were originally keyboarded. Others were created by first copying script from a web version, such as those posted at (“ú–{•¶Šw“dŽq}‘ŠÙ) or (ŒÃŽ–‹L³‰ðFŒÃŽ–‹LŒ¤‹†‰ï).

All texts copied from a web-scripted version were edited to reflect the characters and puntuation of the attributed printed source. However, if a copied text had simplified forms of characters in the source text, I did not change them to the older forms.

Yamato translations

The transliterations reflect the historical kana orthography in the attributed source. Topic, object, and direction markers have been shown as written -- i.e., ha, wo, and he have not been changed to wa, o, or e.

English translations

All translations shown in blue at the top of each account are mine (William Wetherall). While I have benefited from the Yamato translation and other English translations, in principle I have attempted to translate the kanbun as Chinese, which for the most part it is. Other translations are from the sources to which they are attributed.


All dates are first expressed as a nengō year and lunar caleldar month and day, as shown in the received texts, followed by a Gregorian date expressed as a Christian-era year and solar calendar month and day. In view of the fact that the Gregorian calendar was not used until the 16th century, the Julian day is shown in [square brackets] following the Gregorian day.


Some headnotes and footnotes to a cited text or translation have been shown in their entirety or summarized, either immediately below the parent citation, or in following comments. The words or phrases being noted are usually underscored.


Extended commentary related to a single account is shown under thematic headings following the citations related to the account.


Works cited

K Kojiki
NKBT Nihon koten bungaku taikei
NK Nihon koki
NS Nihon shoki
RG Ryō no gige
SS Samguk sagi
STK Seishū tōka ki
SN Shoku Nihongi
SS Shinsen Shōjiroku
SZKT Shintei zōhō Kokushi taikei
TLSY Táng lù shū yì

General references

Reischauer 1967
Robert Karl Reischauer and Jean Reischauer (compilers)
Early Japanese History
(C. 40 B.C.--A.D. 1167)
Gloucester (MT): Peter Smith, 1967
Two volumes (Part A, Part B)
Part A: Robert Karl Reischauer
Part B: Jean Reischauer and Robert Karl Reischauer

These volumes were first published in 1937 by Princeton University Press, in New Jersey, as imprints of the School of Public and International Affairs. Part A begins with a general introduction and some diagrams and tables of government organization and ranks, but consists mostly of a chronology of selected events, from circa 40 BC to 1167, cited from the early histories. Part B leads off with maps and family trees, then a kanji and ABC guide to the administrative and legal terminology that appears in the early histories.

The following works, though of a secondary nature, will also be of interest as background material in English.

Wontack Hong
Paekche of Korea and the Origin of Yamato Japan
Seoul: Kudara International, 1954
v, map, 407 pages

Of special interest is this somewhat provacative but serious work is "The Mimana Question: Paekche-Kaya-Wa Alliances and the Port of Passage" (pages 205-219) in Chapter 4: History and Interpretations, and related materials. Hong draws extensively from early Korean chronologies as well. About a third of the book consists of reference materials, including nearly eighty pages of "Footnotes of Original Texts" (pages 329-407).

An earlier book, Relationship Between Korea and Japan in Early Period: Paekche and Yamato Wa (Seoul: Ilsimsa, 1988), is a finger exercise for the 1994 publication. Both works use Chamberlain's and Philippi's translations of Kojiki and Aston's translation of Nihongi (Nihon shoki).

Hong, an economist who also styles himself as an historian, takes the early Japanese accounts about Mimana (Imna) as a Yamato entity more seriously than writers who dismiss them as fabrications simply because Korean accounts make no mention of a Yamato foothold on the peninsula. Apart from Hong's thesis that Paekche was instrumental in the origin of the Yamato kingdom, his book is useful as a guide to what primary Japanese and Korean texts say about the relationship between the two.

Gari Ledyard
Galloping Along with the Horseriders: Looking for the Founders of Japan
Journal of Japanese Studies
Volume 1, Number 2 (Spring 1975)
Pages 217-254

This remains a highly reliable romp of early Northeast Asia that is clearly inspired by the border-crossing standards of scholarship Ledyard acquired from mentors like Peter Boodberg.

William Wayne Farris
Population, Disease, and Land in Early Japan, 645-900
Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, Number 24
Cambridge (MT): Harvard University Press, 1985
xix, 235 pages, hardcover

This work grew out of Farris's 1981 doctoral dissertation, "Demographic change and agricultural development in early Japan, 645-900" (Harvard University). While very interesting and useful as a demographic study, which includes a lot of material on contemporary household registers and related law and administration, as well as on the social history of epidemics, a more interesting work is

William Wayne Farris
Japan's Medieval Population
(Famine, Fertility, and Warfare in a Transformative Age)
Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006
x, 372 pages, hardcover

Kojiki (K)

Kurano Kenji and Takeda Yukichi (translators and annotators)
Kojiki / Norito
[Records of ancient matters / Words of prayer]
Nihon koten bungaku taikei [NKBT]
[Survey of classical literature of Japan]
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1958
NKBT Volume 1, 1978 [22nd printing]

Over the centuries, Kojiki has been more attractive than the Nihon shoki as an object of study for the more "nativist" scholars, because it is less a Chinese-style chronology of political events than a collection of legendary tales, some of in the form of Yamato songs that the compilers transliterated rather than translated. Though many annotated editions are now available, the NKBT volume continues to be a valuable guide and standard.

Chamberlain 1932
Basil Hall Chamberlain (translator) [1850-1935]
Translation of "Ko-Ji-Ki"
(Or "Records of Ancient Matters")
Second Edition
[With Annotations by the late W.G. Aston]
Kobe: J.L. Thompson & Co. (Retail) Ltd., 1932

Chamberlain's translation first appeared in 1882 as supplement to Volume X of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. Remaining stock was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. This edition was prepared from a copy of the supplement belonging to Aston and reproduces the notes he had penciled in the margins. It includes cross references to Aston's Chronicles of Japan, which had not yet been published when he made the annotations to Chamberlain's translation of Kojiki.

Philippi 1969
Donald L. Philippi (translator) [1930-1993]
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969

Man'yoshu (MYS)

Takagi Ichinosuke, Gomi Tomohide, and Ono Susumu (annotators)
[Collection of ten-thousand leaves]
[Collection for a myriad generations (McCullough)]
Nihon koten bungaku taikei [NKBT]
[Survey of classical literature of Japan]
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1957-1962
Four volumes (1-4)
Volume 1, NKBT Volume 4, 1957 (1977)
Volume 2, NKBT Volume 5, 1959 (1978)
Volume 3, NKBT Volume 6, 1960 (1977)
Volume 4, NKBT Volume 7, 1962 (1978)

There are numerous popular and scholarly guides to this important chronology. The NKBT edition, edited by an allstar cast of historians and linguists, continues to be an adequate standard if used with care.

Several English translations of some or most of the poems exist, in addition to a number of in-depth studies of specific groups of poems. The most available and perhaps useful are these.

Ian Hideo Levy
The Ten Thousand Leaves
(A Translation of the Man'yōshū, Japan's premier anthology of classical poetry)
Volume One
Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press, 1981
409 plus pages, softcover (1987)
Princeton Library of Asian Translations

Levy's interpretations are generally accurate and poetic. However, he sometimes takes unnecessary liberties with original phrasing and metaphors that could have traveled in English.

Levy, who abandoned academia for a career as a novelist and critic in Japan, has not followed through with his promise to translate the entire work.

H. Mack Horton, at the University of California at Berkeley, is reportedly now at work on a complete translation and commentary of Man'yoshu. In the meantime, he has undertaken studies of various parts of the collection, including the cycle of poems on the ill-fated Japanese mission to Silla in 736-737, and has announced the following forthcoming book on this subject.

H. Mack Horton
Traversing the Frontier
(The Man'yoshu Account of a Japanese Mission to Silla) Cambridge (MT): Harvard University Asia Center
Previous working title:
Song at the Frontier
(The Silla Envoy Poems in Man'yoshu)

There are a number of older partial translations. The most widely published and generally respected was the 1940 Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai (NGS) edition, repackaged in the following 1965 edition.

Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkōkai (NGS)
[The Japan Society for the Promotion of Scientific Research]
The Manyoshu
(One-Thousand Poems with the Texts in Romaji)
[with the Texts in Romaji]
[With a New Forward by Donald Keenej]
New York: Columbia University Press, 1965
First published in 1940 by Iwanami Shoten
lxxxii, 502 pages, hardcover

The NGS translations are usually graceful though the English will often seem quaint. The manner in which they were editorially polished probably compounded errors made in the drafts.

Nihon shoki (NS)

NKBT 67, NKBT 68
Sakamoto Tarō, Ienaga Saburō, Inoue Mitsusada, and Ōno Susumu (translators and annotators)
Nihon shoki [Chronicles of Japan]
Nihon koten bungaku taikei [NKBT]
[Survey of classical literature of Japan]
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten
Two volumes (jo, ge)
Volume 1 [Jo], NKBT Volume 67, 1967
Volume 2 [Ge], NKBT Volume 68, 1965

There are numerous scholarly and popular guides to this important chronology. But this NKBT edition, edited by an allstar cast of historians and linguists, continues to be an adequate standard if used with care.

Aston 1, Aston 2
W.G. [William George] Aston (translator) [1841-1911]
1972 Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD 697)

Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company
Two volumes in one
Aston's translation was first published in two separate volumes by the Japan Society in 1896. The two volumes were republished as two volumes in one in 1924, and the 1972 Tuttle publication is a facsimile of this later edition. This continues to be the only complete translation in English. It is remarkably reliable, but is best used together with the original text and other Japanese sources.

There is now a full English translation with two versions of kanbun texts (including the J-Texts version) on a "Wiki Site" called "". The text is convenient for quick reading, and may be an improvement over Aston's rendering. However, it is no more reliable as a guide to kanbun or Yamato metaphors.

Shoku Nihongi (NS)

Kurosaka Katsumi and Kokushi Taikei Kenshūkai (compilers and editors)
Shoku Nihongi
[Continued Japan chronicles]
Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1981 [1935]
Two volumes (zenpen, kohen)
Volume 1: 5 (explanation), 5 (contents), 1-272 (text)
Volume 2: 5 (explanation), 5 (contents), 273-561 (text)
Shintei zōhō Kokushi taikei [SZKT]
[Newly revised and enlarged National history collection]
Explanation by Kurosaka dated November 1935

Ujitani 1992-1995
Ujitani Tsutomu (translator)
Shoku Nihongi (Zen gendaigo yaku)
[Continued Japan chronicles (Complete modern language translation)]
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1992-1995
Three volumes (jō, chū, ge)
Gakujutsu Bunko

Snellen 1, Snellen 2
J. B. Snellen (translator)
Shoku Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan, continued, from 697-791 A.D.
(Translated and annotated by J. B. Snellen)
Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan
Tokyo: Kyo Bun Kwan (distributor)
[Part 1] Shoku Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan)
Second Series, Volume XI, December 1934, 244 pages
Pages 151-239
[Part 2] Shoku Nihongi IV-VI. (Chronicles of Japan -- Continued)
Second Series, Volume XIV, June 1937, xvi, 284 pages
Pages 209-278

Volume XIV of TASJ includes A. L. Sadler's "The Naval Campaign in the Korean War of Hideyoshi (1592-1598)" (pages 179-208).

Nihon koki (NK)

Kurosaka Matsumi and Kokushi Taikei Kenshūkai (compilers and editors)
Nihon kōki
[Later chronicles of Japan]
Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1980 [1934]
Shintei zōhō Kokushi taikei [SZKT]
[Newly revised and enlarged National history collection]
4 (explanation), 4 (contents), 138 (text)
Explanation by Kurosaka dated November 1934
Includes only books 5, 8, 12-14, 17, 20-22, and 24
[Other books are listed in contents as lost]

Shinsen Shojiroku (SS)

Miller 1974
Richard J. Miller
Ancient Japanese Nobility
(The Kabane Ranking System)
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974
University of California Publications:
Occasional Papers Number 7: History

This comprehensive study of kabane draws from all early texts but the core of its data comes from the Shinsen Shojiroku [Newly compiled records of titles and clans], a peerage completed around 815 to record the ancestries and titles [kabane] of some 1182 clans [uji], apparently to prevent as of around the end of the 8th century.

Ryo no gige (RG)

Kurosaka Matsumi and Kokushi Taikei Kenshūkai (compilers and editors)
Ryō no gige
[Meanings and unravelings of the (Yoro) ordinances]
Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1981 [1939]
Shintei zōhō Kokushi taikei [SZKT]
[Newly revised and enlarged National history collection]
6 (explanation), 4 (contents), 354 (text)
Explanation by Kurosaka dated March 1939

The text illuminated in this work was commissioned in 833 by Junna (r823-833) and completed the following year under the editorial supervision of Kiyowara no Natsuno (782-837), the Great Minister of the Left. One of the aims of the commentary was to clarify the purport of the official codes, which were subject to various interpretations (Sansom 1932:69).

Sansom 1932 and 1934
George B. Sansom
Early Japanese Law and Administration
Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan
Part 1: [Introduction and Chapters 1-5]
TASJ, Series 2, Volume 9 (1932), pages 67-109
Part 2: [Chapters 6-8]
TASJ, Series 2, Volume 11 (December 1932), pages 117-149

Sansom's study begins with an overview of the ritsyryō system of government administration and related laws. Part 1 includes I Sources and II The Scope of the Yōrō Code (Ryō), but mostly III Administrative System, which translates substantial parts of the some of the early chapters of the code.

Part 2 begins with a continuation of matters related to administration, then turns to translations of Chapter VI: The Law Concerning Religion, Chapter VII: The Law Concerning Monks and Nuns, and Chapter VIII: The Law of Households.

Samguk sagi (SS)
‹à•xçg ŽO‘Žj‹L ‘S50Šª Kim Pusik (1075-1151) Samguk sagi [History of the three (Korean) kingdoms] Seoul: Kyong'ing Munhwa Sa, 1969 Sino-Korean text Kim Pusik (1075-1151) Samguk sagi Translated by Kim Sayop ‹àŽvûY (–ó) Tokyo: Rokko Shuppan, ˜Z‹»o”Å 1980-1981 2 volumes ã‰º. Sino-Korean text with Japanese translation and notes. Kim Pusik (1075-1151) Samguk sagi Translated by Rim Yongsu —щpŽ÷ (–ó) Tokyo: San'ichi Shobo ŽOˆê‘–[, 1974-1975 3 volumes. ãFV—…–{‹I ’†F‚‹å—í–{‹I •SÏ–{‹I ”N•\ ‰ºFŽGŽu —ñ“` Japaneses translation and notes only.
Tang lu shu yi (TLSY)

The Tang code survives in the 653 annotated edition. Web versions are adquate for general purposes though some graphs will be shown in more recent styles, and punctuation schemes will vary with source.

The following English translation is useful.

Wallace Johnson
(Intoduction and translation)
The T'ang Code
Volume I: General Principles
Volume II: Specific Articles
Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press
Vol I: 1979, xii, 317 pages
Vol II: 1997, xxvi, 591 pages

Volume I is a general introduction to principles of criminal law in China. Volume II presents mostly complete translations of Chapters VII-XXX, which contain what Johnson calls the 445 "specific articles" (58-502) of the code.

Wallace's translation reflects his own English tags for key legal terms, including social statuses. As Wallace was aiming at conveying a general understanding of the code, his translation is at times too free for the purpose of understanding the phrasing and metaphors of the language in which the code was written.



The Kojiki is a more lyrical work than the Nihon shoki, in that its accounts of "ancient matters" are largely based on oral recollections, including many songs. It begins with an account of the creation by the gods of the land of Yamato. The gods thus became the ancestors of all tennō down to Akihito, the present non-imperial "Emperor" of Japan.

Though organized chronologically, the Kojiki is more concerned with relating fables and tales about the lives of the legendary and historical sovereigns than in chronicling historical political and other events. However, it does include some references to relations between Yamato and Korean countries, and mentions some migrations and allegiance changes.


Circa 000 (unknown)   Divine miscegenations in Kojiki
Kojiki 1

For Kojiji versions of the miscegenations of the gods that are said to have been the progenitors of the imperial family, see the following article.

The journey to Kasasa:
Paradise found and lost in the land of Hayato


Late 300s   Shiragians (Sillans) come across and build Paekche pond
Kojiki 2, Ōjin, undated, late 300s

Translation   Also Shiragians [Sillans] came proceeding across [the sea to Yamato]. Due to [In view of] this Takenouchi [Takeshiuchi] no Sukune no Mikoto took [them] and put [them] to work on embankments and ponds, and built the Kudara [Paekche] Pond.

Kanbun   –’V—…lŽQ“n—ˆB¥ˆÈŒš“àh”H–½ˆø—¦Aਖð“n”V’ç’rŽ§Aì•SàZ’rB(NKBT 1:248)

Yamato translation   Mata Shiragibito mawiwatarikitsu. Kore wo mochite Take[no]uchi no Sukune no Mikoto hikiwite, tsutsumi [to] ike [Note 2] ni edachite, Kudara no Ike wo tsukuriki. (NKBT 1:249).

tsutsumi [to] ike [Note 2] states that the line regarding the embankment and pond is confusing, and says that Kojiki kiden (ŒÃŽ–‹L“`), Motoori Norinaga's late 18th century study of the Kojiki interprets it to mean "put to work on an embankment (’ç tsutsumi) and a pond (’r ike).

Chamberlain's translation   Again there came over [to Japan] some people from Shiragi. Therefore His Augustness the Noble Take-uchi, having taken them with him and set them to labour on pools and embankments, made the Pool of Kudara. [Note 5] (Chamberlain 1932:305)

Pool of Kudara [Note 5] "Doubtless so named after the Korean labourers employed upon it,--Kudara and Shiragi, as different parts of the same peninsula, being confounded in thought.*
  * Called, in the Nihongi, "the pool of the Han men."--W.G.A." [The "W.G.A." initials are those of W.G. Aston, whose comments are reproduced in the cited edition, since it was based on Aston's copy of Chamberlain's translation.]"

Philippi's translation   Also there came immigrants from Siragi. Therefore Takesi-uti-nö-sukune-nö-mikötö took command of them and conscripted them to make embankments and ponds [Note 2], thus making [the pond] Kudara-nö-ikï. [Note 3] (Philippi 1969:284).

to make embankments and ponds [Note 2] "Following Motoori's emendation of the text. According to the manuscripts this would read, 'and brought them across to.' If this is accepted, the next two words 'embankments [and] ponds' become a proper name, Tutumi-nö-ikï."

Kudara-nö-ikï [Note 3] "The Nihon shokoi attributes this immigration to the seventh year of Ūjin's reign. Aston, I, 257. Many historians question the historicity of the mass immigrations attributed to this period."


came proceeding across

The NKBT Yamato translation fuses "proceed, cross, come" (ŽQ“n—ˆ) into a compound verb which retains this sequence of three actions. Chamberlain captures the original better than Philippi, who degrades the narrative from "some Shiragi came across" (which shows the action) to "some immigrants came from Silla" (which characterizes the actors). See 467 Kure man from Kudara in the Nihon shoki for a similar three-graph expression.

Sukune no Mikoto

Takenouchi (Takeshiuchi) no Sukune appears in a number of Kojiki and Nihon shoki legends. The bigger than life figure served a number of sovereigns, including Ōjin and his father Chūai. He is also said to have accompanied Jingū, who was Ōjin's mother and regent, during her fabled invasion of Korea. Only the gods know how much any of this is true.

Kudara [Paekche] Pond

Why a pond built by Silla labor should be named after Paekche is odd. See 276 Koreans build pond for the more plausible Nihon shoki account of this story.


Late 300s   Hata and Aya ancestors come across
Kojiki 2, Ōjin, undated, late 300s

Translation   Also the ancestors of the Hata no Miyatsuko, the ancestors of the Aya no Atahe, as well as someone who knew [how to] brew drink, named Niho and also named Susukori, came proceeding across [the sea to Yamato].

Kanbun   –”`‘¢”V‘cAŠ¿’¼”V‘cA‹y’møŽðlA–¼m”ԁA–’–¼{{‹–—“™ŽQ“n—ˆ–çB(NKBT 1:248)

Yamato translation   Mata Hata no Miyatsuko no oya, Aya no Atahe no oya, mata sake wo kamu koto wo shireru hito, na ha Niho, mata no na ha Susukori domo, maiwatarikitsu. (NKBT 1:249)

Chamberlain's translation   Again there came over [to Japan] the ancestor of the Hada Rulers, the ancestor of the Aya Suzerains, and likewise a man who knew how to distil liquor, and whose name was Nim-pan, while another name for him was Susukori. (Chamberlain 1932:307)

Philippi's translation   Again there immigrated the ancestor of the Miyatuko of the Pata, the ancestor of the Atape of the Aya [Note 9], and a man who knew how to brew wine, whose name was Nipo; he was also named Susuköri (Philippi 1969:285).

the ancestor of the Atape of the Aya [Note 9] "For the ancestor of the Pata (the "Lord of Yutsuki") and of the Aya, see Aston, I, 261, 264-65. We are told that the ancestor of the Aya and his son brought with them "a company of their people of seventeen districts." Ibid., p. 265. Tsuda denies that the early immigrants could have come in such great numbers. Nihon koten no kenkyū, II, 232-33. See also 118:6."


Hata and Aya

Hata [Hada] and Aya are "uji" or clan (lineage) names. See 283 Hata seamstress sent and 283 Kudara prince submits for the accounts of Hata and Aya ancestors in the Nihon shoki and further details about the indentities of the continental migrants who are here said to be the progenitors of these lineage groups in Yamato.

Chamberlain makes numerous remarks about Hata and Aya, mostly to the effect that their use to represent the Chinese names ` and Š¿ is "difficult to account for" (Chamberlain 1932:307, notes 1 and 2).

Phillipi refers his readers to Aston for more commentary (Philippi 1969:285, note 9).

Miyatsuko and atahe

"Miyatsuko" and "atahe" [atahi] are "kabane" or titles. Families were referred to according to formulae like "X uji no Y kabane" meaning "Y kabane of the X uji". It appears that migrants did not acquire titles until they were given particular kabane reflecting their assigned responsibities.

The term "kuni no miyatsuko" was not a kabane but an office of government meaning "governor of a province" (Philippi 1969:504-506). The most common kabane of such governors was atahe [atai] heads of other entities were more likely given the kabane "miyatsuko" (Philippi 1969:523) As a kabane, miyatsuko was also expressed "tomo no miyatsuko" as in the Nihon shoki reference to "Hata no Tomo no Miyatsuko" (see below).

Taika and Tenmu reforms

In the wake of the Taika reforms of 645, particular after the sweeping administrative changes implemented by Tenmu in 684, many clans were awarded different kabane. Tenmu simplied the ranking system by reducing a very long list of kabane titles to just eight -- (1) mahito, (2) asomi, (3) sukune, (4) imiki, (5) michinoshi, (6) omi, (7) muraji, and (8) inaki. The first two titles were reserved mostly for clans closely related through lineage to the reigning monarch (Miller 1974:15-16). See 684 Tenmu's kabane edict below for a fuller account of the kabane reforms.

Though muraji survived Tenmu's cut it changed its meaning. Most former muraji became omi or sukune, the second and third highest titles in the new order. Muraji, now seventh, was conferred mostly on former miyatsuko (Miller 1974:38-39).

Atahe [atae, atahi, atai] was a kabane generally associated with provincial governors and others of comparable rank (Philippi 1969:466). The title was also conferred on officials reponsible to the court in some capacity other than as a governor (Miller 1974:95).

Hata and Aya clans elevated

Aya clans were differentiated by the province in which they had settled. Between 682-684, both the Yamato no Aya and the Kafuchi [Kauchi / Kawachi] no Aya, which had been atahi, and the Hata, which had been miyatsuko, became muraji. Eleven other shoban [continental origin] clans, including the Kudara no Miyatsuko, likewise became muraji (Miller 1974:191-193). Then in 685, the two Aya no Muraji, the Hata no Muraji, and another shoban muraji or two were elevated to imiki, the fourth ranking kabane (Miller 1974:197)


Nihon shoki

Unlike the Kojiki, which describes migration only in terms of some combination of "proceeding" (ŽQ) and "crossing" (“n) and "coming" (—ˆ) to Yamato, numerous Nihon shoki entries have people "submitting" or "throwing" and "changing".

The two most common compound actions used to characterize the Koreans and Chinese of various affiliations, who arrive in Yamato domains and remain presumably with the intention of remaining, are "submitting and changing" (‹A‰» kika) and "throwing and changing" (“Š‰» tōka). For more about these highly synonmymous terms, see "Kika" and "toka".


Circa 000 (unknown)   Divine miscegenations in Nihon shoki
Nihon shoki 1-2

For Nihon shoki versions of the miscegenations of the gods that are said to have been the progenitors of the imperial family, see the following article.

The journey to Kasasa:
Paradise found and lost in the land of Hayato


Mid 200s   Generals sent to pacify rioting people beyond the sea
Nihon shoki 5, Sujin 10 Winter 10-1, BCE 88-11-15 [17] [mid 200s]

Translation   [The sovereign] commanded [his] generals and ministers and said, "Now those who have rebelled have completely prostrated to punishment [by death]. The inner provinces are without events. Only the rioting people beyond the sea [in remote territories], their rampages have not stopped. Generals of the four roads, now hasten and set out [to pacify them]." On the 22nd [day], the generals together set out on [their respective] roads.

Kanbun   ÙŒQbžHA¡”½ŽÒŽ»•šænB‹E“à–³Ž–B—BŠCŠOr‘­Aéz“®–¢Ž~B‘´Žl“¹›’ŒR“™A¡šá¢”VB•¸ŽqA›’ŒR“™‹¤á¢˜HB(NKBT 67:249)

Yamato translation   Maetsukimi ni mikotonori shite notamahaku, "Ima somukerishi mono futsuku ni tsumi ni fusu. Uchitsukuni [Note 2] ni ha koto nashi. Tadashi wata no hoka [Note 3] no araburu hitodomo nomi, toyoku koto imada yamazu. Sore yotsu no michi no ikusa no kimitachi, ima tachimachi ni makare" to notamafu. Hinoene no hi ni, ikusa no kimitachi, tomo ni michitachi su. (NKBT 67:248)

Aston's translation   The Emperor gave command to his Ministers, saying:--"The rebels have now all yielded themselves to execution and there is peace in the home district. But the savage tribes abroad [Note 5] continue to be tumultuous. Let the generals of the four roads now make haste to set out." On the 22nd day, the four generals set out on their journeys simultaneously. (Aston 1:159)


Uchitsukuni (Kinai)

Note 2 to the NKBT translation observes that ‹E“à -- which it renders "uchi-tsu-kuni", meaning "provinces within" or "inner provinces" -- is a Chinese-style term for the court's dominion.

As a term used in Yamato texts, ‹E“à was used to mean, as it did in Chinese, a territory within the immediate jurisdiction of the court. During the Yamato, Nara, and Heian periods in Japan, it referred to the provinces of Yamato, Yamashiro, Kawachi, Izumi, and Settsu -- the heartland of the Yamato court, which moved its capital several times within Yamato (Asuka, Nara) and Yamashiro (Nagaoka, Kyoto).

Today ‹E“à is usually read Kinai in Sino-Japanese. As a geographical term, it now refers more narrowly to the Keihanshin (‹žã_) area of Kyoto [kei], Osaka [han], and Kobe [shin] in the larger and more vaguely Kansai (ŠÖ¼) [west of the pass] region of Japan.

Kinki (‹ß‹E) -- its counterpart, meaning "near [in and around] the [court, capital, inner] provinces" -- embraces Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama prefectures -- i.e., the immediately .

Wata no hoka (kaigai)

Note 3 the NKBT Yamato translation remarks that ŠCŠO -- which it renders "wata no hoka" -- means ‹EŠO (kigai) [outside the (sovereign's) dominion] as opposed to ‹E“à (kinai) [inside the (sovereign's) dominion] -- and not "umi no soto" [beyond the sea].

However, "wata no hoka" would also seem to mean "beyond the sea". Man'yōshū has numerous expressions like –È”V’ê and ŠC’ê, both read "wata no soko" and meaning "bottom of the sea" (see e.g. Man'yoshu 7, 1223 and 1290, as in NKBT 5, Man'yoshu 2). Note that "wataru" meaning "to cross [over]" contains the root "wata" and is written by graphs meaning to cross a sea, river, or other body of water, or an expanse like such, by some means such as a boat or bridge ((“n‚é wataru) or on foot (Â‚é wataru).

"Wata" [wada] appears to have the same linguistic roots as "pada" (바다), the Korean word for "sea". The Korean term for "opposite / across / beyond the sea" is "pada kŏnnŏ" (바다 건너). The Sino-Korean term is "haeoe" (ŠCŠO 해외). Some linguists (according to Kōjien) suspect that "wata" morphed from "wochi" (ƒ’ƒ`) meaning "far" (‰“< tooku).

Note 5 to Aston's translation qualifies "abroad" -- its rendering of the term -- as follows.

Lit. outside the sea. This is a Chinese expression which must not be taken too literally. The Ainos may be referred to. But the whole passage seems inspired by recollections from Chinese literature, and is probably entirely fictitious.

However, the story might be a vestige of an oral account of conflict with people from across a strait between two territories. Or perhaps "wata" referred to what came to be called the Inland Sea, or even lake Biwa (which qualifies as an "umi"), if not a broad river that marked a boundary between the settled provinces and the unsettled territories at the time the story originated.

Rioting people

"Rioting people" reflects r‘­ (kōzoku), or "araburu hitodomo" in the Yamato translation -- meaning "people who quarrel [row, riot]" -- i.e., rowdy, rambunctious people who rebel against the sovereign's will, go on rampages, or otherwise behave violently. ‘­ (zoku) refers to ordinary people, commoners, the masses.

Generals of the four roads

The fours roads (Žl“¹ shidō) were the roads that led from the inner provinces to the outer provinces, namely (1) Hokuriku (–k—¤), north then northeast along what is now called the Japan Sea by Japan and the Easter Sea by the two Koreas, (2) Tōkai (“ŒŠC), northeast along or near the Pacific coast, (3) Seidō (¼“¹) or San'yō (ŽR—z), southwest along the Inland Sea, and (4) Tanba (’O”g) or San'in (ŽR‰A), north and then southwest along the Japan Sea.

The generals («ŒR shōgun) of these roads were the commanders dispatched by Sujin to subdue the territories in the four directions from the inner provinces.


Mid 200s   Barbarians pacified and exotic people submit
Nihon shoki 5, Sujin 11 Summer 4-28, BCE 87-6-7 [9] [mid 200s]

Translation   The generals of the four roads reported [to the soveriegn] the state of pacifying the barbarians. This year many exotic [other, different] people submitted, and the land was quiet and peaceful.

Kanbun   Žl“¹›’ŒRAˆÈ•½^ˆÎ”Vó‘tàB @¥ÎAˆÙ‘­‘½ŸdAš “àˆÀ”JB(NKBT 67:249)

Yamato translation   Yotsu no michi no ikusa no kimi, hina wo muketaru katachi wo mote mousu. Kotoshi, atashi kuni no hito ooku maukite, kuni no uchi yasuraka nari. (NKBT 67:248)

Aston's translation   The generals of the four roads reported to the Emperor the circumstances of their pacification of the savages. This year strange tribes came in great numbers and there was tranquility throughout the land. (Aston 1:160)



submitted reflects Ÿd (‹A ki), which the NKBT Yamato translation renders "maukite", a continuative form of "mauku", one of several related terms that are associated with ŽQ—ˆ (sanrai). Aston follows the convention of rendering ‹A, which in this case means something like "submit", as though it meant ŽQ—ˆ, which means simply "proceed and come" as when describing someone's visit to a higher status or sacred person or place.


barbarians reflects ^ˆÎ (jūi), or "hina" in the Yamato translation. As a Chinese term, ^ (jū) refers to the four directions, and ˆÎ (i) is the general name for the different races to the east of China. Both ^ and ˆÎ are also used to graph the Yamato terms "ebisu" and variants like "emishi", which were used to refer to "ezo" or "Ainu". As a Yamato term, "hina" refers to the people of a rural or remote area (ç¿ hina), who have not yet come under the control of, or settled and edified by, an enlightened sovereign.

exotic [other, different] people reflects ˆÙ‘­ (izoku), or "atashi [adashi] kuni no hito" [people of other, different countries] in the Yamato translation. One gets the impression from this and many similar Yamato expressions (see other accounts in this article) that they have been contrived to interpret rather than closely translate the Chinese text.


Mid 200s   Rioting people appeased, exotic people submit and change
Nihon shoki 5, Sujin 12 Spring 3-11, BCE 86-4-11 [13] [mid 200s]
First use here of ‹A‰» (kika) meaning "submit and change [allegiance]"

Translation   [The sovereign] commanded, We . . . [We] also have passed down [our] teachings, and moreover have appeased the rioting people and with raised troops addressed [their] disobedience. Consequently, in government there is nothing wasted, below there are no idle people. Cultivation is spreading, and the masses enjoy their work. Exotic people with interpretors have come, and [people from] beyond the sea have already submitted and changed.

Kanbun   ÙA’½ . . . B–’‚‹³AŽ§ãVr‘­A¨•ºˆÈ“¢•s•žB¥ˆÈAŠ¯–³œEŽ–A‰º–³ˆí–¯B‹³‰»—¬sAOŽžÙ‹ÆBˆÙ‘­d桘ҁAŠCŠOŠùŸd‰»B. . . B(NKBT 67:249)

Yamato translation   Mikotonori suraku [Note 7], "Ware, . . . Mata nori wo tarete, araburu hitodomo wo yasumi shi, ikusa wo agete matsurohanu wo utsu. Koko wo mote, ohoyake ni [Note 9] sutaretaru koto naku, shimo ni kakururu tami nashi. Omobukuru koto yukiokonaharete, ohomitakara waza wo tanoshibu. Atashi kuni no hito [Note 11] mo wosa wo kasanete mauku. Watanohoka made mo sude ni mauomobukinu. . . . (NKBT 67:248)

Aston's translation   The following decree was issues:-- " . . . We have also dispensed Our instructions and thus pacified the savage tribes, and by force of arms have chastised those who refused submission. In this way authority has been maintained, while below there are no retired people. Education is widespread; the multitude take delight in their industries; [Note 3] strange tribes come employing several interpreters; the countries beyond the sea offer allegiance. . . ." (Aston 1:160)


Flattering Hanshu

Mikotonori suraku   Note 7 to NKBT's Yamato translation shows that the first part of this account, which I have omitted but marked with ellipses ( . . . ), is based on an imperial pronouncment in the chronicle on Cheng Di (r32-7 BCE) in Hanshu [Book of Han], a history of the western or former Han dynasty (BCE 206-9 CE). The history was begun by Ban Biao (Pan Piao, 3-54 CE), continued by his son Ban Gu (Pan Ku, 32-92 CE), and finished by his daughter Ban Zhao (Pan Chao, 35-100 CE). The NKBT compilers cite the relevant lines from Hanshu after stating that Nihon shoki compilers write the omitted passage in order to set the stage for events described a bit later in the chapter on Sōjin's reign. (NKBT 67:248, note 7)

In fact, lines from a number of Chinese dynastic histories and other texts have been woven into the Nihon shoki to make it appear as though Yamato generally, and the Yamato court in particular, had been as sophisticated as China and Chinese courts. Sometimes Chinese sources were paraphrased, but mostly they were copied in a manner that today would draw a lawsuit for plagiary.

At the same time, such passages are evidence that Nihon shoki compilers were thoroughly versed in Chinese historiography. Their mandate to write a history of the Yamato court probably carried with it an obligation to show their mastery of Chinese learning.

Why bother to write such a history in Chinese, if not to flatter the continental sources of wisdom then spreading throughout Yamato's dominion? The main reason most people learned Latin through classical texts was to later display (and thereby transmit) their knowledge -- pretty much as I am doing now with my limited command of archaic languages I neither speak or write, nor read with ease.

Assimilation as a measure of success

ohoyake ni   Note 9 to NKBT's Yamato translation shows that the lines which I have translated "in government . . . enjoy their work" are practically identical to lines from the Hongjia 2-3 [19 BCE] section of Hanshu.

Note 3 to Aston's translation makes the following observation about the same lines.

From "authority" to "industries" is copied from a Chinese History of the Han Dynasty. The whole decree is utterly impossible as a document of Japanese History at this period. It is as Chinese as can be.

To put all this in perspective -- the compilers of the Nihon shoki, working in the late 7th and early 8th centuries, have put into the mouth of a Yamato sovereign who probably reigned no earlier than the middle of the 3rd century, words attributed by 1st-century-CE Chinese historians to a 1st-century-BCE Chinese sovereign.

Presumably Aston thinks the decree or edict (Ù shō, mikotonori) is "utterly impossible" because the thinking behind it did not exist in Yamato during Sujin's times. It did, however, exist by the time the Nihon shoki was written. And while the Sinified praise of Sujin's rule may be entirely ahistorical, it reflects how his successors measured his success, to wit: The Yamato court is virtuous to the degree that overseas and other exotic people want to submit to its rule and assimilate into its dominion.

Exotic people [from] beyond the sea

Atashi kuni no hito   Note 11 to NKBT's Yamato translation makes the following remark about ˆÙ‘­ (izoku) read "atashikuni no hito" [exotic people] and ŠCŠO (kaigai) read "wata no hoka" [beyond the sea].

There are no entries about of foreigners (ŠO‘l gaikokujin) coming to the court (—ˆ’© raichō) or submitting and changing (‹A‰» kika) until this. Or does this refer to the account of the subjugation outside the [sovereign's] dominion (‹EŠO•ž‘® kigai fukuzoku) by the generals of the four roads (Žl“¹«ŒR shidō shōgun)?


276   People from four Korean polities come to court and build pond
Nihon shoki 10, Ōjin 7 Autumn 9, 276-9/10

Translation   Komans [Koryoans], Kudarans [Paekcheans], Mimanans [Imnans], and Shiragians [Sillans] together came to the court. Then [the sovereign] ordered Takeshiuchi no Sukune to lead the various Karans [Koreans] and build a pond. For [this] reason [Consequently], [they] named the pond and titled [it] Karan [Korean] Pond

Kanbun   ‚—ílE•SÏlE”C“ߐlEV—…lA•À—ˆ’©BŽž–½•“àh”HA—̏”ŠØl“™ì’rBˆöˆÈA–¼’r†ŠØl’rB(NHBT 67:367)

Yamato translation   Komabito, Kudarabito, Mimanabito, Shirakihito, narabi ni maukeri. Toki ni Takeshiuchi no Sukune ni mikotonori shite, moromoro no Karabito ra wo hikiwite ike wo tsukurashimu. Yorite, ike wo nadzukete Karabito ike to ifu. (NHBT 67:366)

Aston's translation   Men of Koryo, men of Pèkché, men of Imna, and men of Silla [Note 3] all together attended the Court. Orders were then given to Takechi no Sukune to take these various men of Han and make them dig a pond. Therefore the pond was given a name, and was called the pond of the men of Han. [Note 4] (Aston 1:257)

Silla [Note 3] "The traditional kana rendering has Koma, Kudara, Mimana and Shiraki."
Han [Note 4] "Or 'men of Kara.' Compare Ch[amberlain]. K[ojiki]., p. 252."


See 300s Shiragians build pond for the Kojiki version of this story.

Came to the court

The NKBT Yamato translation reduces "raichō" (—ˆ’©) to "mauku", which is also used to translate ŽQ—ˆ (sanrai), meaning "proceed and come" (see above). Today this would be something like "maitte kuru" or just "mairu", meaning a coming (going) to a prestigeous or sacred place. As will be evident throughout this article, the received Yamato translations tend to conflate related but different Chinese expressions into fewer Yamato terms.


283   Kudara king presents Hata seamstress to court
283   Kudara prince submits but his people are stranded
Nihon shoki 10, Ōjin 14 Spring 2, 283-3/4
Contrast of —ˆ‹A (raiki) and ‹A‰» (kika) in same story
Translation   The king of Kudara [Paekche] presented [as tribute] a woman who sews clothes. [She is] called Maketsu. She is the first ancestor of the present clothes sewer of Kume. / This year, the prince of Yutsuki came from Kudara [Paekche] and submitted [his allegiance]. Accordingly he reported [to the sovereign] and said, "I led the people of 120 districts of my own land and [they were to] submit and change [their allegiance]. However, owing to the prevention of [by] Shiragians [Sillans], all remained in the land of Kara [Kaya]." Hereupon [the sovereign] dispatched Kazuraki no Sotsubiko and summoned the people of Yutsuki in Kara [to Yamato]. However, three years passed and Sotsubiko had not come [back].

Kanbun   •SàZ‰¤v–DˆßH—BžHáÁ–ђÁB¥¡˜Ò–ڈߖD”VŽn–çB¥ÎA‹|ŒŽŒNŽ©•SàZ˜ÒŸdBˆöˆÈ‘t”VžHAb—̌Ț ”Vl•v•S“ùãpŽ§Ÿd‰»B‘RˆöV—…l”V‹‘AŠF—¯‰Á—…š Bৌ­Š‹éP’ÕFAŽ§¢‹|ŒŽ”Vl•v‰—‰Á—…B‘RãSŽO”NAŽ§P’ÕF•s˜ÒàB(NKBT 67:371)

Yamato translation   Kudara no Kokishi, kinunuhiwomina wo tatematsu. Maketsu to ifu. Kore, ima no Kume no Kinunuhi no hajime no oya nari. / Kotoshi, Yutsuki no Kimi, Kudara yori maukeri. Yorite maushite mausaku, "Yatsukare, ono ga kuni no tami momo-amari-hatachi no kohori wo hikinute mauku. Shikaredomo Shirakihito no fuseku ni yorite, mina Kara no kuni ni todomareri" to mausu. Koko ni Kadzuraki no Sotsubiko wo tsukaha shite, Yutsuki no tami wo Kara ni mesu. Shikaredomo mitose furu made ni, Sotsubiko maukozu. (NKBT 67:370)

Aston's translation   The King of Pèkché sent as tribute a seamstress named Maketsu. She was the first ancestress of the present seamstresses of Kume. This year the Lord of Yutsuki came from Pèkché and offered his allegiance. According he addressed the Emperor, saying:--"Thy servant was coming to offer allegiance with one hundred and twenty districts of the people of his own land, when the men of Silla prevented them, and they were all forced to remain in the land of Kara." Hereupon Katsuraki no Sotsuhiko was sent to bring the men of Yutsuki from Kara. Now three years passed, and Sotsuhiko did not come. (Aston 1:261)


Maketsu and Kume

Nothing more is known about Maketsu. This is the first of several accounts of clothes sewers and weavers, among others with skills in high demand, who came to Yamato, were assigned to work somewhere, and were remembered as the founders of a family of like artisans. Yūryaku 14 Spring 1-13 mentions "Aya [Han] weavers and Kure [Wu] weavers, as well as the clothes sewers Ehime and Otohime" (NKBT 67:370, note 10, 490-491).

Kume was a village in the province of Yamato. The locality is now associated with Kume-cho in Kashihara city in Nara prefecture. (NKBT 67:370, note 10, 490-491)

Conflation of —ˆ‹A, ‹A‰», and —ˆ

Here we see very clearly the function of ‹A (ki) in Chinese -- if we ignore the Japanese translation, which reduces both —ˆ‹A (raiki) and ‹A‰» (kika) to "mauku" (come) -- the same expression used to render —ˆ’© (raichō) in the preceding account -- and embraces the —ˆ of •s—ˆ into this conflation.

While true that one has to "come" in order to submit and change allegiance, conflation of a variety of expressions in Chinese to a single expression in Yamato (or in Japanese) results in loss of detail. Though readers of a translation that shows the original text may notice the graphs and thereby appreciate the nuances, popular adaptations are likely to replace less familiar expressions with “n—ˆ (torai) and ‹A‰» (kika) -- the terms most commonly encountered in present-day textbooks in Japan.


289   Ancestors of Yamato no Aya come and submit
Nihon shoki 10, Ōjin 20 Autumn 9, 289-10/11

Translation   The Yamato no Aya no Atai ancestor Achi no Omi, and his son Tsuka no Omi, together lead 17 districts of their own confederates, and came and submitted.

Kanbun   ˜`Š¿’¼‘cˆ¢’mŽgŽåA‘´Žq“s‰ÁŽgŽåA•À —¦ŒÈ”Vê}—ޏ\ŽµãpAŽ§˜ÒŸdàB(NKBT 67:375)

Yamato translation   Yamato no Aya no Atahi no oya Achi no Omi, sono ko Tsuka no Omi, narabi ni ono ga tomogara [Note 4] towo-amari-nanatsu no kohori wo wite, maukeri. (NKBT 67:374)

Aston's translation   Achi no Omi, ancestor of the Atabe of the Aya of Yamato, and his son Tsuga no Omi immigrated to Japan, bringing with them a company of their people of seventeen districts. (Aston 1:264-265)


Account of massive migration

Note 4 to NKBT's Yamato translation contends that there was no massive migration to from the peninsula at the time of this account.

Is contending that [the two Aya men] came with so many people in attendance a reflection of the situation after the 6th century, when [Yamato] came to embrace numerous kika-related minor clans [kouji] (e.g., Ayahito, Suguri) and guild people [bemin] (e.g., Ayabe)? A list [of these clans and guild people] can be seen in lost text (ˆí•¶ itsubun) of the Shōjiroku (©Ž˜^) cited in the Sakanoue keizu (âãŒn}).

"Sakanoue keizu" is a geneology of the Sakanoue clan, which is associated with migrants from the Korean peninsula. The geneology reportedly claims that the clan descended from Achi no Omi, hence its mention in the above note. A copy of the geneology can be found in Zoku Gunsho ruijū (‘±ŒQ‘—ޏ]), Volume 7, Part 2. Apparently it includes information that is thought to have been part of the original Shinsen Shōjiroku (Vï©Ž˜^), which survives only in the form of a catalog of excerpts.

Sakanoue no Tamuramaro

The most famous member of the clan was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (âã“c‘º–ƒ˜C 758-811). He is known for having built the first Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. He is better known, though, as a general sent north by Emperor Kanmu to suppress the indigenous Emishi (‰ÚˆÎ). This continued to be his mission in the service of Heizei, Kanmu's older son, and Saga, a younger son. The sibling princes did not get along. Tamuramaro also served Kanmu's father Kōnin.

That Kanmu should entrust a vital military mission to someone of peninsular ancestry is not suprising. The Shoku Nihongi, which Kanmu commissioned shortly after his mother died, clearly states that she was a descendant of a Paekche king and even gives details of her lineage -- a well-known fact publicly broached by Akihito in 2001. Fujiwara no Tsugutada, one of the compilers, was also of Paekche ancestry, as were many members of the Fujiwara clan, including the Fujiwara daughters who became consorts of future sovereigns and other princes.

Sakanoue no Tamuramaro was also known as Sakanoue no Karitamaro, at times his name included Ōimiki (‘åŠõ¡), a kabane title. In a 785 note concerning a promotion of Sakanoue Ōimiki no Karitamaro (âã‘åŠõ¡Š¡“c–ƒ˜C) and others, the Shoku Nihongi observes that Sakanoue's clan (–{) had descended from Achi Ō (ˆ¢’q‰¤), a great-grandchild of the Later [Eastern] Han Emperor Ling (ŒãŠ¿—ì’é 156-189, r168-189) (Shoku Nihongi 38, Enryaku 4-6-10, 785-7-24 [20], SZKT SN-2:508, b“™–{¥ŒãŠ¿—ì’é”V‘\‘·ˆ¢’q‰¤”VŒã–ç). Yamato no Atahi name ascribed to was one of several that migrated to Yamato bringing their learning and skills as craftsmen and scribes.


Suguri [village chief] is an early kabane from Korea. Nihon shoki associates it with a guild of scribes [fumibe, fumihito] apparently in Kafuchi, Yamato (Yuryaku 2-10 [458], NKBT 67:465 and note 25, Aston 1:340-341).

Ahistorical translation

Though Aston has previously rendered "raiki" (—ˆ‹A) as "came and offered allegiance", here he prefers "immigrated to Japan" -- which is doubly achronistic, since "immigration" is a modernesque term, and "Japan" does not qualify as another name for Yamato for another two or three centuries.


467   Kure man escapes from Kudara
Nihon shoki 14, Yūryaku 11 Autumn 7, 467-8/9

Translation   There existed [a person] who escaped, changed, and came [to Yamato] from Kudara [Paekche]. [He] styled himself by the name of Kuwishin. [He] is also styled as Kuwishin, a person of the country of Kure [Wu]. Ihare no Kure no Kotohiki, Sakate no Yakatamaro, and others, are his descendants.

Kanbun   —L]•SÏ‘“¦‰»—ˆŽÒBŽ©Ì–¼žH‹MMB–”Ì‹MMŒà‘l–çB”Ö—]Œà‹Õ’e壃Žè‰®Œ`–ƒ˜C“™A¥‘´Œã–çB(NKBT 67:359)

Yamato translation   Kudara no kuni yori nigemaukeru hito ari. Midzukara nanorite Kuwishin to ifu. Mata ihaku, Kuwishin ha Kure no kuni no hito nari to ifu. Ihare no Kure no Kotohiki / Sakate no Yakatamaro ra ha, kore sono nochi nari. (NKBT 67:486)

Aston's translation   There was a refugee from Pékchè who gave his name as Kwisin. It was also stated that Kwisin was a man of the Land of Wu. The Ihare no Kure [Note 2] no Kotobiki and the Sakate no Yakata-maro are his descendants. (Aston 1:359)

Kure [Note 2] "Kure is the same as Wu, a part of China. Kotobiki means lute-player. It came to be a proper name."


escape, change, come

The NKBT Yamato translation fuses "escape, change, come" (“¦‰»—ˆ) into a compound verb which retains this sequence of three actions in relation to "from Kudara" (]•SÏ‘). Aston renders this action as an explanation ("refugee"), thus interpreting rather than translating the text. See 300s Shiragians build pond in the Kojiki for a similar three-graph expression.


471-472   Three accounts of Hata and Aya administration
471   Hata dispersed then put under their own titled leader
Nihon shoki 14, Yuryaku 15, 471

Translation   The Hata people [Hada no tami] were dispersed [to local] Omi, Muraji, and others, and each [local offical] according to [his] desire drove and used [them]. [They] did not delegate [entrust, leave] [matters to] the Hata no Miyatsuko. Because of this the Hata no Miyatsuko Sake with excess became distressed [concerned] [became very concerned], and [he] rendered [services] to the sovereign [sumera mikoto > tennō]. The sovereign loved and favored this. [The sovereign] commanded [his ministers] to assemble the Hata people, and [he] granted [them] to the head [kimi] of the Hata no Sake. The head accordingly led and commanded 180 kinds of superior [craftsmen], and [he] offerred and presented tax and tribute of silk and fabrics, and [they] packed and piled [up in] [filled] the court. Consequently [the sovereign] granted [him] the title [kabane] called Utsumasa. < One [text] says, Utsumorimasa, and [this] is a form of everything filling and piling. >

Kanbun   `–¯•ªŽUb˜A“™AŠe—~‹ìŽgB–܈ϐ`‘¢B—R¥A`‘¢ŽðrˆÈˆ×—JAŽ§Žd‰—“VcBXXˆ¤’ž”VBÙãڐ`–¯AŽ’‰—`ŽðŒöBX˜¹—Ì—¦•S”ª\ŽíŸA•òŒ£—f’²Œ¦縑A[Ï’©’ëBˆöŽ’©žHâZ“¤–ƒ²B < ˆê‰]AâZ“¤•ê—˜–ƒ²AŠF‰mÏ”V–e–çB > (NKBT 67:493, 495)

Yamato translation   Hada no tami wo Omi Muraji ra ni akachite, Onoono negahi no manima ni tsukamatsurashimu. Hada no Miyatsuko no yuta ni shimezu. Kore ni yorite, Hada no Miyatsuko Sake, nihesa ni mote urehe to shite, Sumera Mikoto ni tsukahematsuru. Sumera Mikoto, utsukushibi megumitamafu. Mikotonori shite Hata no tami wo torite, Hada no Sake no Kimi ni tamafu. Kimi, yorite momo-amari-yaso no suguri wo hikiwite, chikaratsuki no kinu katori wo tatematsurite, Mikado ni tsumu. Yorite kabane wo tamahite Utsumasa to ifu. < Aru ni ihaku, Utsumorimasa to iheru ha, mina mitetsumeru katachi nari. > (NKBT 67:493-494)

Aston's translation   The Hada House [Note 4] was dispersed. The Omi and Muraji each enforced their services at pleasure, and would not allow the Hada no Miyakko to control them. Consequently Sake, Hada no Miyakko, made a great grievance of this, and took office with the Emperor. The Emperor loved and favored him, and commanded that the Hada House should be assembled and given to Lord Sake of Hada. So this Lord, attended by excellent Be workmen of 180 [Note 1] kinds, presesnted as industrial taxes fine silks, which were piled up so as to fill the Court. Therefore he was granted a title, viz. Udzu-masa. < Some say Udzumori masa, the appearance of all being piled up so as to fill. [Note 2] > (Aston 1:364)

Hada House [Note 4] "Hada. Several families of this name are mentioned in the "Seishiroku." ["(Shinsen) shōjiroku"] They were believed to be descended from She Hwang-Ti, the celebrated Chinese Emperor of the T'sin dynasty, who regined B.C. 221- to 209."

180 [Note 1] "180 is, of course, a fancy number."

Some say Udzumori masa, the appearance of all being piled up so as to fill. [Note 2] "This is an attempt to connect this name with tsumoru, to be piled up."


Utsumasa as Utsumorimasa

As Aston observes, the interlineal comment at the end of this account reflects an effort to name the actor (Utsumasa) after his act (Utsumorimasa). In the comment, "Utsu-mori-masa" is being equated with "mina-mite-tsume" since (1) "utsu" = "mina" (ŠF) meaning "everything", (2) "mori" = "mite" (‰m) meaning "filling" (< mitsu, to fill), and (3) "masa" = "tsume" (Ï) meaning "piling" (< tsumu, to pile). "Mitetsumeru" in the Yamato translation is the attributive form (˜A‘ÌŒ` rentaikei) of "mitetsumu" -- i.e., "mitetsume + ru".

472   Hata people again dispersed and obliged to pay taxes
Nihon shoki 14, Yuryaku 16 Autumn 7, 472-8/9

Translation   [The sovereign] commanded the provinces and districts suitable for mulberries to plant mulberries. [He] again dispersed and moved the Hata people and made them offer tax and tribute.

Kanbun   ÙA‹XŒK‘Œ§BŒKB–”ŽU‘J`–¯AŽgŒ£—f’²B(NKBT 67:495)

Yamato translation   Mikotonori shite, kuha ni yoki kuni agata ni shite kuwa wo uweshimu. Mata Hada no tami wo akachite utsushite, chikaratsuki wo tatematsurashimu. (NKBT 67:494)

Aston's translation   The Emperor ordered those provinces and districts which were suitable for mulberry trees to plant mulberry trees. He again dispersed to other places the Hada House, and made them bring tribute of industrial taxes. (Aston 1:365)

472   Head of Aya guild established and granted title
Nihon shoki 14, Yuryaku 16 Winter 10, 472-11/12

Translation   [The sovereign] commanded [his ministers] to assemble the Aya guild [Ayabe] and establish its Tomo no Miyatsuko. [He] granted [the Aya no Tomo no Miyatsuko clan] the title [kabane] of Atahi.

Kanbun   ÙAãڊ¿•”A’è‘´”º‘¢ŽÒBŽ’©žH’¼B < ˆê‰]AŽ’AŠ¿ŽgŽå“™AŽ’©žH’¼–çB > (NKBT 67:495)

Yamato translation   Mikotonari, "Ayabe wo tsudohete, sono Tomo no Miyatsuko no hito wo sadame yo" to no tamaheri. Kabane wo tamahite Atahe to ifu. < Aru ni ihaku, tamafu to ha, Aya no Omi ra ni, kabane wo tamahite Atahe to ifuzo. > (NKBT 67:494)

Aston's translation   The Emperor ordered the Aya Be to be brought together, and established their Tomo no Miyakko, granting him the title of Atahe. < One book says:--"Granted the Aya no Omi the title of Atahe." > (Aston 1:365)


505   Son of Kudara prince becomes progenitor of Yamato no Kimi
Nihon shoki 16, Buretsu 7 Summer 4, 505-5/6

Translation   The king of Kudara sent prince Shiga and offerred tribute. Separately [he] wrote and said, "Mana, the envoy who previously offerred tribute, was not a [member of the] bone-clan of the head of the country of Kudara. Hence [I] respectfully send Shiga [who] will carry out matters [perform duties, serve] at [your] court." Then [Shiga] had a son, [and he] is called prince Hōshi. [He] is the progenitor of [the] Yamato no Kimi [clan].

Kanbun   •SÏ‰¤Œ­Šú‰äŒNi’²B•Ê•\žHA‘Oi’²Žg–ƒ“ߎҁA”ñ•SÏ‘Žå”Vœ‘°–çBŒÌ‹ÞŒ­Žz‰ä•òŽ–‰—’©B‹—LŽqAžH–@ŽtŒNB¥˜`ŒN”Væ–çB(NKBT 68:17)

Yamato translation   Kudara no Kokishi, Shiga kishi wo madashite, mitsukitatematsuru. Koto ni fumitatematsurite mausaku, "Saki ni mitsukitatematsureru tsukahi Mana ha, Kudara no kuni no nirimu [Note 8] no yakara [Note 9] ni arazu. Kare, tsutsushimite Shiga wo madashite, mikado ni tsukaetatematsurashimu" to mausu. Tsuhi ni ko arite, Hofushi-kishi to ifu. Kore Yamato no Kimi [Note 10] no oya nari. (NKBT 68:16).

nirimu [Note 8] refers to Headnote 36 of the preceding page, which states that "nirimu" (Žå) reflects old Korean "nirim", meaning the "head" of a country (‘Žå). The note suggests that this term is reflected in present-day Korean "nim" (and "im"), which is suffixed to names like "san" in Japanese.

yakara [Note 9] states that "yakara" (œ‘°) or "bone clan" (œ‘° yakara) reflects an old Korean word, in which "ya" means "house" (‰Æ) and "kara" means clan, family, faction and the like, related to Manchurian and Mongolian "hala".

Yamato no Kimi [Note 10] states that "Yamato no kimi" (˜`ŒN) is not seen elsewhere, then cites the following line from the Sakyō shoban (¶‹ž””×) section of the Shōjiroku.


Yamato no Asomi comes from [the line of] king Munei [Munyong], the 18th-generation descendant of king Tobo [Tobo] of the country of Kudara (Paekche).

NKBT Note 10 also observes that Yamato no Asomi was a descendent of Junda [Sunta], a son of Munei [Munyong], and that ordinarily such a rank would follow "Yamato no Fubito" (˜aŽj). Or, it speculates, there may be a link between "Yamato no kimi" and the "Yamato no Asomi".

Aston's translation   The King of Pèkché sent Lord Shika with tribute, and a separate memorial, saying:--"Mana, the previous tribute-messenger, was no relation to the Sovereigns of Pèkché. Therefore I humbly send Shika to wait upon the Court." He eventually had a son named Lord Pöp-să. He was the ancestor of the Kimi of Yamato. (Aston 1:406)


513   Prince Junda (Sunta) passes
Nihon shoki 17, Keitai 7, Fall 8-26, 513-10-13 [11]

Translation   Kudara [Paekche] prince Junda [Sunta] passes away.

Kanbun   •SÏ‘¾Žq~‘ÉåIB(NKBT 68:29)

Yamato translation   Kudara no koniseshimu [Note 13] Junda miusenu. (NKBT 68:28)

koniseshimu [Note 13] glosses the title "koniseshimu" as an old Korean expression. It states that "koni" means "great" (‘å), wonders if "seshimu" means "prince" (‰¤Žq), and says that here the title refers to a "crown prince" (c‘¾Žq).

NKBT Note 13 goes on at length about the Shoku Nihongi account which states that Niigasa [Nihikasa] was a descendant of Prince Junda (the headnote has ƒ‘É rather than ƒ陁). The note alleges that the SN account held Niigasa's ancestors to be "Yamato no Fubito" (˜aŽj), then remarks that "fubito" (Žj) is thought to be too low a kabane (©) for a descendant of a Paekche prince.

Aston's translation   Syun-ta, the eldest son of the King of Pèkché, died. (Aston 2:9)


530   Status of child born in Mimana (Imna) to Kara wife of Yamato man
Nihon shoki 17, Keitai 24 Autumn 9, 530-10/11

Translation   A Mimana [Imna] envoy reported [to the court] and said, "Kena no Omi . . . . [He] does not attend to his official duties. It happens that Yamatoan and Mimanan [Imnan] people often produce children, disputes [concerning such offspring] are difficult to settle, and from the beginning there have not been any competent rulings. Kena no Omi likes to set up trials of boiling water, and says, 'Those who are truthful will not be scalded.' Those who are deceitful will definitely be scalded. Consequently, many have been thrown in boiling water, been scalded, and died. And [he] killed Natari and Shifuri, the Kara [Korea] children of Kibi. < [When] where a Great Yamato person [Yamatoan] has taken as his wife a barbaria [barbarian] woman [a woman of a neighboring (Kara) country] [a Karan woman] there is born [a child], [it] is a Kara child >. . . ."

Mimana is the Yamato reading of ”C“ß, read "Imna" in Sino-Korean.

Mimanan reflects ”C“ߐl, read "Mimana no hito" [people of Mimana (Imna)] in the Yamato translation.

Yamatoan refects “ú–{l read "Yamatohito" [Yamato person] in Yamato or "Nihonjin" [Nihon person, Nipponese, Japanese] in Sino-Japanese. It is generally assumed that, while Chinese graphs were used to represent the names of entities, places, and persons, the names would have been vocalized in Yamato.

Kara child reflects ŠØŽq, read "Karako" in Yamato. See comments on "Karako" below

barbaria woman reflects ”׏— read "tonariguni no me" [woman of neighboring country]. See notes elsewhere on the ramifications of ”× as a term for a peripheral backward territory or "barbaria" -- regarded as such by people who regard their country as the center and source of civilization.

Great Yamato person reflects ‘å“ú–{l read "Oho Yamato no hito" in Yamato, "Dai Nihon no hito" [person of Great Nihon] in mixed Sino-Japanese and Yamato.

Kanbun   ”C“ߎg‘t‰]A–Ñ–ìb . . . Bœïãã­àBৈȓú–{läo”C“ߐlA•pˆÈ™Z‘§Aæy×“AŒ³–³”\”»B–Ñ–ìbžÙ’u¾“’žHA›‰ŽÒ•sࣁB‹•ŽÒ•KࣁB¥ˆÈA“Š“’࣎€ŽÒOB–”ŽE‹g”õŠØŽq“ß‘½—˜EŽz•z—˜A < ‘å“ú–{lA›W”׏—Š¶Aਊ؎q–ç > B. . . B(NKBT 68:43, 45)

Yamato translation   Mimana no tsukahimaushite mausaku, "Kena no omi, . . . . Matsurigoto wo kiku ni yosohoshimisu. Koko ni Yamatohito to, Mimana no hito to no, shikiri ni koumeru wo mote, aragafu koto sadamegataki wo mote, hajime yori kotowaru koto nashi. Kena no Omi, konomite ukehiyu okite ihaku, 'Makoto naramu mono ha tadarezu. Itsuhari aramu mono ha kanarazu tadaremu' to ifu. Koko wo mote, yu ni meshite tadareshinuru mono ohoshi. Mata Kibi no Karako Natari, Shifuri wo koroshi, < Oho Yamato no hito, tonariguni no me wo torite umeru wo, Karako to su > . . . . (NKBT 68:43-44)

Aston's translation   An envoy from Imna made representation to the Emperor, saying:--" . . . . [Keno no Omi] is remiss in the discharge of his Governmental duties. Now there are frequent disputes between the people of Japan and the people of Imna respecting children, which are difficult to settle. None of these has ever been decided. Kena no Omi is fond of setting (the caldrons for) the ordeal of boiling water, and saying:--'Those who are in the right will not be scalded: those who are false will certainly be scalded.' Owing to this many persons have been scalded to death by plunging into the hot water. Moreover he has put to death Natari and Sapuri, Corean children of Kibi." < The children born of Japanese marriages with barbarian women were accounted Kara-ko. > . . . (Aston 2:22)


See 6th century in Before nationality: Being Japanese from antiquity to Meiji for a fuller discussion of the this account and its context.


"Kara" (ŠØ) could mean "Korea" generally but probably refers only to the several smaller countries that were part of or near Mimana on the southernmost part of the peninsula with which Yamato was most intimately engaged. These countries included Kaya (‰¾–ë, ‰¾倻), which is often equated with ‰Á—… (Kara), which is sometimes the name for the entire group of smaller countries that partly or entirely formed Mimana.

The "ko" (Žq) could mean "child" or "offspring" without regard to sex, but in many classical and even in some present-day contexts it refers to a patrilineal male descendant or son.

The "kara" (ŠØ) of Karako (ŠØŽq) is the "han" of Hanguk (ŠØ‘ 한국) and the "kan" of Kankoku (ŠØ‘ ‚©‚ñ‚±‚­), the Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese names for the Republic of Korea. There was, of course, no "Korea" at the time -- north, south, east, or west. In fact, the term ŠØ‘ (Karakuni) appears in Nihon shoki only as part of the personal name of a servant of the court.

A 672 account in Nihon shoki reports the feats of Iki no Fubito Karakuni (šãŠêŽjŠØš ), who is described only as a general of Ōmi (‹ß] Afumi) province (NS 28, Tenmu 1-7-23, 672-8-24 [21], NKBT 68:400-405, Aston 2:315-318).

The term "Karako" appears in earlier (464 and 465) accounts of the Nihon shoki as the name of Soga no Karako no Sukune (‘h‰äŠØŽqh”H), an ancestor of the Sogas who figured so prominently in the turbulent birth of Japan from a Yamato belly impregnated by India through China, and by China through Korea. See Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for an account of the fate of Soga no Karako's descendants, a few of which also had Koreanesque names.


540   Kochifu from Kudara (Paekche) settled in Yamamura
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 1-2, 540-2/3

Translation   Kudara [Paekche] person Kochifu throws [submits, presents] [himself] [to the sovereign, the court] and changes [his allegiance]. [The sovereign, the court] puts him in Yamamura in Sofunokami district [Note A] in Yamato province. [He] is the ancestor of the present Kochifu of Yamamura.

Kanbun   •SÏlŒÈ’m•”“Š‰»B’u˜`‘“YãŒSŽR‘ºB¡ŽR‘ºŒÈ’m•””Væ–çB(NKBT 68:65)

Yamato translation   Kudara no hito Kochifu, onodzukara maukeri. Yamato no kuni no Sofunokami no Kohori no Yamamura ni haberashimu. Ima no Yamamura no Kochifu no oya nari. (NKBT 68:64)

Aston's translation   A man of Pèkché named Kwi-chi-pu came over as an emigrant. He was settled in Yamamura, in the district of Sofu no Kami, in the province of Yamato. He was the ancestor of the present Kochifu [Note 3] of Yamamura. (Aston 2:38)

Kochifu   Aston Note 3 says "The tradition Japanese rendering of the Corean name Kwuichipu."



Translate Note A   Sofunokami district (“YãŒS Sofu-no-kami no koori) in Yamato province corresponds to present-day Soekami district (“YãŒS Soekami gun) in Nara prefecture. Apparently the name of the area was originally transcribed ‘\•z (‚»‚Ó) or ‘w•x (‚»‚Ù) in Chinese script. The area was divided into upper (kami) and lower (shimo) parts that would translate "Upper Sofu" and "Lower Sofu". The name came be transcribed with “Y, because this graph was used to represent the intransitive verb "sofu" (“Y‚Ó), which is "sou" (“Y‚¤) in present-day orthography. "Soe" reflects the root of the transitive form "soeru" (< seheru).

Sofunokami / Soekami district / was the heart of Yamato province. From the start of the Meiji period in 1868, it included Nara-machi. From 1889, the town of Nara became a city, and as such it became independent of the county government.

A long process of mergers and annexations of remnant villages and towns further eroded the county until, by 1968, it consisted of only one village. This village had a population of fewer than 2,000 people in 2005 when it was incorporated into Nara city -- at which point the district ceased to exist, the child having consumed the last of its parent.


540   Emishi and Hayato affiliate with the court
Nihon shoki, Kinmei 1-3, 540

Translation   Emishi and Hayato, together leading their people, submitted and attached [themselves to the court].

Kanbun   ‰ÚˆÎE”¹lA•À—¦OŸd•B(NKBT 68:65)

NHBT   Emishi, Hayahito, narabi ni tomogara o wite maukishitagafu. (NKBT 68:64)

NHBT   The Yemishi and the Hayato, both bringing their people with them, came and rendered allegiance. (Aston 2:38)


540   Hata and Aya titles
Nihon shoki, Kinmei 1-8, 540-9/10

Translation   Komans [Koryoans], Kudarans [Paekcheans], Shiragians [Sillans], and Mimanans [Imnans], together sent envoys and offerings, and together presented tribute and services. [The sovereign] summoned and assembled [people of] various barbarias [who] had thrown and changed, Hatans [Hatahito], Ayans [Ayahito], and others, and peacefully placed [settled] [them] in the provices and districts, and made and enrolled [them in] household registers. The number of Hatan [Hatahito] households was 7,053 households. [The sovereign] made Hata no Tomo no Miyatsuko the Director of Treasury.

Kanbun   ‚—íE•SàZEV—…E”C“߁A•ÀŒ­ŽgàفA•ÀCvEB¢W`lEŠ¿l“™A””דŠ‰»ŽÒAˆÀ’uš ŒSA•ÒŠÑŒËÐB`lŒËÉAã`ŽµçŒÜ\ŽOŒËBˆÈ‘ååUAਐ`”º‘¢B(NKBT 68:65)

Yamato translation   KomaEKudaraEShirakiEMimana, narabi ni tsukahi wo madashite monotatematsuri, narabi ni mitsuki tatematsuru. HadahitoEAyahito ra, tonari no kuni no onodzukara maukeru hito wo meshitsudohete, kuni kohori ni haberashimete, he no fumita [Note 29] ni tsuku. Hadahito no he no kazu, subete nanachi-he-amari-iso-amari-mi-he. Ohkura no fubito wo mote, Hada no Tomo no Miya-tsu-ko to shitamafu. (NKBT 68:65)

Aston's translation   Koryö, Pèkché, Silla and Imna all sent envoys together to render tribute. The men of T'sin and of Han, etc., the emigrants from the various frontier nations were assembled together, settled in the provinces and districts, and enrolled in the registers of population. The men of T'sin [Note 4] numbered in all 7053 houses. The Director of the Treasury was made Hada no Tomo [Note 1] no Miyakko. (Aston 2:38-39)


NKBT Note 29 refers to end note 19-4 (page 551), which makes the following observation about ŒËÐ (koseki, he no fumita).

Ledgers (’ •ë chōbo) in which [officials] have recorded the names (–¼ na), ages, and family relations et cetera of the people (l–¯ jinmin) for each single household (ˆêŒË‚²‚Æ‚É ikko-goto ni) [we today] usually call household registers (ŒËÐ).

The note goes on the embrace accounts in 569 [Nihon shoki Kinmei 30-1-1, Kinmei 30-4] concerning the enforcement of customs of enrolling families that cultivated fields for the purpose of collecting taxes in kind. It then points to the part of the Taika reforms of 646 concerning the establishment of household registers (see 646 Household registers).

Aston Note 4 makes the following observation.

T'sin and Han are the Chinese dynasties so called. These men must have been recent emigrants from China to Corea, or their near descendants who had not yet been merged in the general population. This statement throws light on Japanese ethnology. It shows that not only the upper classes, as appears from the "Seishiroku," [i.e., Shinsen shōjiroku] but the common people contained a large foreign (Chinese and Corean) element.

Aston Note 1 says "T'sin is called Hada in Japanese."

[people of] various barbarias [who] had thrown and changed reflects ””דŠ‰», which is translated in Yamato as "tonari no kuni no onodzukara maukeru hito" meaning "people of neighboring countries who came [the the court] of their own accord [as a matter of course]".

various barbarias reflects ””×, the Chinese term for neighboring or remote un-Sinified lands and/or their inhabitants. The Yamato expression "tonari no kuni" means "countries of neighbors" or "neighboring countries".

Aston translates ””× as "the various frontier nations". While "frontier" might be suitable as a description of Emishi and other lands that were "frontiers" in relationship to Yamato, it is an odd reference to "nations" on the peninsula or continent at the time.

For more about ””× and related terms, see "Ban" as in barbaria.

throw and change reflects “Š‰», meaning "throw" oneself on the court, as when surrendering or otherwise submitting oneself to the court's authority, and "change" one's affiliation or allegiance by embracing the court's authority and the customs of the land. The Yamato expression "onodzukara mauku" describes the action of a person of lower status who "approaches and comes [to the court] on one's own accord [as a matter of course]".

For more about “Š‰» and related terms, see "Kika" and "toka".

Aston translates the phrase "emigrants", which degrades the verb to a noun, but also warps the viewpoint of the action from that of the court to that of the people described as having come to the court in order to submit.

made and enrolled [them] in household registers reflects •ÒŠÑŒËÐ. The Yamato translation is "he no fumita ni tsuku", meaning "attach to [place on] a record board". A "fumita" (ŽDAŠÈ) was literally a strip of bamboo or board (” ita) on which the script for some sort of written record (•¶ fumi) was brushed. The word is now pronounced "fuda" as in "nafuda" (–¼ŽD) or "name tag".


541   Ki no Omi Nasochi's paternity
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 2 Autumn 7, 541-8/9

Translation   Kudara [Paekche], hearing that the government of Yamato in Ara and Shiraki [Silla] had been circulating plans, dispatched Forepart Nasochi Birimakuko, [Forepart] Nasochi Senmon, Midpart Nasochi Mokura Maijun, and Ki no Omi Nasochi Mimasa, and others, < As for Ki no Omi Nasochi, perhaps [he] is someone who was given birth by [born to] a Kara [Korean] woman Ki no Omi took for a wife, and consequently remained in Kudara, and became a Nasochi. [Historians] have not yet clarified the [his] father. [The] others all effect [result in, are like, follow] this. > sent them to Ara, and summoned [those who] executed matters [officials, stewards, agents] of Mimana who had arrived in Shiraki [Silla], and had [them] scheme and build [establish] Mimana [Imna]. [The Kudara envoys in Silla] separately took the [incident of] the Kafuchi no Atahi of the government of Yamato in Ara, circulating plans with Shiraki [Silla], and deeply blamed and scolded [rebuked] him.

< Kudara honki [Original records of Paekche] say Kafuchi no Atahi [Kōchi (Kawachi) no Atai], Ake Enashi, Saro Matsu, et cetera. [Historians have] not yet clarified [them]. > . . . [Omitted].

Kanbun   •SÏ•·ˆÀ—…“ú–{•{—^V—…’ÊŒvAŒ­‘O•”“Þ—¦•@—˜”œŒÃE“Þ—¦é•¶E’†•”“Þ—¦–Øú„–†~E‹Ib“Þ—¦–í–ƒ¹“™A < ‹Ib“Þ—¦ŽÒAŠW¥‹Ib›WŠØ•wŠ¶Aˆö—¯•SÏAˆ×“Þ—¦ŽÒ–çB–¢Ú‘´•ƒB‘¼ŠFŒøŸ–çB > Žg˜°ˆÀ—…A¢“žV—…”C“ߎ·Ž–A敌š”C“߁B•ÊˆÈˆÀ—…“ú–{•{‰Í“à’¼A’ÊŒvV—…A[Ó”l”VB < •SÏ–{‹L‰]A‰Á•sŽŠ”ï’¼Eˆ¢Œ«ˆÚ“ߎzE²˜D–ƒ“s“™B–¢Ú–çB > . . . [Omitted]B(NKBT 68:73)

Yamato translation   Kudara, Ara no Yamato no Mikotomochi to Shiraki to hakarikoto wo kayohasu wo kikite, Zenhou [Note 3] Nasochi [Note 4] BirimakukoENasochi SenmonEChiuhou [Note 7] Nasochi Mokura MaijunEKi no Omi Nasochi Mimasara wo tsukahashite, < Ki no Omi Nasochi ha, kedashi koro Ki no Omi no, Kara no womina wo torite umeru tokoro, yorite Kudara ni todomarite, Nasochi to nrereu mono nari. Imada sono kazo wo tsubahiraka ni sezu. Atashi mo mina kore ni narahe. > Ara ni tsukahi shite, Shiraki ni itareru Mimana no Tsukasa wo meshite, Mimana wo tatemu koto wo hakarashimu. Koto ni Ara no Yamato no Mikotomochi no Kafuchi no Atahi no, hakarikoto wo Shiraki ni kayohosu wo mote, fukaku semenoru. < Kudara honki ni ihaku, Kafuchi no AtahiEAke EnashiESaro Matsu ra to ifu. Imada tsubahirakanarazu. > . . . [Omitted]. (NKBT 68:72)

Zenhou and Chiuhou   NKBT Notes 3 and 7 gloss Zenhō (Fore-part) and Chū (Mid-part) as two of the five regions of Kudara [Paekche] at the time, the others being the Down-part, Up-part, and Hind-part.

Nasochi   NKBT Note 4 glosses Nasochi as the 6th of 16 Paekche cap ranks.

Aston's translation   Pèkché, hearing that the (Japanese) authorities of Ara were intriguing with Silla, sent Pirimakko, Nasol of the Senior division, the Nasol Syön-mun, the Nasol of the middle division, Mok-Hiöp Mèsyun, and Ki no Omi, < The Nasol Ki no Omi was probably the son of Ki no Omi by a marriage with a Corean woman, who therefore remained in the country and was made Nasol by Pèkché. It is not clear who his father was. Other cases all follow this rule. > the Nasol Mimasya, on a mission to Ara, to summon to them the agents of Silla and Imna, and to concert measures for the establishment of Imna. He separately reproved Kahachi no Atahe, the chief Japanese authority of Ara, roundly for intriguing with Silla. < The Pèkché "Original Record" has Kapuchipi Atahe Akyöninasăcharomato. This is not clear. > . . . [Omitted]. (Aston 2:44)



Ara (ˆÀ—…) was one of several small countries that formed the federation known as Kaya. At the time of this account, Aya was apparently the center of Kaya, which is closely associated if not equated with Mimana [Imna]. The area is now associated with the district of Haman (™÷ˆÀ), immediately north of the city of Masan, in the Republic of Korea.

Masan, on the coast, is even more closely associated with Mimana, which is thought to have existed roughly between present-day Masan and Pusan, a port town to the east. The coast in this area is directly exposed to the Tsushima. The islands, among the original Yamato territories created by the gods, later a province and now part of Nagasaki prefecture, still serve as a navigation point and refuge for vessels crossing the straits between the nearest ports of Japan and ROK.

The Nihon shoki describes the destruction of Mimana [Imna] by Shiragi [Silla] in 562 (an interlineal annotation says 560 according to another source). With the fall of Mimana, the Kayan countries cease to exist.

After 562, Yamato's presence on the peninsula is effectively limited to its support of Kudara [Paekche] against Shiragi, which is allied with Tang when not defending itself from Chinese forces. The fall of Kudara to Shiragi, and the withdrawal of Yamato forces from the peninsula, is described in 663.

The years 562 and 663 thus punctuate the recorded arrivals in Yamato of numerous people, including many refugees, from the embattled peninsula.


544   Saro Matsu's divided loyalties
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 5-3, 544-4/5

Translation   . . . [This] loyal servant deeply regrets this, [that] Saro Matsu, though of a Kara [Korean] belly, stood in and occupied [held] [the rank of] Ōmuraji. [He] mingles among [with] [those who] execute matters [officials, stewards, agents] of Yamato, and [he] enters [joins, belongs to] the kind [ranks] of the prosperous division [group, class] that is esteemed and flourishes. And now [he] oppositely attaches [wears] a Shiragi [Silla] Namare cap [rank]. So [as to whom] his body and heart are allegiant, to others [the cap] readily illuminates [shows]. [When] thoroughly observing where [he] acts [what he does], [he] has no fear or dread. Therefore [I] previously reported [to you] [his] bad conduct, and recorded [what] had [been] heard. Now still he attaches [wears] the clothes of others [Shiragians], and day [after day] he proceeds to the region of Shiragi [Silla], and publicly and privately goes and returns, and there is no place he shirks.

Kanbun   . . . b[œô”VA²˜D–ƒ“sA嫐¥ŠØ• AˆÊ‹‘å˜AB›ø“ú–{Ž·Ž–”VŠÔA“ü‰h”Ç‹M·”V—áBŽ§¡”½’˜V—…“Þ–ƒ—犥B‘¦gS‹A•A‰—‘¼ˆÕÆBnŠÏŠìA“s–³•|ˆØBŒÌ‘O‘tˆ«sA‹ï˜^•·æ^B¡—P’˜‘¼•žA“ú•‹V—…ˆæAŒöŽ„‰ŠÒA“s–³ŠœÝB. . . (NKBT 87)

Yamato translation   . . . Yatsukare, fukaku odzuraku ha, Saro Matsu, kore Karakuni no umaretari [Note 8] to iedomo, kurawi Ohomuraji [Note 9] ni wori. Yamato no tsukasa no ahida ni majiharite, sakae tanoshiki tsura ni kuhahareri. Ima kaherite Shiraki no Namare [Note 11] no kauburi wo kitari. Sunahachi kokoro no shitagahitsuku tokoro ha, hito ni arahare yasushi. Tsuratsura suru tokoro wo miru ni, katsute odziosoruru koto nashi. Kare, saki ni ashiki waza wo mausu ni, tsubusa ni shirushite kikoeteki. Ima mo nao hito no kuni no kimono [Note 13] wo kite, hibi ni Shiraki no sakahi ni yuku koto, araha ni shinobi ni kayofu ni, katsute habakaru tokoro nashi. . . . (NKBT 68:86)

Karakuni no umaretari   NKBT Note 8 observes that (1) the Nihon shoki tūshō (“ú–{‘‹I’ʏØ), a 1762 work by Tanikawa Kotosuga (’JìŽm´ 1709-1776), takes this to mean that Saro Matsu was a "Kudaran [Paekchean]" (•SÏl), while (2) the Shoki shūge (‘‹IW‰ð), a 1785 work by Kawamura Hidene (‰Í‘ºGª 1723-1792) takes it to mean that he was a "Yamatoan born to a Korean wife [of a Yamato man]" (ŠØ•wŠ¶‚Ì“ú–{l), but (3) the former is perhaps the case, in view of the interlineal note in Kinmei 2 Autumn 7, which cites particulars about Saro Matsu from a Kudara source (see 541 Ki no Omi Nasochi for the full account).

Ohomuraji   NKBT Note 9 says that whether there were people of Ōmuraji (‘å˜A Ohomuraji, Oomuraji) rank at the the Yamato government office (“ú–{•{ Yamato no mikotomochi) is not clear. Because Matsu (–ƒ“s) was of lower rank than Ikuha no Omi (“Ib), Kibi no Omi (‹g”õb), and Kafuchi no Atahi, he would not have been of a status so high as to compare to Ōmuraji.

Namare   NKBT Note 11 say that this is taken to be the same as "Nama" (“Þ–ƒ), the 11th of 17 Shiragi [Silla] cap ranks.

hito no kuni no kimono   Note 13 glosses this as meaning "Siragi [Silla] gowns and caps" (V—…‚̈ߊ¥). Whereas ‰—‘¼ is translated "hito ni" (to others), ‘¼•ž is translated "hito no kuni no kimono". The implication of the Yamato translation is that "others" refers to the people of another country, meaning a country of people who are not allegiants of Yamato and therefore could not be expected to be loyal to Yamato.

"Hito" is also commonly used today mean "others" in the sense of someone other than oneself, as in the expression "hitogoto" (lŽ–A‘¼lŽ–), or "something that concerns [happens to] others". The Yamato reading of ‘¼l is "adashi hito" (‘¼‚µl) meaning "a person who is different" or "a person who is empty, futile, vain, unavailing, fruitless, wavering, fickle, uncertain", and "adabito" (‘¼lA“kl) means "someone who's heart easily changes, a fickle person without a true heart" (Kōpjien).

Aston's translation   . . . This state of things is viewed by thy servant with profound apprehension. Cha-no-ma-to, although the son of a Corean mother, holds the position of Ohomuraji and takes precedence among the Agents of Japan, entering the ranks of the noble and honourable. And yet he now wears the cap of the Silla official rank of Namanyé, [Note 1] from which it may be readily seen that he is devoted to that country body and soul. When his conduct is maturely observed, there is no sign at all of awe or dread. Therefore I formerly reported to Your Majesty his evil deeds, setting them out fully for your information. Now he still wears a foreign dress and daily goes to the Silla borders, journeying back and forward publicly or privately without any fear whatever. The downfall of the Tök [Note 2] country was owing to no other cause than this. . . . (Aston 2:54-55)

Namanyé   Aston Note 1 says "Nama was a Silla official rank."

Tök   Aston Note 2 says "The Tök country is doubtless the same as Tök-kwi-than frequently named above, e.g. XVII. 18."


556   Kara and Koma people become field guilds of court granaries
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 17 Winter 10, 556-11/12

Translation   [The sovereign] dispatched Soga no Ōomi Iname no Sukune and others to Takechi district in Yamato province, [to] establish the Karan [Karahito] Ōmusa (‘åg‹· Ohomusa) storehouse < Where [it] says Karan [it] is [means] Kudara. > [and] the Koman [Komabito] Omusa (¬g‹· Womusa) storehouse. [And to] to Ki province to establish a sea guild storehouse. < One book says: [They] took Karans (Karahito) [from] various places and made [them] Ōmusa storehouse field guilds. [And took] Komans (Komabito) and made [them] Omusa storehouse field guilds. This means [they] took Karans and Komans [and] made [them] field guilds. [And] for [this] reason [they] made [gave] [the places] the name of [court] granaries. >

Kanbun   Œ­‘h‰ä‘åbˆî–ڏh”H“™‰—˜`‘‚ŽsŒSA’uŠØl‘åg‹·“Ô‘q < Œ¾ŠØlŽÒ•SÏ–çB > ‚—íl¬g‹·“Ô‘qB‹I‘’uŠC•”“Ô‘qB < ˆê–{‰]AˆÈˆXŠØlAˆ×‘åg‹·“Ô‘q“c•”B‚—ílˆ×¬g‹·“Ô‘q“c•”B¥‘¦ˆÈŠØlE‚—ílˆ×“c•”BŒÌˆöˆ×“Ô‘q”V†–çB > (NKBT 68:117, 119)

Yamato translation   Soga no Ohoomi Iname no Sukune ra wo Yamato no kuni no Takechi no kohori [Note 27] ni tsukahashite, Karahito no Wohomusa no miyake [Note 28] < Ifu kokoro ha Karahito ha Kudara nari. > Komabito no Womusa no miyake wo okashimu. Kinokuni ni Ama no miyake [Note 29] wo oku. < Aru fumi ni ihaku, tokorodokoro no Karahito wo mote, Ohomusa no miyake no tabe [Note 1] ni su. Komabito wo Womusa no miyake no tabe ni su. Kore ha KarahitoEKomabito wo mote tabe ni su. Kare yorite miyake no na to su to ifu. > (NKBT 68:117-118)

Takechi no kohori   NKBT Note 27 identifies Takechi as a new name for a district which had been called Imaki ¡—ˆ in an entry dated just ten years earlier (NS 19, Kinmei 7 Autumn 7, 546-8/9, NKBT 68:94, note 12). "Imaki" is supposed to mean "recently arrived".

Karahito no Wohomusa no miyake   NKBT Note 28 states that Karahito (ŠØl) means Chōsenjin (’©‘Nl), i.e., Chosenese (Koreans), and that g‹· (Musa) was also written –´² (Musa). Musa is now part of Mise-chō (Œ©£’¬) in Kashihara city in Nara prefecture. See comments on "Mise Maruyama Kofun" below.

Ama no miyake   NKBT Note 29 identifies ŠC•” (ama) with a seacoast (ŠC•Ó umibe) in Wakayama city of present-day Wakayama prefecture, on the tip of the Kii peninsula, formerly Kinokuni (‹I‘), Kiinokuni (‹IˆÉ‘), and ‹IB (Kishū).

"ama" versus "amabe"

The Yamato translation renders ŠC•” as "ama" rather than "amabe", which would signify "sea guilds". Compare "amabe" (ŠC•”) with "yamabe" (ŽR•”), meaning "mountain guilds". These terms referred to people who lived along coasts or in or near mountains who paid the court tribute in the form of products from the sea or mountains.

The term "ama" alone (ŠClAå‰) is also a short form of "amabito" (ŠClA剐l), which generally refers to people who harvest fish, shellfish, or seaweed. The graphs ŠC— (ama, amame) refer more specifically to "seawomen" or "mermaids" who dive for shellfish and seaweed.

tabe   NKBT Note 1 refers to an earlier headnote that glosses "tabe" (“c•”) as "farmers who cultivate the [paddy] fields of a [court] storehouse [granary]" (NS 18, Ankan 1-10-15, 534-11-8 [6], NKBT 68:51, note 23).

Aston's translation   Soga no Oho-omi, Iname no Sukune and others were sent to the district of Takechi in Yamato to establish the Miyake of Ohomusa of Coreans < by Coreans is meant Pèkché people > and the Miyake of Womusa of Koryo men. The Miyake of Ama in the Land of Ki was established in the Land of Ki. < One writing says:--"The Coreans of various places were made serfs of the Miyake of Ohomusa and the Koryö men were made serfs of the Miyake of Womusa. It was in consequence of the appointment of the Coreans and Koryö men as serfs that these places were styled Miyake." [Note 2] > (Aston 2:78-79)

Aston Note 2 "It would appear from this that it was essential to a Miyake to have a number of serfs attached to it. Possibly ŠØl in this passage should be rendered Kara men instead of Coreans.



Aston translates the term “c•” (tabe) as "serfs" and renders ŠC•” as only "Ama". I am following Sansom and others in regarding a •” (be) as a "guild" -- hence, here, "field guild" and "sea guild".

By "guild" I mean a group of people who have been organized to collectively produce various goods or wares, a portion of which would be given to the court as tribute or tax in kind.

In the above account, as in many similar accounts in the Nihon shoki, it is clear that the organizing force was the court. As the court extended its authority to a locality, it dispatched officials to establish storehouses for collecting tribute or taxes in kind from its inhabitants. First, however, the inhabitants had to be organized in a way that would facilitate not only their work -- whether it be cultivating rice or collecting and drying seaweed -- but also the collection and storage of the portion of the products of their labor that was due the court.

The inhabitants of an existing locality would, of course, already have organized themselves to produce whatever they could. The manner of organization, however, might not serve the purposes of the court, which was to collect tribute. Moreover, the court was in a position to settle or resettle people in areas where they would have to build new fields.

In the above example, it is clear that the people from Kara and Koma are being organized into guilds for the purpose of cultivating fields, old or new, to produce rice that would then be stored for distribution or other use by the court. This suggests that there were quite a few such people in the area, who apparently were of social status that would warrant their treatment as field workers.

Mise Maruyama Kofun

Kashihara city embraces the former province of Yamato and the place where Jinmu is supposed to have established his first court. The site of Fujiwarakyō (“¡Œ´‹ž), the capital of Yamato from 694 to 710, is also in the city. For these and other reasons, Kashihara is arguably the heartland of ancient Japan.

Squatting on the boundary of Mise and two other chō in the city is a front-square, back-round, so-called "keyhole" tumulus called Mise Maruyama Kofun (Œ©£ŠÛŽRŒÃ•­). The largest such tomb in Nara prefecture and the sixth largest in Japan, it is roughly 318 meters long and 210 meters at its widest in front. The front part is 15 meters high. The found in back is 155 meters in diameter and 21 meters at its summit.

Archaeologists have dated the Mise Maruyama tomb to the 6th century, and not a few scholars believe it to be the mausoleum of none other than Kinmei and his favorite squeeze, Soga no Kitashihime. Officially, however, Kinmei and Kitashihime are buried in the Umeyama Kofun (”~ŽRŒÃ•­) in neithboring Asuka village (–¾“ú‘º). Some scholars, though, contend that the Umeyama tomb, with length of only 140 meters and 72-meter diameter mound, is the resting place of Soga no Iname, Kinmei's highest official and multiple father-in-law.

Asuka village shares a border with Kashihara city and rivals the city as a cauldron of Yamato history. The village is part of Takachi county (‚ŽsŒS), which now has only one other municipality. Kashihara city was formed in 1956 out of several villages and towns that until then were part of Takachi.

Kitashihime, a daughter of Soga no Iname, was the mother of a dozen of Kinmei's children, including the future Yōmei and Suiko. Kinmei also kept her sister Oane no Kimi busy producing half a dozen kids, including Sushun and the mother of Shōtoku Taishi, whose father was Yōmei.

See Soga Soga family tree: Soga influence from Kinmei to Kanmu for all the incestuous details.


562   Shiragi (Silla) overthrows Mimana (Imna)
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 23 Spring 1, 562-1/2

Translation   Shiragi strikes and ruins [overthrows] the Miyake [Yamato territory] of Mimana.

Kanbun   V—…‘Å–Å”C“ߊ¯‰ÆB < ˆê–{‰]B“ñ\ˆê”NA”C“ß–ÅàBšŒ¾”C“߁B•ÊŒ¾‰Á—…‘BˆÀ—…‘BŽz“ñŠò‘B‘½—…‘B‘²–ƒ‘BŒÃšl‘BŽq‘¼‘BŽU”¼‰º‘BŒî飡m™q{Hn‘B–«—獑B‡\‘B > (NKBT 68:119)

Yamato translation   Shiraki, Mimana no Miyake [Note 21] wo uchihoroboshitsu. < Aru fumi ni iwaku, [hatachi-amari-hito-toshi] ni, Mimana horobu to ifu. Subete ha Mimana to ihi, wakite ha Kara no kuni, Ara no kuni, Tara no kuni, Sochima no kuni, Kosa no kuni, Shita no kuni, Sanhange no kuni, Kochisan no kuni, Nimure no kuni to ifu, ahasete towo no kuni nari. > (NKBT 68:119)

Mimana no Miyake   NKBT Note 21 states that "Mimana no Miyake" is the same as "Mimana" and refers to a long supplementary note to Kan 18-13 (pages 550-552), which glosses the "miyake" as meaning originally a residence, granary, or such facility belonging to the Yamato court, but that it also came to be used to mean a military base. However, as used in several accounts in Kinmei and elsewhere, in reference to Kudara and the various Mimana countries, it referred to the countries themselves. The idea is that, as tributary countries, they were analogous to the court-established facilities in Yamato, which stored rice and other products and wares that were given to the court as tribute or tax in kind.

Aston's translation  

Silla destroyed the Miyake of Imna. < One writing says:--"21st year. Imna was destroyed. The general term Imna includes the provinces called separately kara, Ara, Saiki, Tara, Cholma, Kochhi, Chatha, Sanpanha, Kwison, and Imnyé, in all ten provinces." [Note 2] > (Aston 2:80)


Tongguk t'onggam

The text enclosed in < angle brackets > is an interlineal note, which alludes to another source, apparently no longer extant. Whatever this source, it was not Tongguk t'onggam, which as Aston points out, says nothing about the involvement of Yamato in the Silla conqeust of the Kaya clans.

Aston Note 2 consists of long citation of an account of Silla's conquest of Great Kaya from the "Tongkam" (Vol. V. p. 21). The year is the same, but where Nihon shoki has "Spring, 1st month" the Tongguk t'onggam (“Œš ’ÊŠÓ) (1498) has "Autumn, 9th". After the citation he notes "It will be observed that there is not a word here about Japan."

To what degree Yamato exercised control over any territory on the peninsula is a major point of contention between accounts in the early Yamato chronologies and contemporary Korean histories, on which the 1498 Korean chronicle was based. However, the fact that the compilers of the Yamato chronologies included people of partly Korean descent, and spoke so frankly the diplomatic exchanges between Yamato and the various Korean states, and about the wars which had driven their anecstors to Yamato, suggests that Yamato was seriously involved in the affairs of the closest Korean states.

Tongguk t'onggam was probably inspired by the 1084 Chinese history, Zizhi Tongian (Ž‘Ž¡’Êèg Tzu-chih T'ung-chien), meaning "Mirror passing everywhere through [reflecting everything about] aiding rule" or "Comprehensive mirror for aiding government". Accordingly, its title would imply that it is a "Comprehensive mirror [for aiding in the government] of the Eastern Country". "Mirror" still enjoys wide currency as a metaphor for model or standard, as of conduct and behavior.


562 Shiragi (Silla) enemy aliens remain and become subjects
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 23 Autumn 7-1, 562-8-18 [16]

Translation   Shiragi [Silla] had dispatched envoys to offer tribute and taxes. When these envoys came to know [learned] that Shiragi had destroyed Imana [Imna], [they] were embarrassed for having shouldered the country's [court's] [Yamato's] benevolence, and did not dare request to leave. Thereupon they remained and did not return to [their] root [original, principal] soil [land, country] [place of origin]. [They came] to parallel and be the same as the hundred surnames [common people] of the house [family] of provinces [countries] [court, state]. They are the progenitors of the Shiragians [Shiraki no hito] in the hamlet of Uno in the county of Sarara in the province of Kawachi now.

When these envoys came to know [learned]   I am following the interpretation -- implicit in context of the kanbun text, explicit in the Yamato translation, and expressed in NKBT Note 3 to the Yamato translation -- that the Shiragi envoys had been sent to Yamato, and might well have already arrived, before the fall of Mimana to Shiragi forces. See comments on "Breaking news and enemy aliens" below.

Kanbun   V—…Œ­ŽgŒ£’²•ŠB‘´Žgl’mV—…–Å”C“߁A’p”w‘‰¶A•sŠ¸¿”ëB‹—¯•s‹A–{“yB—ᓯ‘‰Æ•S©B¡‰Í“à‘XrŒS鸕鷀–ì—WV—…l”Væ–çB(NKBT 68:123)

Yamato translation   Shiraki, tsukahi wo madashite mitsukimono wo tatematsuru. Sono tsukahi, Shiraki, Mimana wo horoboshitsu to shiritareba, mikado no megumi ni somukeru koto wo hadzite, ahete makaramu to mausazu. Tsuhi ni todomarite moto no kuni ni kaherazu. Ato, mikado no ohomitakara ni onaji. Ima Kafuchi no kuni no Sarara no kohori [Note 4] no Uno no sato no Shiraki no hito no oya nari. (NKBT 68:122)

Sarara no kohori NKBT Note 4 cites several other accounts in which the names Sarara and Uno appear, sometimes differently graphed, but is unable to fix a clear location of Uno. The note ends with a citation of an item in the Shinsen Shōjiroku, about Unu no Muraji, the head of a clan affiliated with the province of Kawachi (‰Í“à‘) but classified as a clan of uncertain miscellaneous title (–¢’èŽG©), who is said to be "a descendant of Shiragi no seshimu [prince] Kin Teikō (‹à’ë‹»)" (SS 1161).

Aston's translation   Silla sent envoys to offer tribute. These envoys knew of the destruction of Imna by Silla, but, ashamed of the offence against national gratitude, they did not dare to ask leave to depart. Eventually they remained, and did not return to their own land, but were made to take rank as subjects of the State. They were the ancestors of the Silla men of the village of Uno in the district of Sarara in the province of Kahachi. (Aston 2:83)


Breaking news and enemy aliens

As I write this in the 21st century, it is difficult to conceive the time it took for "news" to travel in the past, when information travelled no faster than humans could walk, horses could gallop, or ships sail. Some people now take for granted the possibility of real-time witnessing of events -- impersonal, such as Los Angeles car chases watched in Tokyo, or personal, such as a sexual act in a Tokyo bedroom watched in a Seoul living room.

Before satellite-facilitated text messaging or breaking news bulletins on TV or the Internet, submarine cables and the atmosphere carried telephone and telegraph messages and radio transmissions. Such magical means of information transmission and reception were preceded by centuries of gradual improvement in the speed and reliability of transcontinental and transocean travel.

My first appreciation for the shrinking lag in time that news travels came during the 1960s when I was reading books on English social history and naval history.

One story, the source and details of which evade me, compelled me to imagine myself in the position of the wife of an Englishman seeing her husband off on a vessel bound for the Orient. Many months later she receives a letter that is already months old, telling her how much he misses her, but he expects to home in a couple of months. A few months later the vessel returns, without him, and she learns from its captain that her husband and many shipmates had died during the voyage and were buried at sea.

The story about the Silla envoys strikes a similar chord.

Envoys tend to be cut of fairly gentle cloth that suits them for the tasks of diplomacy, which requires a great deal of patience with protocol in the interest of maintaining a semblance of political order while the generals kill each other. Not to mention a tolerance for, if not a liking of, different languages, food, and customs.

Imagine, then, a party of Silla envoys embarking from the peninsula for Dazaifu, the official gateway to Yamato. At Dazifu they would present themselves to representatives of the court and enter into negotiations.

If successful they would be escorted through the Seto sea to Naniwa, then travel overland to the capital around Asuka for a brief audience with the sovereign and entertainment appropriate for the occasion. All the while, they would be making preparations for the arduous journey back to the peninsula.

The delegates would have been highly educated men who, despite the frictions between Yamato and Silla, would have been treated with due respect for their titles and ranks and learning. They would certainly have been seen as good sources of information about the world from which they came.

Suddenly, though, the mood is broken by news that Silla armies have overwhelmed Yamato outposts in Mimana and driven Yamato forces out of the territory. This would constitute a most embarrassing situation for diplomats on both sides.

It is not clear to what extent the Silla envoys were free to return to the peninsula or decided themselves to remain. It was not as though Yamato and Silla exchanges came to a complete halt.

Yamato and Silla occasionally sent each other missions, in the interest of maintaining their long ties, even as Yamato continued to support Kudara in its defense against Silla, later supported by Tang forces. For unknown reasons, however, the Silla delegates stayed and ended up in Kawachi.

Think, now, of Pearl Harbor -- the events of 8/7 December 1941. Then the lags of time were on the order of seconds, minutes, and hours -- between the transmission and reception of information from Japan to its embassy in Washington, and local processing and dissemination.

Most Japanese diplomats, and other officials and civilians in the United States, who were "out of the loop" and otherwise not aware of what was about to happen, were caught short by radio bulletins and banner headlines of the suprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Japanese diplomats were not without friends among their State Department counterparts and even the general population. Apart from personal feelings, however, they were now enemy aliens. As such they were detained and quartered in federal facilities.

Most likely they would remained in detention for the duration of the war -- except that the Axis and Allied states negotiated, through Sweden and Switzerland, the exchange of many officials and other civilians who had been detained because of the war.

By the summer of 1942, the Gripsholm -- an American liner charted by the State Department but run by a Swedish crew under a Swedish flag -- was making a voyage between New York and Mocambique via Rio de Janeiro with mostly Japanese national passengers. An exchange was made at Lorenco Marques with the Asama Maru, which had picked up a variety of Allied nationals, most of them US citizens, in Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines, and the Conte Verde, an Italian vessel, with people Allied nationals from Shanghai.

Some World War II exchangees included Japanese in the United States, and Americans in Japan, who were settled and would never have "returned" except for the war. Had some of the detainees on either side, including government officials, been free to remain where they were living when the war began, some might have opted to stay.

Presumably the Silla envoys left families and friends on the peninsula. Were they able to send letters back home? How much time elapsed before their fate became known? Or did their relatives simply wait, and wait, and wait -- and, in the absence of any word of their whereabouts, conclude that they had met their end somewhere?

Think, then, of the families of the young people abducted by agents of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, who waited without news for years. The family of Soga Hiromi concluded that she and her mother were dead and had their register status changed to deceased.

The change of status had to be reversed when news came that the daughter, at least, was alive -- and the wife of an American and mother of two children of nominally DPRK nationality. Other families refuse to accept reports from DPRK that their offspring are dead.

The experiences of the Silla envoys in 562 are very much apart of the continuing drama of personal and family problems that arise when diplomacy fails and friends become enemies.


562   Ikina bares butt and shouts "King of Shiragi, eat my ass!"
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 23 Autumn 7, 562-8/9  


Taken captive at the same time, Tsuki no Kishi Ikina, was a man of courage and ferocity, and to the end he would not fall and yield. The army general of Shiragi [Silla], drew his sword and wanted to slash [kill] [Ikina]. [He] forced [Ikina] to remove his [short] britches. and then ordered [him] to take his buttocks and point [them] toward Yamato, and largely cry and shout < "shout" is "scream". > Say, "Generals of Yamato, eat my ass!" But [Ikina] cried and shouted and said, "King of Shiragi, eat my ass!" Although he received harsh force, still he shouted as [he had] before. Because of this he was killed. His son Wochiko, also embraced his father and so died. Ikina, [his] words and [their] purport being hard to usurp, everyone [was] like this. Because of this, [he] especially became where [someplace, someone] all generals [of Yamato] painfully lamented [he especially was grieved by all the generals]. His wife Ōbako, also along [with him] had been captured. [Someone] shuddered [in grief] and so sang and said,

Standing by the fortress
of the land of Kara,
waving a scarf,
turned toward Yamato

Someone in concert [chorus] said,

Statured by the fortress
of the land of Kara,
appearing to wave a scarf,
turned toward Naniwa

everyone [was] like this appears to mean that everyone was inspired by Ikina's words and said likewise -- i.e., and shouted "King of Shiragi, eat my ass!" However, interpretations vary.

Someone reflects my agreement with NKBT Note 18, which says it is more natural to assume that someone other than Ohobako recited the poem -- possibly a Yamato soldier (see Aston Note 3), if not another person accompanying the Yamato force.

scarf reflects (—Ì‹Ð hire), which appears to have been a long white shawl worn around the neck and drapped over the shoulders.

Kanbun   “¯ŽžŠ—¸A’²‹gŽmˆÉŠé™TAˆ×l—E—óAI•s~•žBV—…“¬«A”²“—~ŽaB•NŽ§’EåìA’Ǘ߈ȐKä\Œü“ú–{A‘卆‹© < ‹©咷–çB > žHA“ú–{«Aꖉä臗脽B‘¦†‹©žHAV—…‰¤AšW‰ä臗脽B嫔í‹ê•NA®”@‘O‹©B—R¥Œ©ŽEB‘´ŽqänŽqA–’•ø‘´•ƒŽ§Ž€BˆÉŠé™TAŽ«Ž|“ï’DAŠF”@ŸB—RŸA“Áˆ×”«ƒŠ’ɐɁB‘´È‘å—tŽqA–’•ÀŒ©‹×BœÆ‘RŽ§‰ÌžHAžh—…‹äŽ¢”\AŠî”\”†Ž¢‘É’v’êA‰—•ˆ–ŒÌ”¦A”ä—á•á囉{•êA–ë–‚“™•Ã•Šò’êBˆ½—L˜ažHAžh—…‹äŽ¢”\AŠî”\”†Ž¢‘É‘ÉŽuA‰—•ˆ–ŒÌ”¦A”ä—ç•á—…{–íšgA“ߎ¢”k•Ã•Šò’êB(NKBT 68:125)

Yamato translation   Onaji toki ni toriko ni seraretaru, Tsuki no Kishi Ikina [Note 11], hito to nari takekushite, tsuhi ni shitagahazu. Shiraki no ikusa no kimi, tachi wo nikite kiramu to su. Semete hakama wo nikashimete, ohige shiritabura wo mote Yamato ni mukawashimete, ohoki ni sake < ke ha sakebu nari. > bite ihashimuraku, "Yamato no ikusa no kimi, waga shiri [Note 14] wo kurahe" [Note to ihashimu. Sunahachi sakebite ihaku, "Shiraki no kokishi, waga shiri wo kurahe" to ifu. Semetashinamaru to ihedomo, naho saki no gotoku sakebu. Kore ni yorite korosarenu. Sono ko Wochiko, mata sono kazo wo mudakahete shinu. Ikina, kotoba ubahigataki koto, mina kaku no gotoshi. Kore ni yorite, hitori moromoro no ikusa no kimi no tame ni itami woshimaru. Sono tsuma Ohobako [Note 17], mata narabi ni toriko ni seraru. Itamite utahite ihaku, [Note 18]



Karakuni no
ki no he ni tachite
Ohobako ha
hirefurasu mo
Yamato he mukite

Aru hito kotahete ihaku, [Note 19]



Karakuni no
kino he ni tatashi
Ohobako ha
hirefurasu miyu
Naniha he mukite

(NKBT 68:124-125)

Tsuki no Kishi Ikina NBKT Note 11 states that nothing more is known about this man, but refers to an earlier note (NKBT 68:44, note 8) which observes that Tsuki no Kishi was the name of a "submit-change clan from Kudara" (•SÏ‚©‚ç‚Ì‹A‰»Ž‘° Kudara kara no kika shizoku). According to Shinsen Shōjiroku, two men of the same clan, Tsuki no Wosa (’²žH²) and Tsuki no Muraji (’²˜A), were descendants of Nuri no Omi of Kudara (•SÏ‘“w—ŽgŽå).

Shinsen Shōjiroku in fact states that Midzuumi no Muraji (…ŠC˜A) was a descendant of Nuri no Omi of Kudara (SS 1027), and that Tsuki no Wosa was of the same ancestry as Midzuumi no Muraji (SS 1028). Both men are affiliated with the province of Kawachi (‰Í“à‘) and classified as shoban (””×).

Shinsen Shōjiroku further states that Tsuki no Muraji was of the same ancestry as Midzuumi no Muraji and as such was a descendant of Nuri no Omi of Kudara. He is said to have submitted and changed at the time of Homuta no Sumera Mikoto (Ōjin 4th century). Several generations of descendants are listed. One presented some silk to the court of the 23rd sovereign Kenzō (r485-487), who gave him the title Tsuki no Obito (’²Žñ). Tsuki no Muraji was affiliated with the Sakyo quarter of Heiankyo and was classified as shoban (SS 782).

shiritabura reflects Kä\ while shiri reflects 臗脽. NKBT Note 14 equates both 臗 and 脽 with K (kō shiri) and ä\ (den, don, shiri). Today Kä\ is more commonly read "shiritamura" ("m" and "b" often shift in Japanese), but is also read shiribeta (shirippeta), shirimuta, and shirikobuta (butt piglet). All these terms refer to the fleshy part of the rump or "buttocks" (ä\•” denbu).

NKBT Note 17 observes that the two poems about Ohobako (‘å—tŽq Ōbako) are not necessarily related to this story. They can also be seen as known poems that were pressed into the service of the story -- in which case the name Ohobako might have been taken from the poems.

NKBT Notes 18 and 19 number the poems 100 and 101 among others in the Nihon shoki and associate them a cycle of Man'yōsh? poems about Matsura Sayohime (¼‰Y²—p•P). The poems feature Sayohime waving a scarf from a hill, thus named "Scarf-waving mountain" (—̋АUŽR Hirefuriyama), in present-day Saga prefecture, as she watched her husband sail off to the peninsula, where Yamato was aligned with Kudara (Paekche) against Shiragi (Silla).

See the originals of MYS 868-875 and related commentary in NKBT MYS-2, NKBT 5:90-93. See translations of MYS 868-875 in Levy 1987:378-381, and a translation of MYS 871 in NGS 1965:261.

Aston's translation   Ikina, Mitsugi no Kishi, who was captured at the same time, being a man of mettle, utterly refused to sbumit. The Silla commander drew his sword, and making as if to kill him, compelled him with threats to take off his trousers, and then told him to present his hinder part towards Japan, and call out with a loud voice, "Let the Japanese generals bite [Note 1] -- ----!" But he cried out, saying:--"Let the King of Silla bite -- ----!" No mater how much they tortured him, he went on shouting as before, and he was accordingly put to death. Moreover his son Wojiko embraced his father, and so died. So hard it always was to shake Ikina's determination to stick to his own language. Accordingly, he alone was lamented by all the generals. Moreover, his wife Ohobako [Note 2] was taken captive at the same time. In her grief she made a song, saying [Note 3]:--

Standing by the fortress
Of the Land of Kara,
Waves her head-scarf,
Turning towards Yamato.

Someone composed a song in response, saying:--

Standing by the fortress
Of the Land of Kara,
Is seen to wave her head-scarf,
Turning towards Naniha.

(Aston 2:84-85)

bite Aston Note 1 says this.

We should expect to find here the word "kiss" instead of "bite." But the fact is that neither the CHinese nor the Japanese have the thing or the word, at least quite in our sense. Kissing, or what we may call so, is in these countries not considered a proper subject of conversation, and does not figure in their literatures. The nearest Japanese equivalent is kuchi suu, i.e., "mouth-sucking." The only instance I can recollect of the use of this phrase is in a letter from Hideyoshi to his son Hideyori, then five years of age. He promises that he will soon come to see hiim and give him a kiss (kuchi-sui-mōsu-beku sōrō), expressing at the same time a playful jealousy of his allowing other people to kiss him. The Japanese editor of this letter finds it necessary to explain that kissing, or rather mouth-sucking, is a sign of affection.

Dr. Schlegel, of the University of Leiden, informs me that "a Chinese boy never kisses his mother -- they rub their respective noses over the cheeks. Kissing the hand is totally unknown in China."

The use of the word bite for kiss by the Chinese suggests that the kiss may be a modification of a playful bite, just as the smile may have had its origin in a sportive showing of the canine teeth. See Darwin's "Expression of the Emotions," p. 255.

Ohobako Aston Note 2 "The name of a plant."

saying Aston Note 3 "Another rendering is: "In grief for her, they (i.e., the generals) made a song, saying:--"


Nihe and Umashihime

The story of Ikina's bravery immediately follows a story about the shameful conduct of deputy commander Kahahe no Omi Nihe (‰Í•ÓbàùŠÊ Kawabe no Omi Nibe), another Yamato officer. After retreating from a battle, he and his men, who have lost their respect for him, are captured. His wife is also captured.

The Shiragi commander asks Nihe which is more important, his life or his wife. His life, he says, and gives his wife to the Shiragi commander, who "thereupon violates in an open place violates that woman" (“¬«‹‰—˜I’nA›@‘´•w—) -- apparently for all to see. She is later returned but refuses to have anything more to do with Nihe. She is identified as Umashihime (ŠÃ”ü•Q), a daughter of Sakamoto no Omi (â–{b).

Accompanying families

The larger story behind these smaller anecdotes is that some of the Yamato commanders were accompanied by their families. They had been freshly sent from Yamato to participate in the defense of Mimana and Kudara, but were members of forces that had been stationed on the peninsula to protect Yamato outposts and related interests. Some of these officials and their families could even have been settled there.

That families would accompany military officers to what was regarded as a posting at a fronteir in barbaria suggests that Yamato did have a significant presence on the peninsula. Had Yamato's involvement with the peninsula been limited to dispatching forces to assist Kudara and Kaya in their defense against Shiragi, family members would never have made the crossing.

Wives and children would have gone to the peninsula only if the conditions were relatively peaceful and safe. Presumably accompany families lived within secure permiters. It is fairly obvious from the larger context of the accounts of Nihe and Ikina that such permiters were overwhelmed by Silla forces, which proceded to destroy Yamato's outposts and force Yamato to retreat from the peninsula.

Kudara roots

What is interesting here is that the Silla and Yamato commanders are apparently able to communicate. Are they speaking through interpreters, or directly to each other?

Nihon shoki includes a number of Korean expressions. Some are represented by graphs used for their phonetic value in the original compilation, which means late 7th and early 8th centuries. Others are represented by furigana added to graphs when making copies between the 10th and early 14th centuries. Most expressions in both cases appear to be single words. One, however, seems to be an entire utterance.

The utterance is ‹v{“òŽ©—˜, which is read ‚­‚·‚É‚¶‚è (kusunijiri). An interlineal note, probably added later, states that "This Shiragi word is not yet clear [known, identified]" (ŸV—…Œê–¢Ú–ç).

The situation is a bit commical. The Silla commander had shown a white flag. Nihe, who is said to not know very much about military matters, showed a white flag intending to acknowledge the Silla flag, which leads the Silla commander to assume that Yamato is calling it quits.

After some confusion in which Nihe's forces are routed, the Silla commander stands on at the moat and shouts "Kusunijiri" at Nihe, who acknowledges by withdrawing his forces to a field camp. The Silla commander then enters the camp and captures Nihe and the others alive, and his accompanying wife (Ž»¶—¸‰Í•ÓbàùŠÊ“™‹y‘´•w).

If the meaning of "Kusunijiri" is today a mystery, apparently Nihe understood what the Silla commander had said. Presumably the writers of the record on which the Nihon shoki story is based also understood what it meant. Perhaps the compilers of the Nihon shoki also recognized its meaning. But apparently, in time, the phrase became so opaque that later readers, including contemporary scholars, are unable to even hazard what it might mean.

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693   Koma people submit at Tsukushi, placed in Yamashiro
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 26 Summer 5, 565-6/7

Translation   People of Koma Dzumuriyahe and other threw [themselves before the court] and changed [their allegiance] at Tsukushi, and [authorities] placed them in Yamashiro province. [They] are the forebears of the present Unehara, Nara, and Yamamura Koma people.

Kanbun   ‚—íl“ª–¶唎–ë•Ã“™“Š‰»‰—’}Ž‡A’uŽR”w‘B¡¤Œ´E“Þ—…EŽR‘º‚—íl”Væ‘c–çB(NKBT 68:127)

Yamato translation   Koma no hito Dzumuriyahe ra, Tsukushi ni maukite, Yamashiro no kuni ni haberi. Ima no UneharaENara [Note 22]EYamamura no Koma no hito no tohotsuoya nari. (NKBT 68:126)

Nara   NKBT Note 22 sites a source which says there was a Nara village (“ß—…‹½) in Yamashiro province. The note then says this village is now Kaminara and Shimonara of the town of Yahata in Tsudzuki county in present-day Kyoto prefecture. However, in 1977 the town of Yahata left the fold of the county and became a city. Notes 21 and 23 state that the locations of Unehara and Yamamura are not certain.

Aston's translation   Some Koryö men, Tsu-mu-ri-ya-phyé and others, emigrated to Tsukushi. They were settled in the province of Yamashiro, and were the ancestors of the present Koryö men of Une-hara, Nara, and Yamamura. (Aston 2:87)


Tsukushi and Yamashiro

Tsukushi (’}Ž‡) is the old name of what today is called Kyūshū (‹ãB). Here it probably referred to the province of Tsukushi (’}Ž‡‘ (Tsukushi no kuni), which around the end of the 7th century divided into Chikuzen (’}‘O) on the coast facing Korea, and Chikugo (’}Œã) inland. These two provinces, with the part of Buzen (–L‘O) that bordered with Chikuzen at the Moji straits, became present-day Fukuoka prefecture.

The Koma people most likely arrived on the coast of Chikuzen, possibly in the vicinity of the port of Hakata in present-day Fukuoka city, which faces the south coast of the Republic of Korea. Thousands of people, everyday today, ferry between Fukuoka and Pusan in as few as three hours.

The crossings in the past would not have been nearly as fast or comfortable, much less safe. But people motivated to sail between the two areas could have done so in a couple of days under favorable conditions.

Yamashiro, here ŽR”w, later ŽRé, was one of the five "inner provinces" of Yamato. In 794 it became the site of the Heian capital, around which grew a city that was later called Kyōto.

What the above account shows -- which seems to have been typical of the times -- is that non-Yamato people arriving at a Yamato province from, in this case, the peninsula -- if not visitors who would in time leave, and if not unwelcome migrants -- would have been been settled somewhere after submitting to the authority of the court.

In this case, some people arrived from Koma, most likely as refugees. After their submission and acceptance, they were taken to three settlements in Yamashiro. One of them, Nara, was in the vicinity of present-day Yawata, which shares borders with Fushimi-ku in metropolitan Kyoto.


569   Enforcement of field registration and taxation practices
687   Itsu ordered to enforce registration practices
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 30-1-1, 569-2-4 [2]

Translation   [The sovereign] commanded and said, "Measuring and establishing fields and and [their] guilds, this has come to be esteemed [upheld]. Those who, [though] when the year begins are [age] ten or over, have escaped registration and avoided levies have been many. It would be good to dispatch Itsu < Itsu is a nephew of Ō Jinni. < to examine and determine the field guilds and worker registers of Shirawi.

Kanbun   ÙžHA—Ê’u“c•”A‘´—ˆ®ááB”N•á\—]A’EÐ™\‰ÛŽÒOB‹XŒ­’_’ÁA < ’_’ÎҁA‰¤’CŽ¢”V‰™–ç > B ŒŸ’è”’’–“c•”’šÐB(NKBT 68:127)

Yamato translation   Mikotonori shite notamahaku, "Tabe [Note 26] wo hakarioku koto, sono arikuru koto hisashi. Toshi hajimete towo-amari [Note 27], nanofumita ni morite etsuki ni nogaruru hito ohoshi. Itsu < Itsu [Note 28] ha Wau Jinni [Note 29] ga ohi nari. > wo tsukahashite, Shirawi no tabe no yohoro no fumita [Note 30] wo kamugahe sadameshimubeshi" to no tamafu. (NKBT 68:127)

Tabe   NKBT Note 26 glosses "tabe" (“c•”) as meaning "people affiliated with a court (government) storehouse [granary]" (“Ô‘q‚Ì–¯ miyake no tami). The note identifies the Shirai registers as those associated with the Shirai storehouse (”’’–“Ô‘q Shirawi miyake) built in the five districts of Kibi by Soga no Iname and others 14 years earlier (Kinmei 16 Autumn 7, 555-8/9). Kibi (‹g”õ), a fairly large territory, was later divided into Bizen (”õ‘O), Bichū (”õ’†), Bingo (”õŒã), and Mimasaka (”üì), which are mostly in Okayama but partly in Hiroshima prefectures.

Toshi hajimete towo-amari   NKBT Note 27 interprets this line as meaning that children were supposed to be counted as taxable heads when they reached the age of ten.

Itsu   NKBT Note 28 identifies Itsu as the son of the older brother Misa [Misha] (–¡¹) of Fune no Fubito Ō Jinni [Shinni] (‘DŽj‰¤’CŽ¢). The note then refers to headnote 16 to an earlier 553 account.

Wau Jinni   NKBT Note 29 observes that Ō Jinni was a "Paekche-descent submitter-changer" (•SÏŒn‹A‰»l Kudara-kei kikajin) and refers to the earlier account alluded to in Note 28.

553 account

An earlier 553 account states that Soga no Iname, pursuant to a command from Kinmei, sent Ō Jinni to count and record shipping taxes (”˜^‘D•Š), and immediately made him the Fune no Tsukasa (‘D’·) or "head of ships". For that reason, Ō Jinni was given the title (© kabane) "Fune no Fubito" (‘DŽj), and as such he was the progenitor of the then "Fune no Muraji" (‘D˜A).

Headnote 16 to this account cites a 790 geneological account in the Shoku Nihongi, according to which both Misa and Jinni are descendants of the 16th Paekche King Kishu [Kisu]. (Kinmei 14 Autumn 7-4, 553-7-31 [29], NKBT 68:104-105 and note 16, Aston 2:68-89. See also Enryaku 9 Autumn 7-17, 790-9-4 [8-31], SZKT SN-2:546.)

For more details on this line of descent, see Kudara clan.

yohoro no fumita   NKBT Note 30 remarks that ’šÐ probably refers only to the registers of males who are subject to head taxes. ’š (tei, chō, yohoro) means a man who is of age. ‰Û’š (katei) is a synonym for ‰ÛŒû (kakō), meaning taxation of heads (mouths) in kind (’²) or labor (—f). ’j’š (dantei) means a man who is subject to corvee labor.

Aston's translation   An edict was issued as follows:--"The institution of serfs [Note 1] is a custom of old standing. But for more than ten years past, there have been many whose names have been omitted from the lists, and who have avoided their tasks. Let Itsu < Itsu was nephew of Ō Chin-ni [Note 2] > be sent to revise the lists of the serfs of Shirawi." (Aston 2:87)

The institution of serfs   Aston Note 1 says "Lit. Rice-field Be."

Ō Chin-ni   Aston Note 2 says "Apparently a Corean or Chinese name."



We see here precisely the use to which registers have subsequently been put throughout Japanese history. The preface to the Family Registration Law of 1872 clearly presents the logic for nationalizing household registration. The same logic prevailed in the later nationalization of Taiwan, Karafuto, and Korea as Chosen, and prevails today in the computerization of family registration.

569   56 Koma [Koguryo] submitters settled in Hitachi
Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 30 Summer 4, 569-5/6

Translation   Itsu examined and inspected the field guilds [and] workers of Shirai, and in accordance with [the sovereign's] command [he] established registers. As a result [their families] became field households. The sovereign delighted in the achievement of Itsu establishing registers, and conferred on him a title and made him Shirai no Fubito. Moreover [he] appointed [him] Ta-tsu-kahi, and made [him] the assistant of the Mitsuko. < [As for] Mitsuko see above. >

Kanbun   ’_’ÃŒŸ‰{”’’–“c•”’šŽÒAˆËÙ’èÐB‰Ê¬“cŒËB“Vc‰Ã’_’Ã’èÐ”VŒ÷AŽ’©ˆ×”’’–ŽjBq”q“c—߁Aˆ×Žq”V•›B < ŽqŒ©ãB > (NKBT 68:127, 129)

Yamato translation   Itsu, Shirawi no tahe no yohoro wo kamugahemite, mikotonori no mama ni fumita wo sadamu. Hatashite tahe wo nasu. Sumera mikoto, Itsu ga fumita wo sadameshi isawo wo yomishite, kabane wo tamahite Shirawi no Fubito to su. Sunahachi Tatsukahi [Note 33] ni maketamahite, Mitsuko [Note 1] ga suke to shitamafu. < Mitsuko ha kami ni mietari. > (NKBT 68:127-128)

Tatsukahi   NKBT Note 33 refers to a note to an earlier notice (NS 19, Kinmei 17-7, 556-7/8), in which it is explained that a "Tatsukahi" (“c—ß) was someone who oversaw the operation of a court storehouse [granary] (“Ô‘q miyake). As a Chinese term, “c—ß means "field (“c) governing (—ß)" in the sense of either a person or a law which governs fields -- in this case the former, hence a "field governor (director, manager)". As a Yamato term, "tatsukahi" means "field (ta) handler (tsukai)". (NKBT 68:117, note 26)

Mitsuko   NKBT Note 1 refers to the same earlier entry (NS 19, Kinmei 17-7, 556-7/8), in which Mitsuko is identified as Kaduraki no Yamada no Atahi Mitsuko. This entry states that Mitsuko was made the Tatsukahi of the Shirai storehouse, but he is not otherwise identified. The same note for "tatsukahi" hazards that he was probably placed in charge of all the storehouses. (NKBT 68:117, note 26)

Aston's translation   Itsu revised the serfs of Shirawi, and in accordance with the edict, settled the lists, so that land-families [Note 3] were formed. The Emperor, by way of compliment to Itsu on his success in settling the lists, gave him the title of Shirawi no Obito, and moreover appointed him Tadzukahi under Midzuko < Midzuko is mentioned above > . [Note 4] (Aston 2:87)

Aston Note 3 says "“cŒË or field-house, i.e., families or groups of cultivators."

Aston Note 4 says "XIX. 49."


Itsu as registrar

In the above two related entires about the appointment of Itsu first as a registrar, then as an assistant director of a court granary, we see a good example of how some of the more literate and skilled descendants of people who had migrated to Yamato, in this case from Kudara (Paekche), were integrated into the caste of titled clans that served the court.


631   Kudara King Giji sends prince Hosho as hostage
Nihon shoki 23, Jomei 3 Spring 3-1, 631-4/5

Translation   The king of Kudara Giji [Uija] entered [sent] king-son [prince] Hōshōd [to Yamato] and made [him] a pawn [hostage]

Kanbun   •SÏ‰¤‹`Žœ“ü‰¤Žq–LÍˆ×Ž¿B(NKBT 68:229)

Yamato translation   Kudara no Kokishi Giji, seshimu Houshau wo tatematsurite mukahari to su [Note 23]. (NKBT 68:228)

mukahari to su   NKBT Note 23 glosses "mukahari to su" as meaning “üŽ¿ (nyūshitsu) or "placing in hock" as collateral. It then observes that "mu" means g (mi) or "body" while "kawari" means ‘Ö‚è (kawari) or "substitution". In present-day Japanese, "shichiire" (Ž¿“ü‚ê) means "putting (something) in hock" or "pawning (something)" while "hitojichi" (lŽ¿) means "human pawn" or "hostage".

Aston's translation   Wi-chă [Note 9], King of Pèkché, sent Prince Phung-chyang as hostage. (Aston 2:165)

Wi-chă   Aston Note 9 says "Wi-chă, according to the "Tongkam," came to the throne in A.D. 641. So there is something wrong here."


643   Kudara prince Hosho tries to raise bees
Nihon shoki 24, Kōgyoku 2, "this year" (¥Î), 643

Translation   Kudara prince Yohō [Puyo Hōshō], with four nests of honeybees, released [left] [them] [in order to] nurture [raise] [them] in the Miwa mountains. However in the end [they] did not thrive and live [survive, multipy].

Kanbun   •SÏ‘¾Žq—]–LAˆÈ–§–I–[Žl–‡A•ú—{‰—ŽO—ÖŽRBŽ§I•s”ב§B(NKBT 68:253)

Yamato translation   Kudara no Konkishi Yohou [Note 17], michihachi [Note 18] no su yotsu wo mote, Miwayama [Note 19] ni hanachikafu. Shikaushite tsuhi ni umaharazu. (NKBT 68:253)

Yohou   NKBT Note 17 identifies "Yohō" as the "Hōshō" who was sent as a hostage in the 631 account (NS-23, Jomei 3 Spring 3-1).

michihachi   NKBT Note 18 cites a man'yōgana expression for "michihachi" (honeybees) and sources which suggest that honey from bees was eaten, then wonders if bee raising was introduced from Paekche.

Miwayama   NKBT Note 19 associates Miwayama with Sakurai city in present-day Nara prefecture. The city is south of Nara city, and Mt. Miwa is northeast of the city.

Aston's translation   This year the Heir Apparent to the throne of Pèkché Yö Phung-chyang, set loose and kept four hives of honey bees on Mount Miwa; but they did not multiply their kind. (Aston 2:184)


Colony collapse disorder

Perhaps Puyo Hōshō's beekeeping efforts were thwarted by a syndrome that entomologists who study epidmics among bees now called "colony collapse disorder" (CCD).


645   Status of children of "good" and "slave" men and women
Nihon shoki 25, Kōtoku Taika 1-8-5, 645-9-3 [8-31]

Translation   [The sovereign] then commanded [his] the governors of the provinces and said, "Following where [what = the moral authority] the gods of heaven have given [me] and [I] have received, [I] hereby now begin to truly develop [construct, overhaul] the myriad provinces. Always: [ Household registers, fields, and benefits ] [As for] the public affiliates [people] who the house [family] of provinces [court, state] posseses, and the masses of people who [clans and houses] large and small lead [claim], [when] you go to your posts, [for] all [the people] make a household register, and investigate field areas [measure cultivated land in mu]. [As for] the benefits of those, the gardens and ponds and the water and land, give [the benefits] to the hundred surnames [common people] together [in common]. . . . [Omitted] . . . [ Status of children ] As for the law of men and women, [when] where a good [free] man and a good [free] woman are together there is born a child [a child born to a good man and a good woman together], allocate [the child] to [place the child with] its father. Should where a good man has married [taken as his wife] a slave woman [unfree woman] there be born a child [should a child be born to a slave woman a good man has married], allocate [the child] to its mother. Should where a good woman has married [become the wife of] a slave man [unfree man] there be born a child, allocate [the child] to its father. Should where both houses [families] be slaves [a slave man and a slave woman] there be born a child, allocate [the child] to the [house of the] mother. If [the child is] the child of a temple worker, comply with [treat the same as in] the law for good people. As for others who enter [join, become] slaves [slave men and slave women], comply with the law for slave men and slave women. Now sufficiently show people [these measures] as the beginning of control [restriction, regulation, systemization]."

Kanbun   ˜¹Ù‘Ži“™žHA“V_”VŠ•òŠñA•û¡Žn«C–œ‘B–} [ Household registers, fields, and benefits ] ‘‰ÆŠ—LŒö–¯A‘召Š—̐lOA“ð“™”V”CAŠFìŒËÐA‹yZ“c¤B‘´‰’’r…—¤”V—˜A—^•S©‹äB. . . [Omitted] . . . [ Status of children ]–”’j—”V–@ŽÒA—Ç’j—Ǐ—‹¤Š¶ŽqA”z‘´•ƒBŽá—Ç’jA›W›XŠ¶ŽqA”z‘´•êBŽá—Ǐ—A‰Å“zŠ¶ŽqA”z‘´•ƒBŽá—¼‰Æ“z›XŠ¶ŽqA”z‘´•êBŽáŽ›‰ÆŽd’š”VŽqŽÒA”@—ǐl–@BŽá•Ê“ü“z›XŽÒA”@“z›X–@B¡ŽŒ©lˆ×§”VŽnB (NKBT 68:273, 275, 277)

Yamato translation   Yorite kuni no mikotomochi tachi ni mikotonori shite notamahaku, "Amatsukami no ukeyosaseta mahishi mama ni, masa ni ima hajimete kuniguni wo wosamemu to su. Ohoyoso [ Household registration, fields, and benefits ] ame no shita no tamoteru ohomitakara [Note 24], ohoki ni isasakeki ni adzukareru hitodomo wo, imashitachi makedokoro ni makarite, mina he no fumita [Note 26] wo tsukuri, mata tahatake wo kamugaheyo. Kare sono ike midzu kunuga no kuhosa ha, ohomitakara to tomo ni seyo. . . . [Omitted] . . . [ Status of children ] Ohomitakara wonokoEohomitakara menoko [Note 35] tomo ni umeramu tokoro no ko ha, sono kazo ni tsukeyo [Note 36]. Moshi ohomitakara wonoko, menoko yatsuko wo makite umeramu tokoro no ko ha, sono iroha ni tsukeyo. Moshi ohomitakara menoko, wonoko yatsuko ni totsugite umeramu tokoro no ko ha, sono kazo ni tsukeyo. Moshi futatsu no ihe no wonoko yatsukoEmenoko yatsuko no umeramu tokoro no ko ha, sono iroha ni tsukeyo. Moshi tera no tsukahe no yohoro [Note 1] no ko naraba, ohomitakara no nori [Note 2] no gotoku seyo. Moshi koto ni yatsuko ni ireraba, yatsuko no nori no gotoku seyo. Ima yoku hito ni nori no hajimetaru koto wo shimesamu." (NKBT 68:273, 275-276)

ohomitakara (Œö–¯)   NKBT 24 refers the first appearance of the term Œö–¯ (Ōmitakaka < ‘åŒä•óAalso •S©) in a 620 notice. Aston translates the term "free subjects" in that notice. See comments on "Good and base" and "Free people and slaves" below.

he no fumita (ŒËÐ)   NKBT 26 refers to the 540 report that Hata and Aya were given titles and enrolled in household registers (Kinmei 1-8, see 540 Hata and Aya titles), and to Notes 37 and 38 on registers in the more formal statement of the so-called Taika reforms in 646 (Kōtoku, Taika 2-1-1, see 646 Household registers begin).

Ohomitakara wonokoEohomitakara menoko (—Ç’j—Ǐ—)   NKBT Note 35 points out that, whereas here people are divided into only good (—Ç ryō) and slaves (“z›X nuhi), the status law (g•ª–@) of the Yōrō codes divided people into good and base (—Ç‘G), and further divided base (‘G) into five categories, namely tomb households (—ËŒË ryōko), official households (Š¯ŒË kanko), house persons (‰Æl kenin), public slaves (Œö“z›X kunuhi), and private slaves (Ž„“z›X shinuhi). See comments on "Good and base" below.

kazo ni tsukeyo (”z‘´•ƒ)   NKBT Note 36 states that this and similar following provisions "stipulated the affiliation of a child of issue due to marriage (¥ˆ÷‚É‚æ‚鏊¶‚ÌŽq kon'in ni yoru shosei no ko) of the same color [status] or between different colors [statuses]."

As used in the note, Š¶ (shosei) represents one of numerous Sino-Japanese compounds of the Š{V type that are generally understood as nominalized passive constructions, in which Š (sho, tokoro), meaning essentially "place" or "situation" or "where" something occurs, nominalizes the action that follows as a consequence of a condition that is previously specified ("Y who X has Zed") as in the translated account) or unspecified (as here). Here Š¶ would mean simply "where [due to some condition] there is born [something]" -- in otherwords, the "issue" of an alliance. Other examples abound: Š—L (shoyū) meaning "where [something] is possessed" or "ownership"; ŠŽ (shoji) meaning "where [something] is held" or "possession"; ŠŒ© (shoken) meaning "where [something] is seen" or "observation"; ŠŠ meaning "where [something] is overseen" hence "jurisdiction" -- ad infinitum.

tsukahe no yohoro (Žd’š)   NKBT Note 1 observes that this phrase was used to mean either a specific person who contributed work or service to the "house of a master" (Žå‰Æ) meaning a local ruler, or to the "house of provinces" (‘‰Æ) meaning the sovereign or the sovereign's court (today the "state"), or the specific work or service performed by such a person.

ohomitakara no nori (—ǐl–@)   Note that the Yamato translation conflates "good people" (—ǐl) with "public affiliates / subjects" (Œö–¯). NKBT Note 2 observes that, according to the codes, performance of work or service to a ruler or sovereign was a post of good subjects, so apparently at the time temple workers were regarded as "subordinate subjects" (—ê‘®–¯ reizokumin) -- meaning they were of a lower class than mere subjects. Confer the term “z—ê (dorei), meaning generally bondage or slavery, or a bonded person or slave.

Aston's translation   Then the Governors were addressed as follows:--"In accordance with the charge entrusted to Us by the Gods of Heave, We propose at this present for the first time to regulate the myriad provinces. [ Household registration, fields, and benefits ] When you proceed to your posts, prepare registers of all the free subjects of the State and of the people under the control of others, whether great or small. Take account also of the acreage of cultivated land. As to the profits arising from the gardens and ponds, the water and land, deal with them in common with the people. . . . [Omitted] . . . [ Status of children ] Moreover the law of men and women shall be that the children born of a free man and a free woman shall belong to the father : if a free man takes to wife a slave woman, her children shall belong to the mother : if a free woman marries a slave man, the children of the marriage shall belong to the father ; if they are slaves of two houses, the children shall belong to the mother. The children of temple serfs shall follow the rule for freemen. But in regard to others who become slaves, they shall be treated according to the rule for slaves. Do ye now publish this well to the people as a beginning of regulations." (Aston 2:200, 202)

Reischauer's summary   Laws were drawn up concerning slaves (nuhi). [In cases of mixed marriages between free people and slaves, all the children were to belong to the slave parent and were to be treated as slaves.] (Reischauer 1967A:146)


Good and base

The graph —Ç generally means "good" and is used in numerous compounds with this meaning. The term —Ç–¯ (ryōmin) referred to a "good affiliate / subject" of country. As such it came to be used, as in the ritsuryō codes, to label an ordinary subject who was not exceptionalized as a æ˖¯ (senmin) or "base / mean affiliate / subject", meaning a servant or slave, or person of otherwise sub-class or sub-caste status.

Another term for "good people" generally was —ǐl (ryōjin, ryōjin, rōnin), which was pressed into the service of meaning "a man who had a wife" as well as simply "husband". As such it was also read "otto", the most common of several Yamato readings of •v (fu), which as a graph could mean anything from husband to simply adult man, worker, or coolie.

Free people and slaves

The —ÇæË (ryōsen) or "good /base" differentiaion is often interpreted as meaning "free / un-free" -- hence the practice by Sansom and many others to equate "good" with "free". While "free" is clearly inadequate in a structural translation, which is supposed to represent the metphors of the Japanese text, "free" is arguably not an impossible interpretation in the present context -- so long as it is understood to mean "relatively free" -- and nothing like "free" in the sense that many people in Japan might feel "free" today.

So-called "good subjects" were presumably those who were virtuous enough to be able to conduct themselves without need of strict government. Whereas so-called "base subjects" were those who required more than the usual degree of supervision, such as indentured and other servants, and slaves.

Servants were treated more like good people for purposes of land allocation (partition) and taxes. Slaves counted only one-third a good person for purposes of land allocation, were not taxed, could be sold or otherwise treated as property, and often were not allowed to have families.

However, any close examination of social history in Japan at the time such class and caste distinctions were made will show that society was far more complex the law. "Freedom" was not something than even most "good" people had, and not a few "base" people were as free if not freer than most "good" people.


Marriage between so-called "good people" and "slaves" was not prohibited in the Taika reforms. However, laws determining the status of children in effect implied proscription. And at least one article in the Yōryō code, as related in Ryō no gige, implied that the five colors of base people were expected to marry their own kind.

The affiliation was patrilineal for children born between two good parents or between a good woman and a slave man, and were matrilineal for children born between a good man and slave woman or between two slaves. In other words, all children became slaves unless both parents were good.

Had marriages been equally divided between the four possible mixtures of status of parents, then three out of four children would have become slaves. More striking, though, is that while the children of slave women would always belong to their mothers regardless of their father's status, the children of good women never belonged to their mothers.

The status standards prescribed in the 645 notice imply a one-drop rule, according to which the "good" world remains pure while the "slave" world absorbs all hybrids. See Affiliation thresholds: The evolution of rules for belonging in Japan for a look at how the 645 "Law of men and women" compares with earlier rules for determining the affiliation of children of "mixed marriages" and later nationality laws.


646   Household registers and related ledgers begin
Nihon shoku 25, Kōtoku, Taika 2-1-1, 646-1-25 [22]

Translation   For the first time make household registers, enumeration ledgers, and a law [standard] for dividing fields [for cultivation] [according to the registers] and settling collections [of taxes] [according to the ledgers].

Kanbun   ‰‘¢ŒËÐEŒv’ E”Ç“cŽûŽö”V–@B(NKBT 68:281)

Yamato translation   Hajimete he no fumita [Note 37]Ekazu no fumita [Note 38]Eakachida wosamesadzukuru nori [Note 39] wo tsukure. (NKBT 68:281)

Aston's translation   Let there now be provided for the first time registers of population, books of account and a system of the receipt and re-granting of distribution-land. [Note 1] (Aston 2:207-208)


Early registration practices

The translation reflects NKBT Notes 37 and 38, which cites provisions in the "Make-household-register article" (‘¢ŒËÐð) of the "Household ordinance" (ŒË—ß) of contemporary codes. See Making and managing household registers for a translation of this article and comments.

NKBT Note 39 cites provisions in both the "Per-capita division article" (Œû•ªð) and the "[Every] six years, one partitioning article" (˜Z”Nˆê”Ǐð) of the "Fields law" (“c—ß) of contemporary codes. See Division of fields by mouth, sex, and age for a translation of these articles and comments.

Aston Note 1 cites essentially the same provisions cited by NKBT Note 39 like this.

The Denryō (Land Regluations) says, "In granting Kō-bun-den (land shared in proportion to population) men shall have two tan, women a third less, and children under five years of age none. Lands are granted for a term of six years." This seems to point to a general redistribution of lands once in six years, something after the manner still practised in Russia.

See Division of fields by mouth, sex, and age for more comments.


654   Yamato no uji Kan Chikō and Chō Ganpō
Nihon shoki 25, Kōtoku Hakuchi 5-2, 654-2/3  

Translation   The principal envoy Takamuku no Genri [Gwenri], died in [Great] Tang. < Iki no Hakatoko says, the learner-of-things monk Emyō died in Tang. Chisō died at sea. Chikoku died at sea. [A different] Chisō, in the year [c690], returned on a Shiragi ship. Kakushō died in Tang. Gitsū died at sea. Jōe, in the year [c665], returned on the ship of [with] Ryū Tokukō and others. Myōi and Hōshō, the learner-of-things students Hi no Muraji Okina and Kō Wōkon, totalling twelve people, with the Yamato offspring Kan Chikō and Jō Ganhō [Ganpō, Gwanpō], returned with the envoys this year [c664-668]. >

Kanbun   ‰ŸŽg‚ŒüŒº—A‘²‰—‘å“‚B< ˆÉ‹g”Ž“¾Œ¾A›{–â‘mœ¨–­A‰—“‚Ž€B’mãàA‰—ŠCŽ€B’qš A‰—ŠCŽ€B’q@AˆÈM“ДN [n20 Ž“Žl”N] A•tV—…‘DŸdBæSŸA‰—“‚Ž€B‹`’ʁA‰—ŠCŽ€B’蜨AˆÈ‰³‰N”N [n25 “V’qŽl”N] A•t—«úº‚“™‘DŸdB–­ˆÊE–@ŸA›{¶•X˜A˜VlE‚‰©‹àA幷\“ñlA•Ê˜`ŽíŠØ’q‹»Eæ⌳›A¡”N [n34 “V’qŽO”NˆÈŒãA“¯Žµ”N‚Ü‚Å‚ÌŠÔ‚Ì–^”N] ‹¤ŽglŸdB> (NKBT 68:323)

Yamato translation   Sube-tsukahi Takamuku no Guwenri, Morokoshi ni miusenu. < Iki no Hakatoko ga ihaku, mono-narafu hofushi Wemeu, Morokoshi ni shite miusenu. Chisou, umi ni shite miusenu. Chikoku, umi ni shite miusenu. Chisou, kanoe-tora-no-toshi [n20 Jitō 4-nen] o mote, Shiragi no fune ni tsukite kaeru. Kakushiou, Morokoshi ni shite miusenu. Gitsuu, umi ni shie misenu. Dziauwe kinoto-no-toshi [n25 Tenchi 4-nen] o mote, Riu Tokukau ra ga fune ni tsukite kaeru. MeuwiEHofushiou mono-narafu hito Hi no Muraji OkinaEKau Waukomu, awasete towo amari futari, koto ni Yamato no udzi Kan ChikouEDeu Guwanhou, kotoshi Tenchi 3-nen igo, dō 7-nen no aida, sono bōnen], tsukahibito to tomo ni kaereri to ifu. > (NKBT 68:322)

Aston's translation   The Controlling Envoy Takamuku no Kuromaro died in Great Thang. < Yuki no Hakatoko says: -- "The student-priest Yemō died in Thang; Chisō died at sea; Chikoku died at sea; Chisō [n2: Spelt with a different Chinese character to the other] returned in a Silla ship in the year Kanoye Tora [n3: A.D. 690]; Gakushō died in Thang; Gitsū died at sea; Jōye returned in the year Kinoto Ushi [n4: A.D. 665] in the ship of Liu Teh-kao [n5: Presumably a Chinese]; Myōi, Hōshō and the students Okina, Hi no Muraji and Kō Wōgon [n6: A Japanese who had taken a Chinese name], twelve persons in all, with Kan Chikō and Cho Gempō, of foreign Japanese birth, came back this year along with the envoys." > (Aston 2:246)


The date of main report, concerning the conflict between Kudara (Paekche) forces and Shiraga (Silla) and Tang forces, is dated 654. The text highlighted in red is an interlineal note (Š„’) attributed to Iki no Hakatoko (ˆÉ‹g”Ž“¾), cited from his report concerning the 4th Yamato mission to Tang, called "Iki no Muraji Hakatoko no fumi" (ˆÉ‹g˜A”Žúº‘), completed between 683 and 695, after he had been promoted to the rank of Muraji. This is the first of four such annotations which appear in the final chapters of Nihongi, which ends with events dated in 697. The annotations concern not only the fates of envoys, monks, and students associated with the mission, but also incidents which occurred during the mission.

Iki no Hakatoko was active between c659-c703. He accompanied the 4th Yamato diplomatic mission to the Tang court in 659-661. In Japan he entertained a number of visiting Tang envoys, and seems to have been in charge of the 6th mission in 667-668, which escorted a visiting Tang envoy partway back to China. And in 695 he was appointed one of the envoys sent to Shiragi (Silla) (Œ­V—…Žg) (Nihongi Jitō 9-Autumn-7-26, 9-9-6 , NKBT 68:528-529, Aston 2:419).

koto ni Yamato no udzi

•Ê˜`Ží koto ni Yamato no udzi (‚±‚Æ‚É‚â‚Ü‚Æ‚Ì‚¤‚À)   NKBT Note 31 observes that Shayku Nihongi (Žß“ú–{‹I), a late 13th-century annotated text of the Nihongi, marks these graphs to be read "koto Yamato udzi" (ƒRƒgƒ„ƒ}ƒgƒEƒa), and says this reading is probably erroneous. No reasons are given.

•Ê koto ni   This appears to imply that Kan Chikō and Chō Ganhō were not members of the parities of envoys, monks, and students that travelled to China. Kan Chikō appears to have been in China when the Yamato mission arrived at the Tang court c660 (see below), and Chō Ganhō appears to have been in Kudara when Yamato forces withdrew from the peninsula in c663 (see below).

˜`Ží Yamato no udzi   NKBT Note 31 adds that "Yamato no uji" refers to "a mixed-blood child with a Japanese" (˜`Ží‚Æ‚Í“ú–{l‚Ƃ̍¬ŒŒŽ™ Yamato no uji to wa Nihonjin to no konketsuji). Graphically, ˜`Ží means a Yamato "variety" or "species" as matter of descent from a Yamato "seed" (tane Ží) -- i.e., a person sired by a man from Yamato who had taken a local (probably Kudara) woman as his wife -- reminisencent of definition of "karako" (see above).

Whether from the sperm a Yamato man has planted in the womb of a local, probably Kudara woman. I say "presumably" because, while this is the standard interpretation, the expression is not clear. The metaphor, however, makes sense. The word "uji" is usually graphed Ž, referring to a clan generally defined by male lineage. Later chronologies, such as the Shoku Nihongi (‘±“ú–{‹I), "Yamato no uji" would refer to someone who, as the son of a Yamato father, would qualify for affiliation with his clan. Within Japan, ˜aŽ (Yamato uji) as was the sThere would be no need to specify "Yamato" if not to claify that a person with a non-Yamato name is actually an offspring of a Yamato clan.

The term ˜`Ží appears in the first line in the description of the "Wa people" (˜`l) in the "Accounts of the Eastern Barbarians" (“ŒˆÎ“`) chapter in the "Book of Wei" (鰏‘ Wei shou, Wei shu) chapters of the Record of the Three Kingdoms (ŽO‘Žu Sankuochih, Sanguozhi), a Chinese history compiled in the 3rd-century, and the first line of a similar description in the History of the Later Han Dynasty (ŒãŠ¿‘ Hou Han shou, Hou Han shu), a 5th-century history of the period that immediately preceded the Three Kingdoms era.

The first line of the Three Kindoms version of what in Japan is popularly called the "Gishi Wajin den" (鰎u˜`l“`) reads like this.

—‰¤š “Œ“nŠCçéP—¢A•œ—Lš AŠF˜`ŽíB

Crossing the sea to the east of the Queendom [of Wa ˜`, Yamataikoku Ž×”nˆëš ], in 1,000 and some li, there is again a country, and it is entirely a Wa [Yamato] offshoot [seed, seedling, offspring] [its people are all Wa kinfolk (of Wa clans)].

The first lines of the Later Han version read like this.

Ž©—‰¤š “Œ“xŠCçéP—¢ŽŠS“zš B嫊F˜`ŽíAŽ§•s›¢—‰¤B

Going from the Queendom [of Wa ˜`, Yamataikoku [Ž×”näiš ] to the east, crossing the sea, in 1,000 and some li one arrives at the country of Kunu [‹ç“z in ŽO‘Žu]. Although it is completely a Wa [Yamato] offshoot [its people are all Wa kinfolk], it does [they do] not belong to the [Wa] Queen [Himiko ”Ú–íŒÄ].

It thus appears that ˜`Ží means -- if not exactly "mixed blood" -- at least some degree of "kinship" resulting from intermarriage between the two populations, most likely concomitant with a migration of a aggressive population into the territory of a neighboring population.

ŠØ’q‹»Eæ⌳› Kan Chikō and Chō Ganpō   Apparently these two men were allowed to accompany the envoys and others returning to Japan -- either during the 5th (665-667) mission, or more likely the 6th (667-668). If indeed they were "Yamato no uji" in the sense of being of mixed blood, then most likely they were the children of Kudara mothers and Yamato fathers. As such they would have acquired their names from their mother's clan but also grown up aware of their father's clan, and apparently they nurtured loyalties toward both Kudara and Yamato.

Kan Chikō is mentioned in two other citations from Iki no Hakatoko report, both of which allude what appear to be the same incident (659: Saimei 5-Autumn-7-3; 661: Saimei 7-5-23). In 659, the 6th mission went to China (“‚), by way of an island that was part of Kudara (Paekche), which Japan was helping defend against Shiragi (Silla). In 660, a follower of Kan Chikō, who was in China, "falsely accused our visitors" (ž]槉ä‹q), and China decided to banish (—¬ß) them, but Iki no Hakatoko appealed the punishment and China pardoned them. However, China forbade the Yamato visitors (˜`‹q) from returning to Japan by way "seaeast" (ŠC“Œ), a reference to the Korean peninsula, where Tang troops would be supporting Silla (Shiragi) in its campaigns against Paekche (Kudara), which Japan was still supporting. Hence the mission returned in 661 via of the more dangerous route directly across the sea.

Chō Gwanpō was apparently involved in Yamato operations in Kudara (Paekche) in late 663 and early 664 (Nihongi Tenchi 2-3, NKBT 68:360-361, Aston 2: 280ff), when Kudara was capitulating to Tang forces, and Japanese supporting Kudara evacuated the peninsula. He was reportedly one of four men who wanted to inform Yamato of Tang's intentions but lacked sufficient clothing and food (‰–³ˆßâì) to go together. One of the men prevailed on the other three to sell him (æ̉äg) to obtain what they needed, and apparently they, including Chō Ganhō, were able to escape. The man who volunteered to stay was captured by Tang forces and would not reach Japan until 690, when he was duly awarded for his loyalty (Nihongi 690: Jitō 4-Winter-10-22, NKBT 68: 506-507, Aston 2:400).


664   Zenko and others settled in Naniwa
Nihon shoki 27, Tenchi 3-3, 664-4/5  

Translation   [The sovereign] takes Kudara no Koshiki Zenkō and others and has them reside in Naniwa. A star that is [A star] falls north of the capital [miyako].

Kanbun   ˆÈ•SÏ‰¤‘PŒõ‰¤“™A‹˜°“ï”gB—L¯Ÿm‰—‹ž–kB(NKBT 68:361)

Yamato translation   Kudara no Kokishi Zenkwau [Note 25] wau ra wo mote, Naniha ni haberashimu. Hoshi arite Miyako no kita ni otsu. (NKBT 68:360)

Aston's translation   Prince Syön-kwang [Note 1] of Pèkché and his people were given a residence at Naniha. There was a star which fell north of the capital. (Aston 2:282)


Kudara no Kokishi Zenkō

Kudara no Kokishi Zenkwau   NKBT Note 25 states that Zenkō [Good light] is also written Zenkō (‘TL Zen spreads], then remarks that it is not clear whether he is a younger brother or a son of Paekche king Giji (‹`Žœ‰¤ Ŭija-wang).

Note 25 then refers to the biographical information about Zenkō which appears in the obituary of Kudara no Konishiki Keifuku in the Shoku Nihongi (see 766 Kudara Keifuku dies), and observes that he died in the 7th year of Jitō (693) and that he was granted the rank of "koshiki" (wang, king) after his death (see 693 Zenko dies a king).

Prince Syön-kwang   Aston Note 1 says "The history of Pèkché in the "Tongkam" ends with the previous King Wichă. Syön-kwang was his son."


665   Over 400 Kudara [Paekche] commoners settled in Kanzaki
Nihon shoki 27, Tenchi 4 Spring 2-25, 665-2/3

Translation   [This month the sovereign] also takes 400 some men and women of the hundred surnames [common people] of Kudara [Paekche], and has them reside in the Kanzaki district of Omi province.

Kanbun   •œˆÈ•SÏ•S©’j—Žl•S—]lA‹˜°‹ß]‘_‘OŒSB (NKBT 68:363)

Yamato translation   Mata, Kudara no tami wonoko menoko yo-ho-tari-amari wo mote, Afumi no kuni no Kamusaki [Note 23] no Kohori ni oku. (NKBT 68:362)

Aston's translation   Moreover Pèkché common people, men and women to the number of more than 400, were given residences in the district of Kanzaki, in the province of Afumi. (Aston 2:283)


Grants of paddy fields

An item dated the following month reports that the Kudara people (•SÏl Kudarabito) in Kamusaki no Kohori were given paddy fields.

NKBT Note 23 observes that the Koori [district] of Kamusaki [Kamizaki, Kanzaki] was in the southeast of present-day Shiga prefecture, then cites an item in the Sakō shoban section of the Shōjiroku which translates "The Muraji of Kamusaki is a descendant of Prince Kaju, a person of the country of Kudara" (_‘O˜AA•SÏ‘læɎóŒN”VŒã–ç). The text in Shinsen shōjiroku translates "The Muraji of Kamusaki comes [descends] from Senior Sixth Rank Prince Kaju, a person of the country of Kudara" (_‘O˜AoŽ©•SÏ‘l³˜ZˆÊãæɎóŒN–ç).

I have translated ˆÈ XXX ‹˜° YYY more literally "takes XXX and has them reside in YYY". The Yamato translation is "XXX wo mote YYY ni oku" [takes XXX and places them in YYY]. Aston renders the phrase "XXX were given a residence at YYY".


674   Kudara no Kokishi Shōjō passes
Nihon shoki 29 [Tenmu 2], Tenmu 3 Spring 1-10, 674-2-23 [20]

Translation   Kudara no Kokishi [prince] Shōjō passes. [The sovereign] granted him the rank of Lesser Purple [6th rank].

passes   See comments on "Death terms" below.

rank   See comments on "Cap ranks" below.

Kanbun   •SÏ‰¤¹¬åIB‘¡Ÿ¬Ž‡ˆÊB(NKBT 68:415)

Yamato translation   Kudara no Kokishi Shiyaujiyau [Note 24] miusenu. Seu Shi no kurai wo wohitetamau. (NKBT 68:414)

Aston's translation   Prince Chhyangsyŏng of Pèkché died. He was granted the rank of Outer Shōshi. [Note 3] (Aston 2:325)


Kudara no Kokishi Shōjō

Kudara no Kokishi Shiyaujiyau   NKBT Note 24 observes that, according to the obituary for Keifuku in the Shoku Nihongi, Shōjō's was a grandson of Paekche king Giji, a son of Zenkō, and the older brother of Ryōgu (˜N‹ñ d737), that he accompanied his father to the Yamato court [from the peninsula] when a child, and has thus predeceased his father. See also NKBT Note 22 in 686 Ryōgu's attends Tenmu's funeral.

Other sources describe Ryōgu as Zenkō's grandson, Shōjō's son, and Keifuku's father.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.

Prince Chhyangsyŏng of Pèkché   Aston Note 3 says "Chhyang-syŏng was a grandson of Wi-chă, the last king of Pèkché. His father took refuge in Japan on the downfall of the dynasty."

Death terms

Prince Shōjō is of such a status as to "pass" (åI) rather than "finish" (‘²) or "die" (Ž€), but is not high enough to "collapse" (•ö).

An item dated the following month reports that Ki no Omi Ahemaro (Abemaro) "finished" (‘² sotsu, shutsu) and was given the rank of Major Purple (‘厇@daishi), the 5th rank of some 26 ranks still in use as defined by Tenmu's older brother Tenchi. The Yamato translation renders this as "miusenu" -- the same as it has rendered "pass away" (åI kō) in the case of Shōjō's death.

The differention of terms for dying in most of the early chronologies is fairly predictable and consistent. There were essentially four grades of death.

Four grades of death

1. collapse (•ö)   Sovereigns male and female -- and wives and widows of male sovereigns, such as Takano no Asomi Niigasa, as the dowager of the deceased former sovereign Kōnin more than as the mother the reigning sovereign Kanmu -- "collapse" or decease.

2. pass (åI)   High ranking officials or people with higher status titles -- such as Minister of the right Fujiwara no Tsugitada -- "pass" or demise.

3. finish (‘²)   Lower ranking officials -- like general Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu -- "finish" or end their life of service and duty.

4. die (Ž€)   Ordinary people simply "die" -- including those who, like the monk Dōkyō, had held higher titles but fell from grace and died in exhile.

Other single-graph terms for death include "vanish" (–S), "go" (s), "depart" (‹Ž), "flow on" (À), "be ruined" (–Å). And there are all manner of compounds and phrases for leaving this life and moving on to the next world.

Cap ranks

The ranks are "cap ranks" (Š¥ˆÊ kan'i) according to the reforms in the ranking system made under Tenchi in 664. The system was changed under Tenmu in 686. These and other ranking systems are fully listed in the Nihon shoki.


684   Tenmu's kabane reform edict
Nihon shoki 29, Tenmu 13 Winter 10, 684-11/12

Translation   [The sovereign] commanded and said [An edict said], again revise the clan names [titles] of the various lineages [families], make titles of eight colors [ranks], thereby mixing [the ranks of] the myriad titles under heaven. 1st called, Mabito. 2nd called, Asomi. 3rd called, Sukune. 4th called, Imiki. 5th called, Michinoshi. 6th called, Omi. 7th called, Muraji. 8th called, Inaki.

Kanbun   ÙžHAX‰ü”Ž”V‘°©Aì”ªF”V©AˆÈ¬“V‰º–œ©BˆêžHA^lB“ñžHA’©bBŽOžHAh”HBŽlžHAŠõ¡BŒÜžHA“¹ŽtB˜ZžHAbBŽµžHA˜AB”ªžHAˆî’uB(NKBT 68:465)

Yamato translation   Mikotonori shite notamahaku, "Mata moromoro no udji no kabane wo aratamete, yakusa no kabane wo tsukurite, ame no shita no yorodzu no kabane wo marokasu. Hitosu ni ihaku, Mabito. Futatsu ni ihaku, Asomi. Mitsu ni ihaku, Sukune. Yotsu ni ihaku, Imiki. Itsu ni ihaku, Michinoshi. Mutsu ni ihaku, Omi. Nanatsu ni ihaku, Muraji. Yatsu ni ihaku, Inaki." (NKBT 68:464)

Aston's translation   The Emperor made a decree, saying:--"The hereditary titles of all the families are again reformed, and eight titles of eight classes instituted. By this means the miltitudinous titles of the Empire are amalgamated. The first is Mabito, the second Ason, the third Sukune, the fourth Imiki, the fifth Michi no Shi, the sixth Omi, the seventh Muraji, and the eight Inaki." (Aston 2:364-365)

Miller's translation   The kabane of various uji are again modified and kabane of eight ranks [yakusa no kabane] are [hereby] constituted. By this means the multitude of kabane of the empire will be integrated. The first [rank] is called mahito; the second; asomi; the third, sukune; the fourth, imiki; the fifth, michi-no-shi; the sixth, omi; the sevent, muraji; and the eight [sic eighth], inaki. (Miller 1974:52).


NKBT version

The Japanese translation glosses ‘°© as "kabane", which I have dubbed "clan name" to reflect both elements. "Uji" (Ž) refers to an extended family related by lineage, whereas "zoku" (‘°) is a more generic term for any descent group, or more broadly any affiliation groups. Together, they form the word Ž‘° (shizoku), meaning a clan, or gens, defined through the paternal or maternal line. The anthropological distinctions sometimes made between such terms need not concern us here.

Aston's version

Regarding "families" Aston notes (note 4) that "Nobel families are of course meant. Here as elsewhere the word I translate title is © or surname. The Japanese had no proper surnames at this time." Aston suspects the title Ason (’©b) "is the Corean title ˆ¢飡 [J. Asan, K. Ason]" (note 2). He also states that the title Imiki "was specially given to immigrants from Corea, and is said to be for ima-ki or new-comer" (note 4).


Aston was alluding to the Yamato reading of expression ¡—ˆ (imaki), which Kōjien defines as "having newly [just] come across [the sea]" (V‚½‚É“n—ˆ‚µ‚½‚±‚Æ arata ni torai shita koto); or, such a person. Newly [for the first time] proceeding [to serve court] (VŽQ shinzan)."

The term "torai" is used in the Kojiki, as in 300 Shiragians build pond and 300s Hata, Aya come.

Miller's version

The text of Tenmu's kabane edict is reproduced on the cover of Miller's 1974 study of the kabane ranking system and the distribution of kabane, based mostly on the Shinsen Shōjiroku (815).


686   Kudara no Kokishi Ryōgu attends Tenmu's funeral
Nihon shoki 29 [Tenmu 2], Shuchō 1-9-30, 686-10-25 [22]

Translation   This day, Kudara no Kokishi Ryōgu represented Kudara no Kokishi Zenkō and eulogized him [the deceased sovereign Tenmu] [in mourning]. Next the miya-tsu-ko [officials of the shrines] of the various provinces, as they proceeded [to] and attended [arrived at] [the funeral], each eulogized him. [They] also performed [for the deceased sovereign] all manner of songs and dances.

Kanbun   ¥“úA•SÏ‰¤—Ç‹ñA‘ã•SÏ‰¤‘PŒõŽ§æp”VBŽŸ‘X‘¢“™AŽQ•‹Šeæp”VB˜¹‘tŽíX‰Ì•‘B(NKBT 68:483)

Yamato translation   Ko no hi ni, Kudara no Kokishi Riyaugu [Note 21], Kudara no Kokishi Zenkuwau [Note 22] ni kaharite, shinobikoto tatematsuru. Tsugi ni kukuguni no Miyatsukodomo, maudekuru ni shitagahite, onoono shinobikto tatematsuru. Yorite kusagusa no utamahi wo tsukahematsuru. (NKBT 68:482)

Kudara no Kokishi Riyaugu   NKBT Note 21 observes that Ryōgu's name is also written ˜N‹ñ, that he was a grandson of Paekche king Giji, a son of Zenkō the younger brother of Shōjō, and the father of Keifuku.

Kudara no Kokishi Zenkuwau   NKBT 22 refers to Note 25 in 674 Prince Shojo passes, which see for further details.

Aston's translation   On this day, the Paèkché prince Nyang-u pronounced a eulogium on behalf of his father, Prince Chön-kwang. Next, the Miyakko of the various provinces, as they came, each pronounced his eulogy. There were also performances of all manner of singing and dancing. (Aston 2:381)


Tenmu sent off with Kudara (Paekche) condolences

The significance of this account is that it features by name the son of Zenkō -- himself a son of the last Paekche king, who was sent by his father to Yamato and stayed -- offering condolences to the soveriegn who accepted Zenkō. Its to close the curtain on the Tenmu books may have been intended to underscore the submission of Kudara descendants. Or the intent may have been to legitimize the participation of people of Kudara descent in the Yamato government at the time the Nihon shoki was being compiled.

There are two Tenmu books, and together they give more space to his reign than to that of any other sovereign. Only the two books that relate the legends from the age of the gods, leading up to the start of Jinmu's reign, are longer. The third longest single book is that which covers reign of Kinmei, when Buddhism is said to have been introduced to Yamato.


687-689   Four accounts of "tōka" (“Š‰») change of allegiance
687   56 Koma [Koguryo] submitters settled in Hitachi
Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 1-3-15, 687-5-5 [2]

Translation   [The sovereign] took 56 people of Koma [Koguryo] who had thrown [themselves at her service] and changed [their allegiance], and had them reside in Hitachi. [They were] granted paddies and received a stipend of grain, and allowed to peacefully life and work.

Kanbun   ˆÈ“Š‰»‚—íŒÜ\˜ZlA‹˜°í—¤‘B•Š“cŽóâgAŽgˆÀ¶‹ÆB(NKBT 68:489)

Yamato translation   Onodzukara ni mauomobukeru Komabito iso-amari-muyu-tari wo mote, Hitachi no kuni ni haberashimu. Ta tamahi kate tamahite, narihahi ni yasukarashimu. (NKBT 68:488)

Aston's translation   Fifty-six immigrants from Koryö were settled in the province of Hitachi. They were given lands, received an allowance of grain, and made to pursue their avocations in peace. (Aston 2:385)

687   14 Shiragi (Silla) submitters settled in Shimotsukeno
Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 1-3-22, 687-5-12 [9]

Translation   [The sovereign] took 14 people of Shiragi [Silla] who had thrown [themselves at her service] and changed [their allegiance], and had them reside in Shimotsukeno province. [They were] granted paddies and received a stipend of grain, and allowed to peacefully life and work.

Kanbun   ˆÈ“Š‰»V—…l\ŽllA‹˜°‰º–і썑B•Š“cŽóâgAŽgˆÀ¶‹ÆB(NKBT 68:489)

Yamato translation   Onodzukara ni mauomobukeru Shirakihito towo-amari-yo-tari wo mote, Shimotsuke no kuni ni haberashimu. Ta tamahi kate tamahite, narihahi ni yasukarashimu. (NKBT 68:488)

Aston's translation   Fourteen immigrants from Silla were settled in the province of Shimotsukenu. They were given land and received an allowance of grain, and made to pursue their avocations in peace. (Aston 2:385)

687   22 Shiragi [Silla] submitters settled in Musashi
Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 1 Summer 4-10, 687-5-29 [26]

Translation   The Viceroy (‘åÉ Dazai, Oomikotomochi) of Tsukushi (’}Ž‡) presented [the sovereign Jitō] 22 people -- priests and nuns, and men and women of the hundred surnames [common people] -- of Shiragi [Silla], who had thrown [themselves at her service] and changed [their allegiance], and had them reside in Musashi province. [They were] granted paddies and received a stipend of grain, and allowed to peacefully live and work.

Kanbun   ’}Ž‡‘åÉŒ£“Š‰»V—…‘m“ò‹y•S©’j—“ù“ñlB‹˜°•‘ ‘B•Š“cŽóâgAŽgˆÀ¶‹ÆB(NKBT 68:489)

Yamato translation   Tsukushi no Ohmikotomochi, Onodzukara ni mauomobukeru Shiraki no hoshi-ama oyobi tami no wonoko-menoko hatachi-amari-fu-tari wo tatematsuru. Misashi no kuni ni haberashimu. Ta tamahi kate tamahite, narihahi wo yasukarashimu. (NKBT 68:488)

Aston's translation   The Viceroy of Tsukushi presented priests, nuns and common people, men and women, twenty-two persons, immigrants from Silla. They were settled in the province of Musashi, where they were granted lands and an allowance of grain, and were made to follow their avocations in peace. (Aston 2:385)

689   Shiragi [Silla] submitters settled in Shimotsukeno
Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 3 Summer 4-8, 689-5-5 [2]

Translation   [The sovereign] took Shiragi [Silla] people who had thrown [themselves before (submitted themselves to) the Yamato court] and changed [their allegiance] and had them reside in Shimotsukeno.

Kanbun   ˆÈ“Š‰»V—…lA‹˜°‰º–Ñ–ìB(NKBT 68:495)

Yamato translation   Onodzukara ni mauomobukeru Shirakihito wo mote, Shimotsukeno ni haberashimu. (NKBT 68:495)

Aston's translation   Summer, 4th month, 8th day. Immigrants from Silla were settled in the province of Shimotsukenu. (Aston 2:391)


See "Kika" and "toka" for comparisons of "tōka" (“Š‰») with "kika" (‹A‰») as synomyms for "submission and change of allegiance".


690   Four accounts of "kika" (‹A‰») change of allegiance
690   50 Shiragians [Sillas] including Senkichi and Hoku Jochi submit Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 4-2-11, 690-3-29 [26]

Translation   Fifty people -- the monk Senkichi, Kyūsan [rank] Hoku Jochi, and others of Shiragi [Silla] -- submit [to the moral authority of the sovereign] and change [their allegiance].

monk reflects ¹–å (shamon), a Chinese transliteration of Sanskrit "sramana", which means a monk or other such person who has left the world and entered the gate of Buddha in order to better contemplate one's existence.

Kanbun   V—…¹–å‘F‹gE‹‰飡–k•’m“™ŒÜ\l‹A‰»B(NKBT 68:501)

Yamato translation   Shiraki no hofushi SenkichiEKifusan [Note 37] Hoku Jochi ra, iso-tari, mauomobukeri. (NKBT 68:501)

Kifusan   NKBT Note 37 glosses Kyōsan as the 9th of 17 Shiraki ranks.

Aston's translation   A Buddhist priest of Silla named Chön-kil, Peuk Cho-chi, of Keupson rank, and others, fifty persons in all, immigrated to Japan. (Aston 2:396-397)

690   12 people including Makoma of Shiragi [Silla] settled in Musashi Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 4-2-25, 690-4-12 [9]

Translation   [The sovereign] took 12 people including Kanna [ranked] Makoma of Shiragi [Silla] who had submitted and changed, and had them reside in the province of Musashi.

Kanbun   ˆÈ‹A‰»V—…ŠØ“Þ––‹––ž“™\“ñlA‹˜°•‘ ‘B(NKBT 68:501)

Yamato translation   Mauomobukeru Shiraki no Kanna [Note 40] Makoma ra towo-amari-fu-tari wo mote, Musashi no kuni ni haberashimu. (NKBT 68:501)

Kanna [Note 40]   NKBT Note 40 glosses "Kanna" as the 11th of 17th cap ranks of Shiraki.

Aston's translation   Hö-man, of Han Nama rank, and other Silla men, twelve persons in all, who had come as immigrants, were settled in the province of Musashi. (Aston 2:397)

690   21 Kudara [Paekche] men and women submit and change allegiance Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 4-5-10, 690-6-24 [21]

Translation   21 Kudara men and women submitted and changed.

Kanbun   •SÏ’j—“ùˆêl‹A‰»B(NKBT 68:503)

Yamato translation   Kudara no wonoko-menoko hatachi-amari-hi-tori, mauomobuku. (NKBT 68:502)

Aston's translation   Twenty-one immigrants from Pèkché, men and women, arrived. (Aston 2:398)

690   Siragians [Sillans] and other submitters settled in Shimotsukeno Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 4-8-11, 690-9-22 [19]

Translation   [The sovereign] took Siragians [Sillans] and others who had submitted and changed, and had them reside in Shimotsukeno province.

Kanbun   ˆÈ‹A‰»V—…l“™A‹˜°‰º–і썑B(NKBT 68:505)

Yamato translation   Mauomobukeru Shirakihitodomo wo mote, Shimotsukeno no kuni ni haberashimu. (NKBT 68:504)

Aston's translation   Silla immgrants were settled in the province of Shimotsukenu. (Aston 2:399)


See Toka and kika for comparisons of "tōka" (“Š‰») with "kika" (‹A‰») as synomyms for "submission and change of allegiance".


693   Kudara no Zenkō granted posthumous title
Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 7-1-15, 693-2-28 [25]

Translation   [The sovereign] takes [the title] Shōkōsan and grants [it] to Kudara no Kokishi. Along [with this] [he] grants funerary objects [condolence money and burial articles].

Kanbun   ˆÈ³LŽQA‘¡•SÏ‰¤‘PŒõB›óŽ’æЕ¨B(NKBT 68:519)

Yamato translation   Shiyaukuwausamu wo mote, Kudara no Kokishi Zenkuwau [Note 33] ni ohitetamafu. Ahasete haburimono [Note 34] tamau. (NKBT 68:519)

Kudara no Kokishi Zenkuwau   NKBT Note 33 states that perhaps Zenkō died around this time, and refers back to Note 25 in 664 Zenko settled in Naniwa.

haburimono   NKBT Note 34 refers to an earlier note which glosses "haburimono" (æЕ¨ fumochi, fumotsu) as objects given to the chief mourner to help [with the funeral and burial]. The note describes what kinds of funerary gifts were appropriate for deceased persons by rank. The information in the note is based on the "Article on funerary objects" (æЕ¨ð) in the "Ordinance on mourning and burial" (‘r‘’—ß Sōsōryō) under the so-called "Yōrō ordinance system" (see comments on Yōrō codes).

Aston's translation   The posthumous rank of Shō-kwō-san was granted to Syön-kwang, Prince of Pèkché, and a contribution made towards his funerary expenses. (Aston 2:411)


Yōrō codes

The Yōrō codes (—{˜V—¥—ß Yōrō ritsuryō) as such appeared around 718 as a revision of the Taihō codes (‘å•ó—¥—ß Taihō ritsuryō), which were finished in 701 after about two decades of development. Whatever funerary gifts were given Zenkō would, of course, have been based on practices contemporary with this development.


693   37 Shiragians (Sillans) come drifting on currents
Nihon shoki 30, Jitō 7-2-30, 693-4-13 [10]

Translation   [The sovereign] takes 37 people, the Shiragians [Sillans] Muji, More, and others who came flowed [drifted] and came [arrived], and assigns and grants [them] to Yokutoku and others.

flowed [drifted] and came [arrived]   See comments on "Drifted and arrived" below.

Kanbun   ˆÈ—¬—ˆV—…l–´Ž©–Ñ—ç“™™ÀŽµlA•tŽ’‰¯“¿“™B(NKBT 68:521)

Yamato translation   [Note 8] Maukeru Shirakihito Muji More ra miso-amari-nana-tari wo mote, Yokutoku [Note 9] ra ni sadzuketamafu. (NKBT 68:520)

NKBT Note 8 comments on the entire line as follows.

People who drifted to and arrived in Japan having wrecked their ship (“ï‘D‚µ‚Ä“ú–{‚É•Y’…‚µ‚½lX). Are Muji [and] More [personal] names (–¼ na)? They were probably commoners having no [family, clan] titles [names] (© shō).

See comments on "Drifted and arrived" below.

Yokutoku   NKBT Note 9 identifies "Yokutoku" as Boku Yokutoku (–p‰¯“¿ Pak Ŏktŏk), who some two months before had arrived with another envoy from Shiragi with tributes (Jitō 6-11-8, 692-12-23 [20], in which account ‰¯ is ‰­).

An NKBT note to the earlier account wonders if Boku Yokutoku returned the following spring. If he did, then the castaways that were put in his charge may have gone back with him.

Aston's translation   Thirty-seven castaways from Silla, named Muchä, Monyé, etc., were handed over to Ök-tök and his party. (Aston 2:411)


Drifted and arrived

Note that the Yamato translation has reduced —¬—ˆ (ryōrai) meaning "flow and come" to simply "maukeru" -- the past attributive form of "mauku" or hence "[those] who came".

The term •Y’… (hyōchaku), as used in the NHBT headnote, has long been the most common expression for arrival by drifting at sea. This term appears in many historical records. In Seishū tōka ki, for example, it is used to describe the arrival at Himuka (Miyazaki) in 1680 of apparently shipwrecked people from Padang. See 6 of 18 Padangese survive for a translation of this account.

Earlier variations of the "drift and arrive" metaphor include •Y’˜ (hyōchaku), which appears in the Nihon kōki account of the the 26 Sillans who arrived at the port of Hakata in 814. See 814 26 Sillans at Hakata for a translation of this account and commentary on the flow of Sillans to Japan from the late 7th to early 10th centuries.




The kanbun text shown here began with the script posted by Sekine Satoshi (ŠÖª‘) at (ŒÃŽ–‹L³‰ðFŒÃŽ–‹LŒ¤‹†‰ï).


Circa 700   Kakinomoto no Ason Hitomaro
Man'yōshū, Book 3, Poems 303 and 304

NKBT texts of 303 and 304

(NKBT MYS-1, NKBT 4:164-165)

Kanbun   Š`–{’©bl–ƒ˜CA‰º’}Ž‡š ŽžAŠC˜Hì‰Ì“ñŽñ

Japanese Translation   Š`–{’©bl–ƒ˜CA’}Ž‡š ‚ɉº‚肵ŽžAŠC˜H‚ɂčì‚é‰Ì“ñŽñ

Romanization   Kakinomoto no Ason Hitomaro, Tsukushi no kuni ni kudarishi toki, umidzi nite tsukuru uta nishu

Translation   Two poems Kakinomoto no Ason Hitomaro made on the seaway when descending to the land [province] of Tsukushi

seaway reflects umidzi (ŠC˜H umiji, kairo), as I am reading the word here. Another possible Yamato reading is "umitsudzi" (ŠC’ØH), as seen in poem 1781 (Book 9, NKBT MYS-2, NKBT 5:404-405). Use of genitive or relational "tsu" was mainly dictated by the poetics (mora count) of a phrase -- hence "umidzi ni idete" (ŠC˜H尒oŽ§) in poem 366, but "umi-tsu-dzi no" (ŠC’ØH”T) in poem 1781.

descended (‰º) reflects kudarite -- meaning that the direction of travel was "down" or "away from" the court or capital. Such conventions for clarifying the direction of movement are alive and well in designations of inbound and outbound trains in relation to a central station as respectively "nobori" (climb, ascend) and "kudari" (descend). Similar designations are used for highways and ferry routes.







Inami no umi no
oki tsu nami
chie ni kakurinu
Yamatoshimane ha

English translation

The waves in the offings
of the seas off Inami,
its name so fine,
hiding in their kilofolds
the Yamato islands

Inami (ˆîŒ©) is equated with Innami (ˆó“ì), a plain that straddles present-day Takasago city (‚»Žs) and Akashi city (–¾ÎŽs) in present-day Hyōgo prefecture (•ºŒÉŒ§). The name survived as Innami county first of Harima province (”d–‘) then of Hyōgo prefecture. It's last towns and villages were incorporated into cities, and the county thus ceased to exist, in 1979.

kilofolds (çd chie) describes the thousands of waves that stood so high on the seas as to obscure the view of the land -- or, as some interpretations would have it, the mountain peaks of Yamato. Confer expressions like "yae no shioji" (”ªd‚Ì’ª˜H eight-fold tideway) and "yashio no umi" (”ª’ª‚ÌŠC eight-tide sea), both metaphors for treacherous if not also long journeys on open seas.

Yamato islands reflects ‘å˜a“‡ª (Yamato shimane). The name of Shimane prefecture, which embraces the older provinces of Iwami, Izumo, and Iki, appears to derive from this appellation for Japan. See further comments the notes to the translation of poem 3688 (below).





‚ ‚è’Ê‚Ó


Ohokimi no
oho no mikado to
shimato wo mireba
kamiyo shi omohoyu

English translation

With the remote court
of the great lord
I am ever plying [the straits] --
Seeing the gate to the islands
I feel the age of the gods

remote court reflects ‰“‚Ì’©’ì (toho no mikado), which has three related meanings (based on Kōjien, whose definitions I have expanded with information from MYS poems and related NKBT headnotes).

1. an extension of the sovereign's court in a remote part of it's jurisdiction; e.g. MYS Book 17:4011 by Ōtomo no Yakamochi (‘唺‰ÆŽ 718-785) -- ‘åŒN‚Ì / ‰“‚Ì’©’ì‚» / ‚ݐá~‚é / ‰z‚Æ–¼‚É•‰‚Ö‚é . . . [rest of long poem omitted]

2. a detached court representing the sovereign in dealings with embassies from other countries, in particular Dazaifu in distant Tsukushi, which envoys from Silla and other countries would first visit if following protocol; e.g. MYS Book 5:794 by Yamanoue no Okura (ŽRã‰¯—Ç c660-c733) -- ‘åŒN‚Ì / ‰“‚Ì’©’ì‚Æ / ‚µ‚ç‚Ê‚Ð / ’}Ž‡‚̍‘‚É . . . [rest of long poem omitted]

3. an embassy representing the sovereign's court outside its jurisdiction, such as in Silla, if not also while en route, e.g. MYS Book 15:3688 -- “Vc‚Ì / ‰“‚Ì’©’ì‚Æ / ŠØ‘‚É / “n‚é‚킪”w‚Í . . . [see below for full text and translation of this long poem].

Daizaifu had long been the designated official entrance to Yamato, where embassies from countries on the peninsula and continent were expected to arrive and depart. It was far from the capital -- which moved a number of times during Kakinomoto's life, but would have been somewhere in present-day Nara, Osaka, or Shiga prefectures.

gate to the islands reflects “‡–å (shimato), meaning the waterways that marked the arrival at Yamato, especially when crossing the straits from the peninsula. One of these waterways would have including the Kanmon (ŠÖ–å) or –åŽi (moji) straits between Shimonoseki (‰ºŠÖ) and Moji, through which vessels had to pass when entering or leaving what is today called the Seto Inland Sea (£ŒË“àŠC) but was then simply Seto (£ŒË) -- or door to the narrow sea in which tides could be a problem. All these place names reflect their role in the observation and control of the movement of vessels moving between Seto and outer seas to the west.

Levy's translations of 303 and 304

(Levy 1981, 1987:173)

303 and 304

Two poems by Kakinomoto Hitomaro while he was
travelling by sea down to the land of Tsukushi

On the offing
     of the Inami Sea --
          Beautiful its name --
hidden by a thousand lapping waves,
the island, Yamato.

Gazing on the channel
where they ply back and forth
to our Lord's distant Court,
I think of the age of the gods. [Note 4]

[Note 4]  This appears to refer not to any single myth, but rather to the sense of grandeur which for Hitomaro is an attribute of "the age of the gods" itself.

NGS translations of 303 and 304

(NGS 1940, 1965:50)

During voyage down to Tsukushi. [Note 4]
[III : 303-4]

Beyond the waves rearing a thousandfold,
Far away upon the sea of fair-named Inami, [Note 5]
Is hidden, ah, the land of Yamato. [Note 6]

When I behold the straits between the islands,
The passage for travellers
To our Sovereign's distant court, [Note 7]
They remind me of the mighty age of the gods. [Note 8]

[Note 4]  The province of Tsukushi was in the northern part of KyŐshū, where the Dazaifu was situated. These two poems were made, perhaps, during the voyage thither on some official business, but the date is unknown.

[Note 5]  On the edge of the coast between Akashi and the River Kako.

[Note 6]  The capital then was situated in Yamato, where the poet had his home.

[Note 7]  The second and the third lines are construed by some scholars to read: 'The distant portals for travellers / To our Sovereign's court,'

[Note 8]  An allusion to the gods, Izanagi and Izanami, who created the islands of Japan.


735-736   Japanese envoys die of disease on mission to Silla
Man'yōshū, Book 15, Poems 3688-3690

NKBT texts of 3688-3690

(NKBT MYS-4, NKBT 7:84-86)

Kanbun   “žšãŠò“ˆAá˜A‘î–žš‹ö‹S•aŽ€‹Ž”VŽžì‰ÌˆêŽñ < ›ó’Z‰Ì >

Japanese translation   šãŠò‚Ì“‡‚É“ž‚è‚āAá˜A‘îŸÞ‚̍š‚É‹S•a‚É‹ö‚ЂĎ€‹Ž‚肵Žž‚ɍì‚é‰ÌˆêŽñ < ’Z‰Ì‚ð›ó‚¹‚½‚è >

Romanization   Iki no shima ni itarite, Yuki no Muraji Yakamaro no tachimachi ni eyami [Note 3] ni ahite mimakarishi toki ni tsukuru uta isshu < Mijikauta wo ahasetari >

English translation   One poem made when, arriving at the island of Iki, Yuki no Muraji Yakamaro suddenly encountered the devil's disease and took leave of life < With short poems >

devil's disease reflects eyami (‹S•a), which NKBT Note 3 glosses as follows.

In the Wamyōshō, [Ruijū] myōgishō, and other [early dictionaries], ‰u (eki) is read "eyami" in Japanese, but whether ‹S•a (kibyō) was a ripe [established] word is not known. It probably means Ž€•a (shibyō) [fatal illness]. ‹S is the same as the ƒ‚ƒm (mono) of ƒ‚ƒmƒmƒP (mononoke) and the like.

The expression "mononoke" (•¨‚̉ö) means the spirit or vibes (ke) or something living or dead (mono) -- a specter or ghost, often evil, which could bring illness, death, and other misfortune. The "yami" of "eyami" is the usual Yamato reading of •a and means illness or disease.

took leave of life reflects "mimakarishi", the past attributive of "mimakaru" (g”ë‚é), the Yamato reading of many graphs related to death, here the compound Ž€‹Ž (shikyo), which would otherwise mean "died and departed".

The Yamato expression "mimakaru" implies that the "person" (g mi) of someone of fairly high status "takes leave" or "humbly retreats" (”ë‚é makaru) from, say, the court or the capital. In this case, Yuki no Muraji Yakamaro's "death and departure" is metaphorically described as an action of taking leave of this world for the next world.

Nothing is known about Yuki no Yakamaro expept that he is credited with writing poem 3644 in the same cycle of poems related to the ill-fated Silla-bound embassy.



‰Â—Çš 尒




Sumeroki no
toho no mikado to
Karakuni ni
wataru waga se ha
Ihebito no
Ihahi mataneka
tadami kamo
ayamachi shikemu
aki saraba
kaerimasamu to
tarachine no
haha ni mawoshite
toki mo sugi
tsuki mo henureba
kefu ka komu
asu kamo komu to
ihebito ha
machikofuramu ni
toho no kuni
imada mo tsukazu
Yamato wo mo
tohoku sakarite
iha ga ne no
araki shimane ni
yadori suru kimi











Hanka nishu

Ihatano ni
yadori suru kimi
ihebito no
idzura to ware wo
tohaba ika ni iwamu

Yo no naka ha
tsune kaku nomito
kimi ni ya moto na
a ga kohi yukamu

Migi no sanshu ha, banka nari.

English translations  

NGS translations of 3688-3690

(NGS 1940, 1965:248)

On the death of Yuki Yakamaro from a
sudden attack on the plague when he
arrived at the isle of Iki.
[XV : 3688-90]

O you, who were voyaging to the Land of Kara,
Our Sovereign's distant court --
Since you told her that had sucked you,
'I shall return when autumn comes,'
Weary months of time have passed.

And your housefolk wait and long,
'He may be home to-day,
He will surely come to-morrow.'

But, have your kinsmen failed
In purifications due?
Or have you failed in your duties?

Before you reach the distant land,
And far away from yamato,
You lie for ever here
On this isile of rugged rocks.


O you, who lie at Iwata Field,
If your housefolk ask me where you are,
How shall I answer them?

You have parted from us, as if to say,
'This is the way of the world,'
While I go upon my voyage
With vain abiding love for you!

Farris's revision of NGS translation of 3688

(Farris 1985:57)

On the death of Yuki no Muraji Yakamaro from a sudden attack of pestilence upon his arrival at Iki

O you, who were voyaging to the land of Korea
As our Sovereign's deputy --
Since you told your mother who sucked you
"I shall return when autumn comes,"
Weary months have passed.
And your family waits and longs,
"He may be home today,
He will surely come tomorrow.'
But, have your kinsmen failed
In their rites of purification?
Have you failed in your duties?
Before you reach the distant land,
And far away from yamato,
You lie forever here
On this isile of rugged rocks.

[ Farris omitted the two additional poems. ]


Shoku Nihongi

The Shoku Nihongi, the second of Japan's six early national histories, was commissioned by Kanmu in 794. Its 40 chapters [kan] were completed in 797 (the 16th year of Kanmu (797) and cover the years 697-791 (the 1st year of Monmu to the 10th year of Kanmu).

794 is an important turning point in Japanese history. Earlier in the year Kanmu conferred the title of Seii Taishōgun or "Barbarian-subjugating Great-general" on Ootomo no Otomaro (727/731?-809). Ootomo was one of the more successful Yamato commanders in the continuing wars against Ebisu/Emishi/Ezo to the east or northeast.

Later in 794, Kanmu moved the capital to Kyoto, where but for a few months in 1180 it remained until the start of the Meiji period. The Seii Taishōgun title also continued to be used until the end of Tokugawa era.


717   Soldiers from Kōrai and Kudara given relief for life
Shoku Nihongi 7, Genshō, Yōrō 1-11-8, 717-12-19 [15]

Kanbun   ‚—íE•SÏ“ñ‘Žm‘²B‘˜–{‘—B“Š‰—¹‰»B’©’ë—÷‘´âˆæB‹‹•œIgB(SZKT SN-1:70)

Translation   Soldiers of the two countries of Kōrai (Korŏ) [J. Kōkuri, K. Koguryŏ] and Kudara (Paekche). They encountered rebellions in their home countries. They threw themselves at santification. The [imperial] court sympathizes with [their plight as refugees from distant and for them now] closed territories. [The court] will provide relief for the rest of their lives.


Threw themselves into santification

Kōjien defines ¹‰» (seika) as ’鉤‚Ì“¿‰» (Teiō no tokka), which means to convert to -- accept and adopt -- the moral principles of the sovereign. Both ¹‰» and “¿‰» were closely associated with embracing Buddhism tenets, which were then gaining prestige as Buddhism became increasing patronized by the imperial court. Whether the soldier's changed their allegiance (kika ‹A‰») is not clear, but the expression “Š‰—¹‰» -- meaning "to throw oneself into" or "submit to" (“Š‰—) the process of "becoming sacred" (¹‰») or "santification" -- suggests that they, in exchange for being settled somewhere, provided with land, and enrolled in local registers, they purified their hearts of feelings which were counter to those required of imperial subjects. This suggests that the soldier's changed their allegiance (kika ‹A‰»), which means to submit (commit) oneself to accepting and adopting the moral principles and authority of the emperor of Japan. What was essentially the object of what was called "kōminka" (c–¯‰») during the decades of colonial expansion and nationalization during the decades before the Pacific War, when new subjects in territories like Taiwan and Chōsen were subjected to education and other measures that sought to change them into the emperor's people.

The reigning sovereign at the time was Genshō (Œ³³ 680-748). She was 2 years into her reign (r715-724), which succeecced the reign of her mother Genmei (Œ³–¾ 660-721, r707-715). Two sovereigns, Kōken (FŒª 718-770, r749-758), the third female to become tennō in the 8th century -- and the last for over a millennia -- became close to the the monk Dōkyō (“¹‹¾ 700-772), who gained power through her support and aspired to the throne himself -- which naturally aroused the ire of the Shintō factions, which exiled Dōkyō from Nara after Kōken's death.

A "kyō" (‹¨) was the "Highest official in each of the eight ministries" (Reischauer 1967B:174) in the Ritsuryō system of government (Kōjien). At the time of his death, Keifuku was the director of the Gyōbushō [Kyōbushō, Keibushō] (ŒY•”È), as the Ministry of Justice was also known was called from 1869 to 1871. The title of the directing minister changed from "kyō" (‹¨) to "daijin" (‘åb) in 1885. The Yamato terms for the penal ministry were "utae tadasu tsukasa" (department of rectifying complaints) and "utae no tsukasa" (department of complaints). The ministry investigated crimes, conducted trials, meted out punishments, and otherwise oversaw the enforcement of law and administration of justice.

Keifuku ("Kyōfuku" in some sources) began his rise to prominence in 738 as the "deputy governor of [the province of] Mutsu" (—¤‰œ‰î Mutsu no suke) "deputy governor" (‰î suke). He became the governor (Žç kami) of Mutsu in 743, and over the next two decades served as the governor of several other provinces. During this period he also served in other posts, including the Minister of Imperial Houshold (‹{“à‹¨ Kunaikō) in 750, and on the occasion of the funeral of as the sovereign Shōmu in 756 he directed the Mountain [Tomb mound] building office (ŽRìŽi Yamatsukri no tsukasa). He was deeply involved in domestic affairs during the 760s.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.


766   Kudara no Konishiki Keifuku passes
Shoku Nihongi 27, Shōtoku, Tenpyō Jingo 2-6-28, 766-8-12 [8]

Kanbun   ŒY•”‹¨]ŽOˆÊ•SÏ‰¤Œh•ŸåIB‘´æŽÒAoŽ©•SÏ‘‹`Žœ‰¤B. . . ‹`Žœ‰¤Œ­‘´Žq–Làö‰¤‹y‘TL‰¤“üŽ˜B(SZKT SN-2:133)

See comments on "Kudara no Konikishi Keifuku" below.

Translation   Minister of Penal Affairs Junior Third Rank Kudara no Konikishi Keifuku passes away. His ancestors came from [the line of] king Giji [Uija] of the country of Kudara [Paekche]. . . . King Giji sent his sons king Hōshō (–Làö) and king Zenkō (‘TL) who then entered the service of the Yamato court (“üŽ˜).


Kudara no Konikishi Keifuku

A "kyō" (‹¨) was the "Highest official in each of the eight ministries" (Reischauer 1967B:174) in the Ritsuryō system of government (Kōjien). At the time of his death, Keifuku was the director of the Gyōbushō [Kyōbushō, Keibushō] (ŒY•”È), as the Ministry of Justice was also known was called from 1869 to 1871. The title of the directing minister changed from "kyō" (‹¨) to "daijin" (‘åb) in 1885. The Yamato terms for the penal ministry were "utae tadasu tsukasa" (department of rectifying complaints) and "utae no tsukasa" (department of complaints). The ministry investigated crimes, conducted trials, meted out punishments, and otherwise oversaw the enforcement of law and administration of justice.

Keifuku ("Kyōfuku" in some sources) began his rise to prominence in 738 as the "deputy governor of [the province of] Mutsu" (—¤‰œ‰î Mutsu no suke) "deputy governor" (‰î suke). He became the governor (Žç kami) of Mutsu in 743, and over the next two decades served as the governor of several other provinces. During this period he also served in other posts, including the Minister of Imperial Houshold (‹{“à‹¨ Kunaikō) in 750, and on the occasion of the funeral of as the sovereign Shōmu in 756 he directed the Mountain [Tomb mound] building office (ŽRìŽi Yamatsukri no tsukasa). He was deeply involved in domestic affairs during the 760s.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.


770   Shotoku collapses (dies) at west palace
Shoku Nihongi 30, Shōtoku, Hōki 1-8-4, 770-9-1 [8-28]

Kanbun   “Vc•ö˜°¼‹{Q“aB(SZKT SN-2:379)

Translation   The sovereign collapses [deceases] at the west palace sleeping building [quarters].

collapses   Whereas people with higher cap ranks like Keifuku's status "passed" (åI), sovereigns "collapsed" (•ö).

Shōtoku tennō (Ì“¿“Vc 718-770, r764-770), the 48th sovereign, had previosuly reigned as the 46th sovereign Kōken tennō (FŒª“Vc r749-758). The last of the Tenmu-line sovereigns, Shōtoku's spiritual and possibly romantic support of the ambitious monk Dōkyō (see next), who aspired to be the sovereign and replace Shinto rites with Buddhist observations in the court, resulted in a virtual ban on female sovereigns that, with two nominal exceptions in the 17th and 18th centuries, remains today in the form of a strictly patrilineal succession rule.


772   Shotoku's favorite dies an ordinary death
Shoku Nihongi 32, Kōnin, Hōki 3 Summer 4-7, 772-5-17 [13]

Kanbun   ‰º–썑Œ¾B‘¢–òŽtŽ›•Ê“–“¹‹¾Ž€B. . . Ž€ˆÈŽl‘’”VB (SZKT SN-2:402)

Translation   The province of Shimotsuke said [reported] [that] Dōkō, the attendant in charge of constructing Yakushiji, had died. . . . Due to his death commoners buried him.

Shimotsuke was in present-day Ibaraki prefecture. Dōkō had been banished there after Shōtoku's death for having, again, plotted to take over the government.

attendant in charge of constructing . . . reflecdts ‘¢EEE•Ê“–. This rendering was inspired by Reischauer's translation of the Hō 1-8-21 (770-9-18 [14]) account of Dōkyō's demotion and appointment as "Intendant (Bettō) in charge of the construction of the Yakushi-ji in Shomotsuke-no-kuni." Reischauer remarks that "He had built a small hut beside Shōtoku-Tennō's grave and had been praying for her future happiness. Sakanoue Karitamaro, however, had accused him secretly of plotting once more, so he was sent away." (Reischauer 1967A:209)

died   Whereas Keifuku "passed away" and Shōtoku "collapsed", Dōkyō merely "died" (Ž€). The obituary, which gives a rather detailed account of his notoriety by way of explaining why he was sent to Shimotsuke, concludes with the statement that he was buried by ordinary people, presumably without the condolences of the court.


776-777   Mutsu and Dewa captees moved to Kyushu and Shikoku

Two entries toward the end of the 7th year of Hōki, during the reign of Kanmu, suggest the extent to which events in Mutsu and Dewa affected provinces at the opposite limits of Japan's dominion.

776   395 Mutsu captees sent to provinces in Kyushu
Shoku Nihongi 34, Hōki 7-9-13, 776-11-2 [10-29]

Kanbun   —¤‰œ‘˜ØŽúŽO•S‹ã\ŒÜl•ª”z‘åÉŠÇ“à”‘B(SZKT SN-2:429)

Translation   Captee prisoners of the land [province] of Mutsu, three-hundred and ninety-five persons, were split [among] and allocated to the various lands [provinces] within the jurisdiction of Dazai.

within the jurisdiction of Dazai (‘åÉŠÇ“à) meant within the Saikaidō (¼ŠC“¹) or "western-sea way" region, which was overseen by the government headquarters at Daizaifu on Kyushu. The office was responsible for the nine provinces of Kyushu and the insular provinces of Iki and Tsushima, as well as for affairs concerning the southern (Ryukyu) islands.

Reischauer   [776] 10.29 (9.13) Three hundred and ninety-five Japanese who had been captured by the Ezo [and recaptured by the Japanese] (fushū) and were living in Mutsu-no-kuni were sent down to the provinces (kuni) under the jurisdiction of the Government Headquarters in Kyūshū (Dazaifu). (Reischauer 1967A:212)

Japanese . . . (fushū)   This interpretation is odd. See comments on "Captee prisoners" below.

777   358 Dewa captees sent to Kyushu and Shikoku;
          78 given to officials as servants or slaves

Shoku Nihongi 34, Hōki 7-11-29, 777-1-17 [13]

Kanbun   o‰H‘˜ØŽúŽO•SŒÜ\”ªl”z‘åÉŠÇ“à‹yŽ]Šò‘B‘´Žµ\”ªl”ÇŽ’”Ži‹yŽQ‹c›ßãˆ×æˁB(SZKT SN-2:430)

Translation   Captee prisoners of the land [province] of Dewa, three-hundred and fifty-eight people, were allocated [distributed] within the jurisdiction of Dazai and [to] the land [province] of Sanuki. Seventy-eight people [among them] were divided [among] and awarded to the various officials and court advisers and above, and became base [subjects] [servants].

Reischauer   [777] 1.13 (11.29) Three hundred and fifty-eight Japanese who had been captured by the Ezo [and recaptured by the Japanese] (fushū) and were living in Dewa-no-kuni were sent down to Sanuki-no-kuni and the provinces (kuni) under the jurisdiction of the Government Headquarters in Kyūshū (Dazaifu). (Reischauer 1967A:212)

Japanese . . . (fushū)   This interpretation is odd. See comments on "Captee prisoners" below.


Captee prisoners

Reischauer's interpretation is odd for two reasons. First, the received accounts do not differentiate people in Mutsu and Dewa, or in other provinces, as "Japanese" and others. Second, the origins of the Mutsu and Dewa "captees and prisoners" are not clear.

The term "fushō" (˜ØŽú) does not define itself. While it could refer to assimilated native inhabitants of Mutsu and Dewa, it could also mean simply local "prisoners of war" -- which would probably have included all manner of people descended from both Emishi or Ezo and migrant settlers.

In both of the above entries, "captees and prisoners" probably refers to local inhabitants of Mutsu and Dewa who, because they were associated with a rebel clan, were resettled in remote areas of Kyushu and Shikoku, to (1) punish them, (2) reduce the population of would be rebels in the locality, (3) free local land for use by migrants from other provinces, and (4) provide labor for the development of the areas to which they were sent.

That both entries referred to the "captees and prisoners" as "people" (l) suggests their numbers may have included women and even children in families.

The second entry, concerning "captees and prisoners" from Dewa, states that some of them became "base" subjects as a result of being given to high ranking officials, presumably as servants or slaves. This would seem to imply that the others were "good" subjects who stood to be counted as taxable heads and receive allocations of land for cultivation.


778   Fujiwara no Kiyokawa's Tang-born daughter Kijo arrives in Japan
Shoku Nihongi 35, Kōnin, Hōki 9-11-13, 778-12-10 [6]

Mixed-blood children of Japanese envoys and other sojourners in China

This Shoku Nihongi report relates the fate of what historians call the 16th Japanese legation to Tang China, which left Japan in 777 and returned in 778. On its return voyage, the fleet encountered storms that took the lives of the chief Japanese envoy, a Chinese envoy, and many others. The 1st ship broke apart, and the stem (bow) and stern, which carried survivors, drifted to different parts of Japan. The stem arrived in Amakusa in Higo province, with the daughter of Fujiwara no Kiyokawa. Kiyokawa, who died in Chang'an about the time some members of the 16th mission arrived in Chang'an in 778 to take him back to Japan, had headed the 12th mission (752-754) but was unable to return due to shipwrecks and domestic uprisings. During his sojourn in China, the Tang court had given him the name Heqing (‰Í´ J. Kasei, Kawakiyo), an official post, and a wife.

See the overview of Japanese envoys to Tang court on the "Kofun through Nara (300-794)" page in the "History" section of the Konketsuji website.

The following text of the original is pieced together from various web versions, which I edited and vetted against the verion in my copy of the SZKT edition of SN. The English translation is my very structural rendering of the kanbun text, meaning that I have endeavored to cut close to the graphic metaphors of the original phrasing. Some glosses and interpretions are shown in [brackets]. The underscored words and phrases are discussed in the notes.

Kanbun text (SZKT SN-2:445)

›pŽqBŒ­“‚‘æŽl‘D—ˆ”‘ŽF–€‘™“ˆŒSB‘´”»Š¯ŠCã^lŽOŽë“™•Y’…’^—…“ˆB”퓈l—ª—¯B’A˜^Ž–ŠØ‘˜AŒ¹“™B‰A–d‰ð㜎§‹ŽB—¦ˆâOŽl\—]lŽ§—ˆ‹AB›‰³‰KB‘æ“ñ‘D“ž”‘ŽF–€‘o…ŒSB–”‘æˆê‘DŠC’†X[’†]’fBäw䃊e•ªBŽå_’ÃŽçh”I[”H]‘–ƒ˜CB›ó“‚”»Š¯“™ŒÜ\˜ZlBæ‘´äƒŽ§’…™“ˆŒSB”»Š¯‘唺h”I[”H]lB›ó‘O“ü“‚‘åŽg“¡Œ´’©b‰Í´”V—Šì–º“™卌ˆêlBæ‘´äwŽ§’…”ìŒã‘“V‘ŒSBŒpl“™ã‘tŒ¾BŒpl“™‹Ž”N˜ZŒŽ“ùŽl“úBŽl‘D“¯“üŠCBŽµŒŽŽO“ú . . . ”ªŒŽ“ù‹ã“ú . . . \ŒŽ\˜Z“ú . . . ³ŒŽ\ŽO“úB“ž’·ˆÀ B. . . ŽOŒŽ“ùŽl“ú . . . ŽlŒŽ“ù“ú . . . ˜ZŒŽ“ñ\ŒÜ“ú . . . ‹ãŒŽŽO“ú . . . B\ˆêŒŽŒÜ“úB“¾M•—B‘æˆê‘æ“ñ‘D“¯”­“üŠCB”ä‹yŠC’†B”ª“ú‰XB•—‹}”g‚B‘Å”j¶‰E’IªB’ª…–ž‘DBŠW”‹“—¬Bl•¨•YB–³ˆâƒ^[ŽÙ]ŽB•Ä…B•›Žg¬–ì’©bÎª“™™¿”ªlB“‚Žgæâ•ó‰p“™“ùŒÜlB“¯Žž–v“üB•s“¾‘Š‹~B’Abˆêlös’˜äwŸBŠpBŒÚᾑOŒãB¶—â˜HB\ˆê“úŒÜXB”¿žü“|‰—‘D’êB’fˆ×—¼’iBäw䃊e‹Ž–¢’mŠ“žBŽl\—]l—Ý‹•ûä”Väw‹“Ž²—~–vBÚ㜖‘Æ[B㜝eA]B“¾­•‚ãB’E‹pˆßÖB—‡gŒœ¿B•Ä…•s“üŒûB›ßŒo˜Z“úBˆÈ\ŽO“úˆåŽž•Y’…”ìŒã‘“V‘ŒS¼’‡“ˆBb”VÄ¶B‰b‘¢Š‹~B•s”CŠ½K”VŽŠB‹Þ•ò•\ˆÈ•·B

Structural translation

› The 4th ship sent to Tang arrived and moored in the Koshikishima district of Satsuma province. Its magistrate Unakami no Mahito Mikari and others drifted to and arrived at Tanratō. They were by the islanders captured and detained. However, the registrar Karakuni no Muraji Minamoto and others. They secretly plotted, untied the bonds, and left [for Japan]. The remaining group of 40 some people also came back.

› 13th day [of the 11th month of the 9th year of Hōki] [10 December 778 Gregorian, 6 December 778 Julian]. The 2nd ship arrived and moored in the Izumi district of Satsuma province. But the 1st ship in the middle of the sea breached in the middle. The stem and the stern, each separated. The prior (kantsukasa Žå_) Tsumori no Sukune Kunimaro. And the Tang magistrate and others, 56 people. Rode the stern and arrived in the Koshikijima district [of Satsuma province]. The [Japan] magistrate Ōtomo no Sukune Tsuguhito [d785]. With the girl [daughter] Kijō of Fujiwara Asomi Kawakiyo, the ambassador who had previously entered Tang, and others, 41 persons. Rode the stem and arrived in the Amakusa district of Higo province. Tsuguhito and others reported to the court saying.

Tsuguhito and others last year, 6th month, 24th day. 4 ships together entered the sea. 7th month, 3rd day. . . . 8th month, 29th day. . . . 10th month, 16th day. . . . 1st month, 13th day [18 February 778 Gregorian, 14 February 778 Julian]. Arrived at Chang'an. . . . 3rd month, 24th day. . . . 4th month, 22nd day. . . . 6th month, 25th day. . . . 9th month, 3rd day. . . . 11th month, 5th day [2 December 778 Gregorian, 28 November 778 Julian]. We obtained a reliable [good] wind. The 1st and 2nd ships together departed and entered the sea. In time we reached the middle of the sea. The 8th day [of the 11th month] [the 3rd day out], 1st watch [7-9 pm]. The winds quickened, the waves heightened. [They] struck and broke, left and right, the planks and chines. Tide [Sea] water filled the ship. Cover boards [Deck planks] raised and flowed [off]. People and things wantonly floated [away]. There was not left [even] a ladle or pinch of rice or water. The vice envoy Ono no Ason Iwane (¬–ì’©bÎª) and others, 38 people. The Tang envoy Zhao Baoying (æâ•ó‰p) and others, 25 people. They at the same time fell [disappeared, sank] into [the sea]. We were unable to help and save them. However, I [Your subject] (Shin b) alone swam for and arrived at a corner of the cage [cabin, housing] of the stem. [I] looked and glanced [around], front and back. The wherewithalls of life were a closed road (seiri zetsuro ¶—â˜H). The 11th day [of the 11th month], 5th watch [3-5 AM]. The sail mast fell to the bottom of the ship. [It] broke [the ship] into two sections. The stem [bow, prow] and stern [poop] each went [drifted] to where we did not know. We 40 some people piled on the square-jō (hōjō •ûä) [one jō (ä) per side (•û)] [3x3 meter, 10x10 foot] stem, raised the shaft [of the rudder] and [the stem] was wont to sink. We laid [hauled in] the [mooring] lines and pillowed [secured, shipped] the rudder [We cut the lines and cast away the rudder]. We were able to float up [rise] a little. We removed and discarded our clothes and garments. Our naked bodies hung to and sat on [the stem]. Rice and water did not enter our mouths. 6 days have already passed [since the storm]. Thereby, on the hour of i (ˆå) [9-11 pm] on the 13th day [of the 11th month] [8 days after departure], we drifted to and arrived at Nishinakashima in the Amakusa district of Hizen province [now Nagashima (’·“‡) in Izumi county (o…ŒS) in Kagishima prefecture (Ž­Ž™“‡Œ§)]. I [Your subject] (Shin b) was again born. [I] was saved by the work of heaven. [I] cannot bear [express] my joy over the extent of [my] fortune. [I] respectfully request that [the court] receive [this] report [memorial].


The received

Tanratō (’^—…“ˆ), also read Chiratō, would be Tamrado (탐라도) in Korean. The islands are now called Chejutō (ÏB“‡) in Japanese and Chejudo (제주도) in Korean. They were part of Kudara (Paekche) at the time Japan was deeply involved in Kudara and Mimana (Imna) affairs in the the 6th and 7th centuries, after which they became part of Shiragi (Silla). There is some dispute among historians as to what extent Tanra may have been under Japnese control, or whether it was inhabited by a distinct population that was neither Japanese nor Korean. The islands were in a position to catch storm damaged vessels that drifted toward the straits between Japan and Korea.

Karakuni no Muraji Minamoto (ŠØ‘˜AŒ¹) was one of a number of Yamato officials who bore the "Karakuni" (ŠØ‘) clan name (uji Ž). Historians generally hold that the name had originally been given to migrants from the peninsula who had settled in Yamato and changed their allegiance. "Karakuni" is a contemporary name for "Korea" in reference to the entire peninsula, which at times was divided into a number of kingdoms that fought each other for control of the peninsula. "Karakunidake" (ŠØ‘Šx) is the highest peak in the Kirishima volcanic range. The name of the peak has also been written “‚‘Šx using the "kara" or "Tang" or more generally "China". Both names appear to be based on reports or expectations that one could see Korea or China from the peaks.

Fujiwara Asomi Kawakiyo (“¡Œ´’©b‰Í´) shows "Kawakiyo" (‰Í´) for "Kiyokawa" (´‰Í), which reflects Kiyokawa's Chinese name "Heqing" (‰Í´ J. Kasei, Kawakiyo). The received text has no gloss for its reading. Japanese who studied in China commonly received or adopted Chinese names. However, presumably only people who knew that this was Kiyokawa's Chinese name, and knew its reading in Chinese, would have pronounced the graphs in Chinese.

planks and chines (’Iª) is my somewhat explanatory translation of what appears to denote both the higher and lower sideboards. According to the 5th (1998) editon of Kōjien, in reference to a Japanese-style ship (Wasen ˜a‘D), "nedana" (ª’I) is a synonym for "kajiki" (‰Á•~), which denotes the lowest planks and boards (tanaita ’I”Â) of the side of a ship. The upper boards are "uedana" (ã’I). Ships with higher sides also have middle boards or "nakadana" (’†’I). In English, "chine" refers to where the sides a boat is joined to the bottom. The chines may be soft or non-existent as in a "U" or "V" hull, or hard as between the more vertical sides and flatter bottom of a boxier hull, such as those depicted in drawings of the envoy ships. The chines are subject to cracking and breaking when running into rocks. And because they are close to or below the waterline, if they are shaken or broken in a storm, the ship will take on more water than if only the higher sideboards had been loosened or cracked.

Ú㜖‘Æ We laid [hauled in] the [mooring] lines and pillowed [secured, shipped] the rudder
B㜝e‘Æ We cut the lines and cast away the rudder

The only copy I have of the kanbun text I have translated here is the SZKT version. When first reading it many years ago, I did not especially question the phrase Ú㜖‘Æ.

Structurally, it is of the simplest VOVO kind. The received text shows the following markup (SZKT SN-2:445). The text shows the kaeriten on the left and the furigana and okurigana on the right. In the following table, I am showing them separately on the bottom.

Kanbun text
Furigana and okurigana
Japanese translation
English translation
Tomodzuna o nori, kadji o makura ni shite
Lay [Put] the lines [on board], and make the rudder a pillow

There were no redactions beside the kanbun phrase, and no comments on the phrase in the sparse head notes. So I used my imagination. The envisioned the mooring lines in the rough water dragging down the prow. So if you hauled them in, there would be less drag. I had more difficulty picturing a rudder in the prow, and I couldn't imagine how one could use a rudder as a pillow, much less why this would result in the prow riding higher in the water.

But having been around boats -- I rowed boats, and when in high school I built a speed boat entirely from scratch -- I was familiar with terms like "rest the oars" and "ship the oars" and even "ship the rudder". And so I imagined that maybe –‘Æ meant exactly what it said -- "pillow the rudder" -- a poetic way of saying "secure the rudder". If the bow was threatening to sink, on account of the rudder, then hauling the rudder out of the water, or tying it down, might help the bow float better. I wasn't convinced, but I had no reason to doubt the text.

That was then. A few years later, I found Japanese and English translations, of which there are many, and Charlotte von Verschuer's French translation, of the above Shoku Nihongi account, which turns out to be one of the most widely translated -- and mistranslated -- accounts.

Most translations of the kanbun text, other than those that merely rephrase the kanbun in accordance with the markup, are of the freer "interpretive" or "explanatory" kind. As such, some are highly embellished, full of details the translator has imagined, thus depriving the reader the chance to imagine the details. Think of a "translation" of Hemingway's The Old Man and Sea by Faulkner, and you get the idea of how not a few translations of kanbun read in the tell-more-than-show styles that many translators prefer.

All translations I saw, however, said in effect that the lines were "cut" and the rudder was "cast" into the sea or "lost". No one discussed this. Some of the English translations were so inflated with phrasing not in the original, that I suspected they were liberal translations of an already liberal Japanese translation. Von Verschuer's French translation followed the kanbun text fairly closely, but she inexplicably placed the action on the "poop" (poupe) rather than the "prow" (proue), and her notes were restricted to comments about the dramatis Personae and glosses of esoterica like "hōjō" (•ûä).

No one is as foolish as I am when it comes to wanting to put kanbun texts into the simplest and most direct sort of English. I have intentionally left all the construction lines in the structural translation I have shown here, but a polished version would attempt to emulate the simplicity and rhythem of the truly minimalist kanbun narrative, which is pitched like an adventure story intended to keep readers (listeners) on edge -- and totally involved as they vicariously imagined what it must have been like to face imminent death at the mercy of the sea.

Enter Masumura Takeshi's commentary

Having in this day and age the luxury of access to all manner of material on the Internet, I began looking for commentary that addressed the "lines" and "rudder" problem. Fortunately, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean scholars have given the Tang legations even more attention, over the past century, than Euro-American scholars.

Masumura Hiroshi (‘‘ºG), a professor of history at Kagoshima International University, has devoted a lot of time and effort to trying to determine exactly how old Fujiwara no Kiyokawa was when he died. This means examining and quibbling over every word that bears on Kiyokawa's life. It not as clear as Wikipedia-esque "706-778" implies. Here, though, my concern is limited to what Masumura says about the "lines" and "rudder" phrase. For he also tripped over it. And he went to trouble of examining the most primary sources.

Because Masumura's note is a good example of good scholarship, and leads on a humorous note, I have translated and glossed it here in its entirety (Masumura 1981, Note 2, pages 66-67, source particulars below).

(2)uB㜝eAv‚́ue”~v‚É‚Í‚¢‚ë‚¢‚ëŒëŽÊ‚Í‚ ‚邪CŽÊ–{i‹{“à’¡‘—Ë•”E“àŠt•¶ŒÉ–{j‚́ueƒŒŒ i‚©‚¶‚ð‚È‚°‚¤‚jv‚̉ü’ù‚ɏ]‚¤‚ׂ«‚Å‚ ‚éBuB㜁v‚Í‚·‚ׂĂ̎ʖ{‚ªuÚ㜠v‚ɍì‚èu㜂ɍڂè‚āv‚ÆŒP“Ç‚·‚é‚à‚Ì‚à‚ ‚éBŽ„‚́uBvŽš‚ÌŒëŽÊ‚ƍl‚¦‚Ä‚¢‚½‚ªC–¾—ïŽO”N”Å‚ðZ’ù‚µ‚½‹{“à’¡‘—Ë•”–{i’JEˆêŽl Žl†–{jÃ“°•¶ŒÉ–{ iŽREˆêZŽO†–{j‚ð‰{——‚µ‚āCuÚv‚Ɏ鎚uBv‚ð–T‹L‚µuƒ^ƒ`v‚ÆŒP‚Ý‚Ì‚ ‚邱‚Æ‚ð’m‚Á‚½B‚±‚̉ü’ù‚ðÌ‚é‚ׂ«‚Å‚ ‚éB

(2) In the e”~ [tossing plums] of B㜝eA [cutting lines and hurling plants] there are various miscopies [mistranscriptions] (gosha ŒëŽÊ) [copiest errors, errata made by scribes when copying texts], but this should follow the correction eƒŒŒ ikaji o nageutsu) [cast away the rudder] in the [received] copybook [mauscript] (shahon ŽÊ–{) (Imperial Household Agency, Archives and Mausolea Department, Cabinet Library). As for Bãœ, all manuscripts produce Ú㜠[load (board) the lines], and there are even some that read [this] 㜂ɍڂè‚Ä [tomodzuna ni norite] in Japanese (kunyomi suru ŒP“Ç‚·‚é). I consider [Ú] a miscopy of the graph B, but examining the Imperial Household Agency Archives and Mausolea book (Tani 14 No. 4) and Seikadō Bunko book (Yama No. 103), which redacted (kōtei shita Z’ù‚µ‚½) the Meireki 3 [1657] edition, I learned that [they] write B in vermillion beside Ú and [show] the [Japanese] reading (yomi ŒP‚Ý) ƒ^ƒ` (tate). One should adopt this revision (kaitei ‰ü’ù).



Masumura Hiroshi
Kentō taishi Fujiwara no Kiyohara no nenrei
[ Envoy to Tang ambassador Fujiwara no Kiyohara's age ]
Kagoshima Keidai ronshū (Kagoshima International University)
Volume 22, Number 2, 15 July 1981
Pages 39-68


The "tossing plums" (e”~) alludes to the •W versus 摽 problem in the •W—L”~ (biao you mei) poem in the Zhaonan (¢“ì J. Shōnan) or "South of Zhao) poems in the Guofeng (‘•— J. kokufū) or "Country breezes [lore, customs]" group of poems in the Shi jing (ŽŒo J. Shikyō), the earliest anthology of Chinese poetry, commonly called "Book of Songs" or the "Book of Odes" in English.

The most widely distributed version of the poem has 摽 (biao) but some versions have •W (biao). Most Japanese translations render these —Ž‚¿‚é (ochiru), and most English translations similarly render them "drop". However, there is a growing consensus among scholars that 摽 (biao) with the "hand" (Žè) radical, which is used in older texts, means ‚¤‚ (utsu) or “Š‚°‚¤‚ (nageutsu) -- "shoot" or "throw" -- as a human action. The poem is the song of a girl who is following the local custom of throwing plums to attract a husband." The practice is known as e”~‹¥ -- a VOVO phrase meaning "toss a plum, seek marriage".

Ha Poong Kim's translation of "Biao you mei"

Of interest here is that the most recent English translation of the Guofeng poems is by Ha Poong Kim, a Korean scholar who based his translation of "Throwing plums" on the interpretations of the late classical Chinese scholars Mekada Makoto (–Ú‰Á“c½ 1904-1994) and Shirakawa Shizuka (”’ìÃ 1910-2006). He cites especially Shirakawa's "ethnographical" approach, which "eschews the traditional Confucian reading of the Shi jing, as inspiring his own translations. While stopping short of calling his approach either "ethnographical" or "ethnological", it views the poems as "spontaneous expressions of simple folks" and not "abstract voices" of Confucianists (Kim 2016: Preface).

Chinese Ha Poong Kim's translation Structural translation




 âž塈”V

Plum Throwing

I am throwing the plums
Ah, seven of them left
Any man desiring me
This is your fine chance

I am throwing the plums
Ah, seven of them left
Any man desiring me
Now is your chance

I am throwing the plums
Ah, the bamboo basket is empty
Any man desiring me
It's time to say so

A plum is thrown

A plum is thrown
Ah, seven [left], these fruits
A gentleman who seeks me
Ah, this good fortune, seize

A plum is thrown
Ah, three [left], these fruits
The gentleman who would seek me
Ah, this moment, seize

A plum is thrown

The gentleman who would seek me
This you must say

Ha Poong Kim
Joy and Sorrow: Songs of Ancient China
(A New Translation of Shi Jing Guo Feng)
(A Chineseenglish Bilingual Edition)
Eastbourne (UK): Sussex Academic Press, 2016
224 pages


780   Fujiwara no Tsugitada
Shoku Nihongi 36, Kōnin, Hōki 11-3-28, 780-5-11 [7]

Fujiwara no Tsugutada

Fujiwara no Tsugutada (727-796) was one of the compilers of Shoku Nihongi though he died a year before its completion. His wife was Kudara no Konikishi Myōshin, a brother of Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu (see below), who were lineal descendants of the last Paekche king.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.

Kanbun   ’†”[Œ¾]ŽOˆÊ“¡Œ´’©bŒp“êˆ×ª“Œ‘åŽgB(SZKT SN-2:460)

Translation   Fujiwara no Asomi Tsugitada, Middle Receiver and Speaker, Junior Third Rank, becomes Great Envoy for Subjugating the East.

Resichauer   [780] 5.7 ([Hoki 11] 6.8) Fujiwara Tsuginawa [sic = Tsugutada] was appointed Subjugating-the-East Great Official (Seitō-taishi), while Ōtomo Mashitachi and Ki Kosami were made Subjugating-the East Vice-Officials (Seitō-fukushi). (Reischauer 1967A:213)


780   Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu becomes sub-general of pacification
Shoku Nihongi 36, Kōnin, Hōki 11-6-8, 780-7-18 [14]

Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu

Shuntetsu, who was Myōshin's brother, died in 795 (see below). By the time of his death, he had become the general of the Michinoku "Pacification and protection office [headquarters]".

One of Shuntetu's daughters, Kyōhō (‹³–@ d840), became a consort (—Œä nyōgo) of Kanmu. Another, Kimyō (‹M–½ d851), became a consort of Saga, who was Kanmu's brother.

See the "Dramatis personae" section of Soga and Fujiwara wombs: The violent birth of Yamato harmony for further biographical details.

Kanbun   ]ŒÜˆÊã•SÏ‰¤r“Nˆ×—¤‰œ’ÁŽç•›«ŒRB(SZKT SN 2:461)

Translation   Junior Fifth Rank Upper Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu becomes sub-general of Pacification and Protection of Michinoku.

Michinoku (—¤‰œ), meaning "Michi no Oku", was the name for the northernmost territory on present-day Honshu. The territory was later broken into five provinces, one of which was also called Mutsu no kuni (—¤‰œ‘). At the beginning of the Meiji period, most of Mutsu no kuni became part of Aomori prefecture, while the rest became part of Iwate. In earlier times, this was the frontier with Ezochi (‰ÚˆÎ’n), later Hokkaido, then the home of Ezo (‰ÚˆÎ), also called Emishi (‰ÚˆÎ), better known today as Ainu (ƒAƒCƒk).

Michinoku was the site of the Chinjufu (’ÁŽç•{) or "Pacification and protection office [headquarters]" overseen by a general («ŒR shōgun) assisted by a sub-general (•›«ŒR fuku-shōgun). The office was charged with the control of Ezo, who were native to the region, and the protection of Yamato settlers. It was at once a government and a military headquarters.

Reischauer   [780] 7.14 ([Hoki 11] 6.8) Kudara Shuntetsu was appointed Vice-Great-general (Fuku-shōgun) of the Pacifying-Ezo Headquarters (Chinjufu). (Reischauer 1967A:213)


784   Construction of Nagaoka palace begins
Shoku Nihongi 38, Enryaku 3-6-10, 784-7-5 [1]

Kanbun   ˆÈ’†”[Œ¾]ŽOˆÊ“¡Œ´’©bŽíŒpB¶‘å•Ù]ŽOˆÊ²”Œh”H¡–ѐlB[Ranks and names of eight others omitted] “™Bˆ×‘¢’·‰ª‹{ŽgB˜ZˆÊŠ¯”ªlB‰—¥BŒoŽn“séB‰cì‹{“aB(SZKT SN 2:500)

Translation   [The sovereign] took Middle Receiver and Speaker, Junior Third Rank Fujiwara no Asomi Tanetsugu. Left Major Controller, Junior Third Rank Saeki no Sukune Ima Emishi. [Ranks and names of eight other omitted] and others. Made [them] envoys [officials] [in charge of] constucting the Nagaoka palace. Eight officials of six ranks. With this [thereupon] [they] undertook and began the capital city. [They] built and made the palace buildings.

Fujiwara no Asomi Tanetsugu (“¡Œ´’©bŽíŒp 737-785) was assassinated by opponents of the Nagaoka capital, including possibly Kanmu's younger brother and then crown prince Sawara. Tanetsugu's mother was the daughter of Hata no Imiki Chōgen, who had migrated to Yamato from the peninsula, and the Nagaoka palace was built with the help of Hata clansmen.

Saeki no Sukune Ima Emishi (²”Œh”H¡–ѐl 719-790) died (åI) two months before the death of Kanmu's mother. His title at the time of his death was "Scattered Rank, Senior Third Rank" (ŽUˆÊ³ŽOˆÊ), meaning he held the rank but had no post had previously been involved in the building of the Tōdaiji at Nara. According to his obituary, he was involved in the construction of the Tōdaiji at Nara from 744 during the reign of Shōmu. (Shoku Nihongi 40, Enryaku 9-10-3, 790-11-17 [13], SZKT SN-2:548).

Reischauer   >[784] 7.1 [Enryaku 3] (6.10) Fujiwara Tanetsugu, Saeki Imaemishi, and others were appointed officials in charge of building the Nagaoka-no-miya [the new capital at Nagaoka in Yamashiro-no-kuni]. This day work has begun on the palace buildings. (Reischauer 1967A:216-217)

Reischauer comments on this report as follows (Ibid).

[ Many reasons have been advanced for removing the capital from Nara. Some of the most imporant are: . . . and (6) the desire of the Fujiwara family to leave Nara, where its fortunes, so promising in the early years following the location of the capital there, had suffered a decline. Nagaoka was chosen by Fujiwara Tanetsugu in return for future court favors he might be able to procure for the family. In connection with this latter point it is interesting to remember that Kammu-Tennō was the first Soverign (Tennō) to have immigrant blood in his veins, for his mother, Takano Niigasa, was descended from a King of Paikché (Kudara). ]


790   Takano no Asomi Niigasa's death, funeral, and burial
790-1-17   Kanmu's mother collapses (dies)
Shoku Nihongi 40, Enryaku 8-12-28, 790-1-21 [17]

Kanbun   c‘¾@•öB(SZKT SN 2:541)

Translation   The [deceased] [former] sovereign's widow [Takano no Asomi Niigasa] collapses [deceases].

[deceased] [former] sovereign's widow (c‘¾@ kōtaigō), meaning the wife of a deceased former sovereign ("empress dowager"). Her status is reflected in the use of "collapse" to describe her death.

790-2-2   Kanmu's mother given posthumous name
Shoku Nihongi 40, Enryaku 9-1-14, 790-2-6 [2]

Kanbun   ’†”[Œ¾³ŽOˆÊ“¡Œ´’©b¬•–ƒ˜C—¦æpl•òæpBã択H“V‚’m“ú”VŽq•P‘¸B (SZKT SN 2:541-542)

Translation   Fujiwara no Asomi Oguro Maro [733-794], Middle Receiver and Speaker, Senior Third Rank, consulted a [Shinto] condolence giver and [he] offered a condolence. The superior [sovereign] [gave] [the (deceased) (former) sovereign's widow] a send-off name calling [her] Ametaka Shiru Hi no Hime no Mikoto.

condolence giver (æpl ruijin) appears to have been read "shinohigoto hito" at the time and later, from the Heian period, "shinobigoto hito" -- meaning "person [who offers] words [for] endurance [of grief].

send-off name (æŠ shi, okurina) is a name given a deceased person on the occasion of seeing the person off on his or her journey to the next world. The name is supposed to express something about the person's words or deeds while alive.

Ametaka Shiru Hi no Hime no Mikoto (“V‚’m“ú”VŽq•P‘¸) may mean something like "princess divine, [child] of the sun which heaven high has known". Other renderings include "Ametaka Shirasu Hi no Ko Hime no Mikoto". This alludes to the story about her descent as related in the obituary (see below).

790-2-3   Kanmu's mother buried
Shoku Nihongi 40, Enryaku 9-1-15, 790-2-7 [3]

Kanbun   ‘’‰—‘åŽ}ŽR—ˁBc‘¾@©˜aŽB恐VŠ}B‘¡³ˆêˆÊ‰³Œp”V—–çB•ê‘¡³ˆêˆÊ‘åŽ}’©b^–…B@æoŽ©•SÏ•”J‰¤”VŽqƒ陁‘¾ŽqBc@—e“¿i–΁Bg’˜º—_B“V@‚Ð“Vc—´ö”V“úB›QŽ§”[àB¶¡ãB‘—ǐe‰¤B”\“o“àe‰¤B•ó‹T”N’†B‰ü©ˆ×‚–ì’©bB¡ã‘¦ˆÊB‘¸ˆ×c‘¾•vlB‹ã”N’Ǐ㑸†BžHc‘¾@B‘´•SÏ‰“‘c“s•ç‰¤ŽÒB‰Í”Œ”V—Š´“ú¸Ž§Š¶Bc‘¾@‘¦‘´Œã–çBˆöˆÈ•òæŠàB(SZKT SN-2 542)

Translation   Buried [the (deceased) (former) sovereign's widow] at Ooe Sanryō [imperial burial mound]. The [deceased] [former] sovereign's widow's [hereditary] clan name was Yamato. [Her] posthumous name [imina] was Niigasa. She was the daughter of Ototsugu of [posthumously] who had been given Senior First Rank. Her mother was Ooeda no Ason Maimo who had been given Senior First Rank [posthumously]. The [(deceased) (former) sovereign's] widow's ancestors came from Prince Junda [K. Sunta], son of Kudara [Paekche] King Munei [K. Munyŏng]. The sovereign widow had an exuberance of [moral] virtue and [feminine] grace [refinement]. From early [in her life] [people] highly spoke of and praised [her]. Ama-tsu-hitsugi Taka-tsu-gasu no Sumera Mikoto [Konin's posthumous name] in the days when the dragon was hidden [as a prince before he became the sovereign]. Beckoned and accepted [her] [as a consort]. [She] gave birth to the present superior [sovereign]. [And to] Prince Sawara. [And to] Princess Nōtō. During the Hōki years. [The sovereign] changed [her] [hereditary] title to Takano no Asomi. [When] the present superior [Kanmu] reached rank [became the sovereign]. [He] respected [her] [and] [her name of respect] became [He respected her as] the [former] sovereign's wife. For nine years after [the death of the sovereign Konin] the superior [the sovereign Kanmu] respected and styled [her]. [And] called [her] the [deceased] [former] sovereign's widow [dowager]. King Tsumo [K. Tomo], a distant ancestor of Paekche, was born when the daughter of [the river god] Habaek felt the essence [semen] of the sun. The [deceased] [former] sovereign's widow was his descendant. For this reason she was given the send-off name [Ametaka Shiru Hi no Hime no Mikoto].

posthumous name (æ ki, imina) was a name given while alive but used after death.

Ototsugu (‰³Œp) refers more fully to Yamato no Fubito Ototsugu (˜aŽj‰³Œp), Niigasa's father.

Ooeda no Ason Maimo (‘åŽ}’©b^–…) would seem to mean that Niigasa's mother was a "true younger sister" of the Ōeda no Ason or "Chief of Ōeda" -- Ōeda (Ooeda) being a clan name or place name (as of the tomb where Niigasa was buried), and Ason being the second highest hereditary title.

Prince Junda [K. Sunta] (ƒ陁‘¾Žq) is here identified as a son of Kudara [Paekche] King Munei [K. Munyŏng] (•SÏ‰¤•”J 501-523), the 25th king of Paekche. Some scholars have associated prince (‘¾Žq) Junda (ƒ陁 K. Sunta) in this account with prince (ŒN) Junda (~‘É K. Sunta), is said in Nihon shoki to have died in the 7th year of Keita (513). See 513 Prince Junda passes for details.

[former] sovereign's wife (c‘¾•vl kōtai fujin), meaning the wife of a living former sovereign.

[deceased] [former] sovereign's widow (c‘¾@ kōtaigō), meaning the wife of a deceased former sovereign ("empress dowager"). Kōnin died in 882, hence she had been a dowager for nine years.

King Tsumo [K. Tomo] (“s•ç‰¤) is said in some legends to have been the first Paekche King and founder of the Puyo nation. All contending geneologies of the founder of Paekche are linked with Puyo (•}—] Puyŏ). According to Samguk sagi, the first Paekche (Kudara) king was Onjo (‰·âN d AD 28, r18 BC - AD 28). Onjo, however, is supposed to have been the son of the first Koguryŏ (Koma) king Tongmyŏng (“Œ–¾‰¤ 58-19 BC, r37-19 BC).

In a number of records, including Samguk sagi, Tongmyŏng is known by his birth name, Jumong (Žé–Ö J. Shumō), among other graphic representations, which include Chumo (羖´ J. Suumu) and Tomo (“s–´ J. Tsumo). Both Koguryo and Paekche, as split offs from Puyo, saw Puyo as their ancestral nation.

Puyo, when founded some time during the 2nd century BC, existed mostly in what was later Manchuria and is today part the People's Republic of China, but spilled over into the north of what is now the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Koguryo and Paekche were founded at the expense of parts of Puyo that straddled the southeastern parts of Manchuria and most of the northern part of the Korean peninsula (Koguryo) and the southwestern part of the peninsula (Paekche). In 494, about half a millennium into its kingdom, Koguryo conquered the remnants of Puyo around what is now Heilongjiang province (Harbin) in China.

Habaek (‰Í”Œ J. Kahaku) is read "kawa no kami" (‰Í_ kajin) in Yamato. The story related in Niigasa's obituary corresponds to the legend of the founding of Koguryo as related in Samguk sagi, according to which its first king Jumong was born from an egg produced by Habaek's daughter Yuhwa (–ö‰Ô J. Riukwa > Ryūka), who is supposed to have been impregnated by the sun. This and other variations of Paekche and Koguryo founding myths are thus linked through the gods with Puyo.

Puyo and Yamato

Yamato founding myths share a number of elements with Puyo myths. Why this should be so is suggested by two facts.

The first fact is that by 538, during the reign of King Sŏng (¹‰¤ r523-554), Paekche had moved its capital to Sabi (Ÿ™沘) and started to call itself "South Puyo" (“ì•}—] Nambuyŏ). The area is now Puyo county (•}éPŒS Puyŏ-gun) in South Ch'ungch'ong province (’‰´“쓹 Ch'ungch'ŏngnam-do), which is midway along the west coast of the Republic of Korea. It was during Sŏng's reign, in 552 if not 538, that Buddhism was introduced to Yamato by Paekche envoys.

The second fact is that Yamato and Paekche had somehow established close ties long before the introduction of Buddhism, either through Yamato incursions on the peninsula -- or, as some contend, through early Puyo or Kudara (Paekche) involvement in the early growth of Yamato.

In any event, this 790 account in Shoku Nihongi, Japan's second national history, ancestrally links the present-day Imperial Family of Japan with the daughter of the god of a Puyo river. See Akihito's Korean roots: The Fujiwara embrace of Kudara for an account of Akihito's recognition of these ancient ties.

790-3-17   Kanmu calls Kudara no Konishiki his maternal relatives
Shoku Nihongi 40, Enryaku 9-2-27, 790-3-21 [17]

Kanbun   ¥“úBÙžHB•SÏ‰¤“™ŽÒ’½”VŠOÊ–çB¡ŠˆÈ“Fˆê—¼lB‰ÁŽöŽÝˆÊ–çB(SZKT SN-2 543)

Translation   This day. [The sovereign] commands and says. "The Kudara no Konikishi and others are my outer [maternal] relatives. Now hence select one or two people [from among this clan]. [And] augment and award [peerage] titles and ranks."

Kudara no Konikishi (•SÏ‰¤) is graphically "Paekche kings" (K. Paekche wang). The Yamato reading reflects the use of these graphs to represent what the name of the clan whose lineal descendants went back to men who, as sons of the last Paekche king, had come to and settled in Yamato.

outer [maternal] relatives (ŠOÊ gaiseki) referred to relatives who were "outside" the ever-important paternal line of descent.


Nihon koki



795   Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu finishes
Nihon koki 4 (from Nihongiryaku), Kōmu, Enryaku 14-8-7, 795-9-28 [24]

Kanbun   —¤‰œ’ÁŽç›’ŒR•SàZ‰¤r“N‘²B

Translation   Mutsu pacification and protection general [shōgun] Kudara no Konishiki Shuntetsu finishes (dies).


796   Fujiwara no Tsugutada passes
Nihon koki 5, Kōmu, Enryaku 15-7-16, 796-8-27 [23]

Kanbun   ‰E‘åb³“ñˆÊŒ“sc‘¾Žq˜ú’†åʑ囒“¡Œ´’©bã‹ãŠåIB(SZKT NK 5:3)

Translation   Great Minister of the Right Senior Second Rank and also Crown Prince Attendant Middle Guard Major Captain Fujiwara no Asomi Tsugutada passes away.


 814   Six Shiragians (Sillans) sent to Mino
Nihon koki 24, Saga, Kōnin 5-8-23, 814-10-13 [9]

Kanbun   ‰»˜ÒV—…l‰Á—…•zŒÃˆÉ“™˜Zl”z”ü”Zš B(SZKT NK:126)

Translation   Six people, Shiragians [Sillans] Kara Fukoi and others, who had come and changed, are sent to the province of Mino.

Kara (‰Á—…) was another name for Kaya (‰¾–ë, ‰¾倻), which was used to refer to several smaller countries or one such country in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula. These countries were subjugated and absorbed by Shiragi (Silla) in 562. See "562 Shiragi takes Mimana" under Nihon shoki. It is clear here that, while the people affiliated with the Kara were subjects of Shiragi, they continued to bear names that disclosed their descent.

Mino was in the south of present-day Gifu prefecture.


814   26 Sillans become subjects in Hakata
Nihon kōki 24, Saga, Kōnin 5 Winter 10-27, 814-12-16 [12]

Kanbun   ‘åÉ•{Œ¾BV—…lh”gŒÃ’m“™“ñ\˜Zl•Y’˜’}‘Oš ”Ž‘½’ÁB–â‘´˜Ò—RB‰““Š•—‰»B(SZKT NK:128)

Translation   Dazaifu [government headquarters in present-day Fukuoka prefecture] reports. Twenty-six people, the Sillan Shin Hakochi and others, drifted [to] and arrived [at] the harbor of Hakata in the province of Chizuzen. [Officials] asked them the reason they had come. [They said they had] come far to throw [themselves] at [submit to] wind change [enlightenment].

drifted [to] and arrived [at] (•Y’˜ hyōchaku) does not tell us whether the Silla vessel encountered a storm and was damanged, or otherwise found itself at the mercy of the currents. Nor is it clear whether the Sillans had set out for Japan or, having arrived, decided to stay. See comments on "Silla and Parhae" below.

wind change (•—‰» fūka) as a compound means literally "weathering" as when the wind wears something away. Here, however, the expression is a metaphor for the enlightenment that comes from embracing moral virtues, the refined manners that replace rougher behaviors. In other words, the drifters submitted themselves to (Yamato) manners (the court's moral superiority) and change] [assimilate]. Most likely they also changed their allegiance (kika ‹A‰»).

The phrase “Š•—‰» is probably better understood as meaning "throw [oneself] at [submit to] the wind and change". "Throw" (“Š) means "surrender" as by throwing down weapons, or "submit" as by prostrating before an authority. "Wind" (•—) alludes to the moral example of the sovereign, or more broadly to Yamato manners, customs, and ways. "Change" (‰») is what occurs as a result of submission to such influence.


Silla and Parhae

By the end of the 6th century, Silla had conquered the Kaya countries on the south of the peninsula. By 660 and 668 it had conquered Paekche to its west and the southern parts of Koguryo just north of Silla and Paekche. By 698 it had driven Tang forces out its territory, which was south of the Taedong river -- which runs through Pyongyang in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The remnants of Koguryo, in the northern reaches of the peninsula, and north of the peninsula in what is now part of the People's Republic of China, formed a new entity called Parhae (ŸÝŠC), the capital of which was established in present-day Heilongjiang province. Parhae and Japan maintained diplomatic ties in the form of visits of envoys from one country to the other, and several of Japan's missions to Tang passed through Parhae.

By the end of the 8th century, however, Silla was both defending its northern front from Parhae and Tang, but falling apart in civil wars that would have created refugees. A number of Sillans migrated to Japan as Silla weakened and finally succummed to forces that established the kingdom of Koryŏ (‚—í) in 935.

Very likely the Sillans who arrived at Hakata in 814 were refugees who had some control over their vessel. They might even have left a port in what had been part of Mimana, with sufficient information about the crossing of the straits to know that, if they maintained a southeasterly course and kept certain islands in sight, they would probably end up around Hakata.


815   Kudara no Konikishi Myoshin passes
Nihon kōki 24, Saga, Kōnin 6 Winter 10-15, 815-11-23 [19]

Kanbun   ŽUŽ–]“ñˆÊ•SÏ‰¤–¾MåIB(SKK 136)

Translation   Kudara no Konikishi Myōshin, Scattered Duty Junior Second Rank, passes away.

Scattered Duty (ŽUŽ– Sanji) is either synonymous with "San'i" (ŽUˆÊ) or "Scattered Rank", meaning that someone held the following rank but had no post, or it means a lady-in-waiting who performed general duties in the back chambers of the court where the women lived (Œã‹{ kōkyō).

Myōshin was of no mean status. A sister of Shuntetsu, and a sixth generation descendant of the last king of Paekche, she became the wife of Fujiwara no Tsugutada (“¡Œ´Œp“ê 727-796), a Great Minister of the Right under Kanmu and one of the compilers of Shoku Nihongi. During Kanmu's reign, she was appointed Naishi no Kami (®Ž˜), and as such was in charge of Kanmu's coterie of wives and consorts. Her fortunes began to fall after his death in 806.


Shinsen Shojiroku



Ryo no gige (834)

The Ryō no gige (—ß‹`‰ð) [Meanings and unravelings of ordinances] was commissioned in 833 by Junna (786-849, r823-833) and completed the following year under the editorial supervision of Kiyohara (Kiyowara) no Mahito no Natsuno (´Œ´^l‰Ä–ì 782-837), then Udaijin [great minister of the right] (832-837), before that Dainagon [great receiver and speaker] (828-832).

The compilation consists of the articles in the contemporary Yōrō code (—{˜V—ß Yōrō ryō), which evolved during the 8th century on a foundation of 7th century adaptations of Tang codes, and related commentary. One of aims of the commentary was to clarify the purport of the official codes, which were subject to various interpretations (Sansom 1932:69).

There are also a number of later exegeses, such as Ryō no shūge (—ߏW‰ð) [Collected interpretations of the codes], completed about 880 by Koremune Naomoto (ˆÒ@’¼–{). This work consists of Ryō no gige with Koremune's comments in addition to Kiyohara no Natsuno's glosses.

Many manuscript copies of both of these and related works survive. High resolution scans embedded in PDF files, of several manuscripts of both Ryō no gige and Ryō no shūge, are publicly accessible through the website of Waseda University Library. I have used printed editions edited by Kurosaka Katsumi and the Kokushi Taikei Kenshukai (see "Works cited").

Ordinances on households and fields

The Ryō no gige version of the Yōrō code consists of 10 books (Šª kan) containing 30 ordinances (—ß ryō). Ordinance 8 concerns households and Ordinance 9 concerns fields. The order is important because allocation and management of cultivation land was based on population registers and related tax records.

Ordinance 8 on households has 45 articles. Ordinance 9 on fields has 37 articles. Ordinance 8, but not Ordinance 9, has been roughly translated with commentary by George B. Sansom (Sansom 1934:134-149).


The texts of the ordinances reflect Kurosaka 1981 (SZKT RG:91-106). However, most interlineal glosses and comments have been omitted.


The kanbun text shown here began with the script posted by Sekine Satoshi (ŠÖª‘) at (ŒÃŽ–‹L³‰ðFŒÃŽ–‹LŒ¤‹†‰ï). The copied script was modified to reflect the printed edition at hand (SZKT RG). Some interlineal text was keyboarded, and code for some non-JIS script was imported from Unicode NCR sources (see "Languages" under "Technical" on "About site" page).

English translations

The structural English translations and comments are mine. As usualy, I have shown lots of construction marks and other details that would be omitted or restyled in a polished translation.

Sansom's translations for articles of Ordinance 8 have been shown for comparison. Sansom titles the ordinance and qualifies his translation like this (Sansom 1934:134, brackets in original).


[This law contains forty-five articles, of which the substance is given below.]

Japanese translation

The printed edition at hand (SZKT RG) shows kaeriten, furigana, and okurigana to facilitate structural translation into Japanese. Rather than try to render this into what would be kanbunesque Japanese, I have instead shown a recent Japanese translation that I cut and pasted from the HMTL edition of Œ»‘ãŒê–óu—{˜V—߁v‘SŽO\•Ò as posted by Ikari Hiromi (’–Žë_”ü) at Kansei Taikan Yoro Outline.

Bear in mind that the Japanese translation does not necessarily reflect all of the details of the kanbun text. In places it is highly interpretive and otherwise not structural.


RG 08-16 Registers of returnees and others from outside territories

Ryō no gige
Ordinance 8: Households
Article 16: [Persons who] sink or fall [in] outside territories

Treatment of returnees and others from outside Yamato

Article 16 of Ordinance 8 (Households) of Ryō no gige concerns the treatment of persons who have come from an outside territory. These persons included people originally from a Yamato province who are returning, and those not originally subject to Yamato authority.

—ß‹`‰ðA8 ŒË—߁A16 –v—ŽŠO”׏ð

Kanbun –}–v—ŽŠO”× < ˆàB–vŽÒB”폴—ª–çB—ŽŽÒB‘˜•—”gŽ§—¬—Ž–çB > “¾ŠÒB‹y‰»ŠOl‹A‰»ŽÒBŠÝ‘ŒSB‹‹ˆßâìB‹ïó”­”ò‰w\‘tB‰»ŠOlB‰—Š°‘•ŠÑˆÀ’uB–v—ŽlˆË‹ŒŠÑB–³‹ŒŠÑB”C‰—‹ße•ŠÑB•À‹‹âìB’ü‘—Žg’B‘OŠB(SZKT RG:95-96)

Translation   Always: [When a person] is able to return [to Yamato] [from] an outside territory where [the person] has sunken or fallen < It is said: Sunken. Seized and taken. Fallen. Encountered winds and waves and flowed and fell. > . And [when] a person who is outside [beyond] change [beyond the reach of the sovereign's benevolence, which would inspire change in allegience] submits [to the sovereign's moral authority] and changes [allegiance]. The province or district in which [such a person] exists [is found]. Shall provide [the person] clothing and food. [And shall] detail the circumstances, dispatch a flying post-horse [send a message using official post horses], and report and relate [the matter to the court]. A person who is outside change. [Province or district authorities will] attach [the person] to a register [make a register for the person] and settle and place [the person] [somewhere]. [Attach] a sunken or fallen person to [the person's] old register. [Should] there not be an old register. Appoint [consign] [the person] to a near kin and attach [the person] to the [near kin's] register. And provide food. Send and forward [the person] and cause [the person] to reach the foregoing place [where the person is to be settled].

sunken or fallen reflects –v—Ž (botsuraku), which means "sink and fall" -- in the sense, as explained in the interlineal gloss, of being defeated by human enemies or natural conditions. The metaphors may appear to be mixed but they are not. –v (botsu, motsu), meaning to disappear, as beneath the waves, is a common metaphor for death, whereas —Ž (raku) means to drop or be dropped, fall or be left behind, go or be missing.

Note that —Ž (raku) is often suffixed to like metaphors to stress their actions. As a stand-alone compound today, –v—Ž typically means "decline" or "wane" or otherwise suggests a downward movement if not ruin, while ‘—Ž (daraku) is a metaphor for "fall" in the sense of "depravity".

outside territories reflects ŠO”× (geban), which presumably means the "barbarian" lands (”× ban) outside Yamato dominions, especially neighborhing land on the Korean peninsula, but also the unpacified parts of the northern reaches of Honshu, if not also lands to the west and to the north of northern Honshu.

outside [beyond] change reflects ‰»ŠO (kegaijin), which was used to qualify a place, person, or population that was beyond the influence of the moral authority (benevolence and virtues) of a sovereign, or teachings inspired by such, and hence was unable to change their allegience or ways. Related terms include “¿‰» (tokka), ‹³‰» (kyōka), ‰¤‰» (ōka), c‰» (kōka).

Here ‰»ŠOl is read "‰»ŠO‚̐l" (kegai no hito) meaning "person of [a place] beyond change" and is translated (ˆÙ‘l ikokujin) meaning "different country person". The later expression does was not a likely description of an alien from another country until around the beginning of the 19th century.

During the Tokugawa period, and until (and even a bit into) the Meiji period from 1868, the term "outlander" (ŠO‘l gaikokujin) most likely referred to a person from another domain or province within Japan, not to an alien from a place outside Japan.

submits [to the sovereign's moral authority] and changes [allegiance] reflects the contemporary sense of ‹A‰» (kika). As a stand-alone compound today, this term has come to mean "naturalization" as when a national of one country applies for, and acquires, the nationality of another country. See "Kika" and "toka" for more about this expression.

attach to a register (•ŠÑ fukan) and old register (‹ŒŠÑ kyōkan) reflect the term "kan" (ŠÑ), which meant a principal domicile register -- i.e., a household register in the locality where one is primarily domiciled, i.e., the local entity with which one is primarily affiliated -- the equivalent of "honseki" (–{Ð) today. Related terms include ŠÑÐ (kanjaku), meaning enrollment in a register, or a principle register or place thereof; ‹½ŠÑ (kyōkan), meaning a village or native register; and –{ŠÑ (honkan), meaning a principal register or place thereof.

As a Korean term, –{ŠÑ (본관 pongwan) refers to the locality of a patrilineal ancestral clan. Such information is recorded in household registers in order to be able to differentiate, say, Kims of different Kim lineages by the presumed places of origin of the lines. Until recently, two people with like surnames of the same clan were not permitted to marry. Though no longer prohibitted by law, consanguinous clan unions continue to be widely avoided as a matter of custom.

Japanese translation   ŠO”ׁiˆÙ‘j‚É–v—Ž‚µ‚Ä‚¢‚½l‚ª‹AŠÒ‚µ‚½‚Æ‚«A‹y‚сA‰»ŠO‚̐liˆÙ‘lj‚ª‹A‰»‚·‚é‚Æ‚«AŠÝ‚̍‘ŒS‚͈ߐH‚ð‹‹•t‚·‚邱‚ƁBó‹µ‚ð‚‚Ԃ³‚É‚µ‚Ä”ò‰w‚ð”­‚µ‚Đ\‘t‚·‚邱‚ƁBˆÙ‘l‚́A—]’n‚Ì‚ ‚鍑‚Ì–{Ð‚É•‚¯‚ĈÀ’u‚·‚邱‚ƁB–v—Ž‚̐l‚́A‹Œ‚Ì–{Ð‚É‘®‚·‚±‚ƁB‹Œ‚Ì–{Ð‚ª‚È‚¯‚ê‚΁A”CˆÓ‚̋ߐe‚̐Ђɕ‚¯‚邱‚ƁB‚¢‚¸‚ê‚àAH—¿‚ð‹‹•t‚µ‚Ä’ü‘—‚µA‘OŠ‚É’B‚·‚é‚悤‚É‚·‚邱‚ƁB

Sansom's translation (Sansom 1934:137, brackets in original)

16. Persons who have returned after being captured or cast ashore in foreign territory and persons who beomce naturalized shall be provided with food and clothing in the district where they are found, and the facts shall be notified in detail to the authorities by post messenger (i.e. an official messenger using the government's posting stations and horses).

Naturalized persons shall be put on the register and settled in a good district; returned persons shall be put on their original register or, if they have no register, handed over to near relatives. They shall be provided with food until they reach their destination.

["Foreign territory" ŠO”× probably included the then unsubjugataed parts of Japan as well as the Asiatic mainland and outlying islands. The case envisaged is that of, for instance, shipwrecked fishermen.]


RG 08-19 Making and managing household registers

Ryō no gige
Ordinance 8: Households
Article 19: Making household registers

Making and managing household registers

Article 19 concerns the making and management of household registers. As such it formed the cornerstone of the population registration practices that eventually inspired the Family Registration Law of 1872, Japan's most important law from the start of the Meiji Period and still now in the 21st century.

The notion that governors can more effectively govern when they know how many and what kind of people live in their jurisdictions has been central to the achievement of sociopolitical order since historical times. It facilitated the Yamatoization of the provinces in the last half of the first millennium and the maintaince of local and regional order during the Tokugawa period.

Household registration also enabled the rapid nationalization of the provinces of Japan after the establishment of the Meiji state in the 1868. And domestic experience and success made family registration the principle tool for nationalizing, and administrating the civil affairs of, claimed and treaty-acquired territories like Ezo, the Ryukyu's, the Ogasawaras, Karafuto and the Kuriles, Taiwan, and Korea as Chosen.

—ß‹`‰ðA[8] ŒË—߁A[19] ‘¢ŒËÐð

Kanbun   –}ŒËÐ˜Z”Nˆê‘¢B‹N\ˆêŒŽã{BˆËŽ®Š¨‘¢B—¢•Êˆ×ŠªB‘yŽÊŽO’ʁB‘´–DŠF’‘´‘‘´ŒS‘´—¢‘´”NÐBŒÜŒŽ™À“ú“àæ^B“ñ’ʐ\‘—‘¾­Š¯Bˆê’Ê—¯‘B < ‘´ŽGŒË—ˌːЁB‘¥XŽÊˆê’ʁBŠe‘—–{ŽiB > Š{Ž†•M“™’²“xB < ˆàB–nŽ²›ã‘Ñ”V—ށB‘¦H[•Ä‹Ò]ŽÒB—pŠ¯•¨‹‹B‘´Œv’ –’oŽ†•M“™’²“x–çB > ŠFo“–ŒËB‘ŽiŠ¨—ʏŠ湏 [{] ‘½­B—ÕŽžÎŽÞB•s“¾N‘¹•S©B‘´ÐŽŠŠ¯B•À‘¦æ”[ŒãŠ¨B < ˆàBæ”[’†–±–¯•”BŒãXŠ¨撿–çB > Žá—L‘Œ¸‰B–v < ˆàB‘Œ¸ŽÒB”N‹I•sˆËŽÀ–çB‰BŽÒBåS•sã–çB–vŽÒB¼¶’Ž€–çB > •s“¯Bó‰º„B‘³öŽ¸B‘¦‰—ÈÐ‹ï’Ž–—RB < ˆàBŽ¸ö”V—RB‹ï’ÈåS–çB > ‘–’’’ åS[Ð]B < ˆàB’ ŽÒBŒv’ –çBÐŽÒBŒËÐ–çB > (SZKT RG:96-97)

Translation   Always: [Forthcoming.]

Japanese translation   ŒËÐ‚́A‚U”N‚É‚P“xì‚邱‚ƁB‚P‚PŒŽã{‚æ‚è’…Žè‚µAŽ®‚Ɉ˂Á‚ÄŒŸ“¢ì¬‚·‚邱‚ƁB—¢‚²‚Æ‚É‚PŠª‚Æ‚·‚邱‚ƁB‘S•”‚Å‚R’ÊŽÊ‚·‚±‚ƁB‚‚¬–Ú‚ÉŠFA‚»‚̍‘A‚»‚ÌŒSA‚»‚Ì—¢A‚»‚Ì”N‚̐Ђƒ‹L‚·‚邱‚ƁB‚TŒŽ‚R‚O“ú‚܂łɏI‚¦‚邱‚ƁB‚Q’Ê‚Í‘¾­Š¯‚ɐ\‚µ‘—‚邱‚ƁB‚P’ʂ͍‘‚É—¯‚߂邱‚ƁB < ŽGŒËE—ˌ˂̐Ђ́A‚³‚ç‚É‚P’ÊŽÊ‚µ‚āA‚»‚ꂼ‚ê–{Ži‚É‘—‚邱‚ƁB > —p‚¢‚é‚Æ‚±‚ë‚ÌŽ†E•M“™‚Ì’²“x‚́AŠFA“–ŠY‚̌˂ɏo‚³‚¹‚邱‚ƁB‘Ži‚Í—p‚¢‚é‚Æ‚±‚ë‚Ì—Ê‚ðŒvŽZ‚µ‚āA—ÕŽž‚ɝΎނ·‚邱‚ƁB•S©‚ðN‘¹‚·‚邱‚Æ‚Í‚Å‚«‚È‚¢BÐ‚ª‘¾­Š¯‚É“ž’…‚µ‚½‚È‚ç‚΁A‚¢‚¸‚ê‚à‚Ü‚¸‚·‚®‚É”[‚߂āA‚»‚̌㌟“¢‚¹‚æB‚à‚µ‘Œ¸‚ð‰B–v‚µ‚Ä–µ‚‚·‚é‚Æ‚±‚낪‚ ‚ê‚΁Aó‹µ‚ɉž‚¶‚Đ„–â‚·‚邱‚ƁB‘‚ªAöŽ¸‚µ‚½‚Ə³”F‚µ‚½‚È‚ç‚΁A‚·‚®‚ɏȐЂɁA‚‚Ԃ³‚ÉŽ–‚Ì——R‚𒍋L‚·‚邱‚ƁB‘‚à‚Ü‚½A’ Ð‚É’‹L‚·‚邱‚ƁB

Sansom's translation (Sansom 1934:138, brackets in original)

19. The household registers ŒËÐ must be compiled every six years, starting from the beginning of the 11th month and following the prescribed forms (shiki Ž®). There shall be one volume (i.e. a separate roll) for each village, and three copies of each volume, all marked with the name of the province, district, village, and the year. The work shall be completed by the last day of the 5th month. Two copies shall be sent to the Chancellor's Office and one copy retained in the province.

Extra copies must be made of registers of households of special classes and sent to the appropriate government offices.

[The special classes here mentioned are the ryoko [sic ryōko] —ËŒË and the zakko ŽGŒË. The former were serfs who were attached to imperial mausolea and the land appertaining to them; the latter were the various guilds of industrial workers who, though not slaves, could not escape from their guilds and were thus analogous to the corporati of the later Roman empire.

The "appropriate government office" would be the office concerned with the supply of a given commodity produced by the guild. Thus, members of the Paper Guild Ž†ŒË were under the Bureaus of Books and Drawings in the Nakatsukasashō. Vide Part 1, Central Administration, in these Transactions, vol. IX, p. 80, and passim.]

The household registers must be scrutinized for errors, omissions and fraudulent returns, by both the provincial and central government offices.


RG 08-28 Seven grounds for dismissing wife and fingerprinting

Ryō no gige, Koryō
Ordinance 8: Households
Article 28: Seven [grounds for compelling wife to] leave [household]

Use of fingerprints on divorce notifications

Article 28 of Ordinance 8 (Households) of Ryō no gige lists seven causes for a man to divorce his wife, and describes the formalities for effecting a divorce. The formalities include the earliest known mention in Japanese law of the use of a fingerprint to represent a personal signature.

The VO phrase ‰æŽw meaning "stroke [brush one's name] [by impressing one's] finger" was also used as a stand-alone term in Japanese read "kakushi" (kwakushi). As such it refers to the practice of impressing an index finger on a document.

The entire finger was impressed. The length of the finger, and the distances between the tip and the joints, among other details, were supposed to represent the traits of an individual's finger. Men impressed their left index finger, women their right.

—ß‹`‰ðA8 ŒË—߁A28 Žµoð

Kanbun   –}ŠüÈB{—LŽµo”VóBˆê–³ŽqB“ñˆú泆BŽO•sŽ–änŒÆBŽlŒûãBŒÜ“ÞB˜Z“iŠõBŽµˆ«Ž¾BŠF•vŽè‘Šü”VB—^‘¸‘®‹ße“¯BŽá•s‰ð‘B‰æŽwˆ×‹LB È嫗LŠüóB—LŽO•s‹ŽBˆêŒoŽänŒÆ”V‘rB“ñ›WŽžæˌã‹MBŽO—LŠŽó–³Š‹AB‘¦”Æ‹`âBˆú泆Bˆ«Ž¾B•sSŸ—߁B(SZKT RG:100)

Translation   Genereally: As for [a husband] abandoning [his] wife. There must be [he must have] [at least one of] SEVEN complaints [grounds] for which] she will leave [his household (register)]. One [the wife] is childless [has no son]. Two [the wife] is wanton and loose [cavorts with other men, commits adultry]. Three [the wife] does not serve [her] husband's father or mother. Four [the wife] mouths off and wags her tongue [talks too much, is quarrelsome]. Five [the wife] steals and snitches. Six [the wife] is jealous and envious [of, say, her husband's concubines]. Seven [the wife] is badly ill [has an intractable disease, such as leprosy]. In all [instances] [the husband] [must] hand write the [complaint or complaints for which he would] abandon [his wife]. And [lineal] ascendants and near relatives [must] in common sign [the petition]. Should [one] be unable to write, stroking [impressing] [one's] finger [on the petition] is to be the record [mark] [of one's signature]. As for the wife, notwithstanding that [her husband] has grounds [to] abandon [her], there are THREE [situations in which] [she] shall not [have to] depart [the household]. One where [the wife has] managed and maintained [the household during] [carried out] the mourning of [her husband's] father and mother. Two at the time [her husband took her for his] [she became her husband's] wife [he, his household] was [of] base [mean, humble] and afterward [became] noble. Three there is no place [household] to return her where she would be received [accepted]. However should [she have] committed breaches of duty, or [been] wanton and loose, or [be] badly ill, [these three exceptions] will not restrict [mitigate] this ordinance.

Japanese translation   È‚ðŠü‚Ä‚é‚ɂ́AˆÈ‰º‚Ì‚V‚‚̗—R‚ª‚ ‚邱‚ƁB‚P‚ɂ́AŽq‚ª‚È‚¢‚±‚ƁB‚Q‚ɂ͈ú—B‚R‚É‚ÍänŒÆ‚ÉŽd‚¦‚È‚¢B‚S‚É‚ÍŒûãB‚T‚ɂ͐ޓB‚U‚É‚Í“iŠõB‚V‚ɂ͈«Ž¾BŠFA•v‚ªŽè‘‚µ‚ÄŠü‚Ă邱‚ƁB‘¸‘®‚́A‹ße‚Æ“¯‚¶‚­˜A‚·‚邱‚ƁB‚à‚µ•¶Žš‚ª‰ð‚ç‚È‚¯‚ê‚΁A‘Žwi–¼‘ã‚è‚ÉŽw‚Ì’·‚³‚Ɛ߂̈ʒu‚ðŽÊ‚µ•`‚¢‚½‚à‚́j‚ŏ؋’‚̈ó‚Æ‚·‚邱‚ƁBÈ‚ðŠü‚Ä‚éó‹µ‚ª‚ ‚é‚Æ‚¢‚¦‚Ç‚àA‚R‚Šü‚Ă邱‚Æ‚Ì‚Å‚«‚È‚¢——R‚ª‚ ‚éB‚P‚ɂ́AÈ‚ªänŒÆ‚Ì‘r‚ð‚‚ƂߏI‚¦‚½‚Æ‚«B‚Q‚É‚ÍŒ‹¥‚µ‚½‚Æ‚«‚Éæ˂µ‚­‚āAŒã‚É‹M‚¢g•ª‚Æ‚È‚Á‚½‚Æ‚«B‚R‚É‚Í‹A‚·ŽÀ‰Æ‚ª‚È‚¢‚Æ‚«B‚µ‚©‚µA‹`âAˆú—Aˆ«Ž¾‚ð”Æ‚µ‚½‚È‚ç‚΁A‚±‚Ì—ß‚É‚©‚©‚í‚ç‚È‚¢B

Sansom's translation (Sansom 1934:142, brackets in original)

28. The seven grounds for divorce (Žµo”V狀) of a wife by her husband are

(1) If she is childless
[Most commentaries agree that this means without a male child.]
(2) If she commits adultery
(3) If she disobeys her parents-in-law
(4) If she talks too much
(5) If she steals
(6) If she is jealous
[This of course refers to jealousy actively manifested in conduct. The commentaries explain that the jealousy in question is that aroused by the presence of concubines in the household.]
(7) If she has a bad disease
[It seems from the commentaries that that [sic] leprosy is meant here.]

In all cases the husband must write a notice of divorce which must be signed jointly by the parents and near relatives. Those who cannot write must make their mark (i.e. finger print).

[ The commentaries state that the signature of grandparents, parents and near relatives on both sides is necessary. Since the woman's name would be removed from her husband's household register and restored probably to that of her parents, formal notification from both sides would be required.

This clause alone cannot therefore be interpreted as meaning that the consent of the wife's family is necessary before divorce. See Article 29 below. ]

Even when there are grounds for divorce a wife shall not be sent away in any one of the following three cases:

(1) if she has maintained (the household) during the period of mourning for her parents in law during which time the husband could not work.
or   (2) if since marriage the household has risen in status.
or   (3) if there is nobody to receive her (i.e. if there is no member of her family or other sponsor of the marriage to whom she can return.

But these exceptions shall not apply if she has been guilty of a grave offence against piety or of adultery or has a bad disease.

[ The first two exceptions are based on the principle that if the wife has loyally shared the misfortune of her husband minor faults such as garrulity, jealousy, eetc. ought to be forgiven. The third is based on the practical consideration that if relatives or other parties responsible in the first instance for her marriage are dead or absent or otherwise not in a position to receive her, there is no register to which she can return.

"A grave offence against piety" is here used to render ‹`â, q.v. in Article 31 infra. ]


RG 08-42 People are to marry someone of like color [status]

Ryō no gige
Ordinance 8: Households
Article 35: Like color to marry

People of like color to marry

Early marriage laws

Several articles in Ordinance 8 (Households) of Ryō no gige pertain to marriage.

Article 24 allows males to marriage at age 15 while females can marry at age 13, but Article 25 requires a woman to have the permission of her family.

Article 27 calls for dissolution of an alliance should a man take [a woman] as his [approved] wife or mistress after committing an indiscression [with her], even when their meeting [union] [beforehand] has been pardoned [by approving relatives] (–}æ›@ [姧] Œã›Wˆ×È¨B嫉ïŽÍ—P—£”VBSZKT RG:103-104).

Article 35 makes the following provision for marriage between the "colors" [statuses] of people.

—ß‹`‰ðA8 ŒË—߁A35 “–Fˆ×¥ð

Kanbun –}—ˌˁBŠ¯ŒËB‰ÆlBŒöŽ„“z›XBŠF“–Fˆ×¥B(SZKT RG:103-104)

Translation   Tomb households [tomb keepers]. Official households [servants of court or ministries]. House people [clan, family servants]. Public [government] and private [male and female] slaves. All are to marry a [person of] corresponding color [like status].

Japanese translation   —ˌˁAŠ¯ŒËA‰ÆlAŒöŽ„‚Ì“z›XiŒö“z›XEŽ„“z›Xj‚́AŠFA“¯Ží“¯g•ªŠÔ‚ō¥ˆ÷‚·‚邱‚ƁB

Sansom's translation (Sansom 1934:145)

35. Tomb serfs and public serfs, servants, public and private slaves may marry only in their own category.


RG 08-35 commentary

Ryō no gige makes the following observations about Article 35 in Ordinance 8. The translation, and the underscoring in both the kanbun text and the translation, are mine. The green highlighting marks identical phrasing in the Tang code and commentary (see below).

Commentary on RG 08-35

Kanbun   ˆàB–}ŸŒÜFB‘Šácˆ×¥B‘¦ˆÙF‘Š›WŽÒB—¥–³ß–¼B•Àácˆá—߁BŠù˜¨–{FB–’‡³”VBŽáˆÙF‘Š›WBŠ¶’j—B‘¦’mîŽÒBŽ©‡]dB‘´Š¯ŒËB—ˌˁB‰ÆlB¥ŸŽOFŽÒBŠ¯ŒËˆ×ŒyB“ñFˆ×dB–’Œöæˈ׌yBŽ„æˈ׏dB’A—ˌˉƐl‘Š¥Š¶ŽÒB]•êˆ×’è–çB(SZKT RG:103-104)

Translation      [The commentary] says: All these five colors. With corresponding [color] shall marry. However when [a man] takes a bride with [someone of] a different color. The code has no name for [no description of] [such an] offense. And [so it] will correspond to contravening an ordinance. Since [one of the parties] has left [strayed, veered from] the original color. Also [the party] will duly correct this [revert to the original color]. Should [one] [a man] take a bride with [someone of] a different color. Where there is born a man or a woman [= a son or a daughter, a child]. When [the man] knows the circumstances. [He] will on his own accord [as a matter of course] duly follow [abide with] [provisions for] heavy [offenses]. The official household [servant]. Tomb household [servant]. House person [clan or family servant]. [Among] those who are of these three colors. [The punishment for] the official household [servant] shall be light. [The punishments for] [the other] two colors shall be heavy. Also [the punishment] for public base [subjects] shall be light. [And the punishment for] private base [subjects] shall be heavy. However when [a man or a woman] [a son or a daughter] has been born where [a good man] [has knowingly] married with a tomb household [servant] or a house person [servant]. [The child] will follow [abide with] the determinations of the mother.

The commentary in the Ryō no gige, on which Sansom has apparently based the above statement, makes the following observations. The translation, and the underscoring in both the kanbun and translation, are mine.

Sansom's commentary on RG 08-35

Sansom comments at great length on what he calls the "free people" and the "base people" and on the five categories of the latter (Sansom 1934:145-147).

Sansom's commentary on RG 08-35

This article (35) provides that a member of one of these five categories may marry only a public slave, a servant only a servant. But in practice the rule was apparently not always enforced, since some commentaries state that kwanko [Š¯ŒË kanko] and kenin [‰Æl kenin] are regarded as one category for the purpose of this Article, as also are public and private slaves. It is probable that the law was interpreted and enforced differently at different times and places.

It is even more probable, though, that the law never gained much respect. All evidence suggests that it was the work of Sinified Yamato authorities with too much time on their hands and an impulse to impose a Tangesque social order on their subjects. And apparently people ignored it to the point that it became unenforceable.

Similar phrasing in Tang code and commentary

Some of the phrasing in the Ryō no gige commentary on Article 35 of Ordinance 8 is identical to phrasing in Táng lù shū yì (“‚—¥‘`‹`), a contemporary commentary on the Tang code (“‚—¥ Táng lù). Both the writers of the Taihō and Yōrō codes, and the legalists who compiled Ryō no gige, would have had this work at hand.

Several articles of the Tang code touch upon the disposition of "marriages that violate the code" (ˆá—¥ˆ×¥), but Article 192 is most germain to RG 08-35. Because this article contains at lot that is of interest to status generally, I have shown a version of the original text, and an English rendering by Wallace Johnson in the second volume of study and translation of the Tang code (Johnson 1997:171-172, brackets in original). The green highlighting marks identical phrasing in RG 08-35 commentary (see above).

Tang code

Section 4: The household and marriage
(Chapters XII-XIV, Articles 140-195)

Chapter XIV

Article 192

General Bondsmen Are Not Permitted To Marry Commoners

192   ”è¶戶•s“¾äo—ǐlˆ×¥AˆáŽÒAñˆê•SBŠ¯戶›W—ǐl—ŽÒA–’”@”VB—ǐl›WŠ¯戶—ŽÒA‰Á“ñ“™B

y‘`z ‹cžHFè¶戶”z诏”ŽiA•säo—ǐl“¯—ށAŽ~‰ÂácF‘Š›WA•s‡äo—ǐlˆ×¥Bˆá—¥ˆ×¥Añˆê•SBuŠ¯戶›W—ǐl—ŽÒA–’”@”VvAˆàŠ¯戶–’诏”ŽiA•s›¢BãpA–’ácF¥‰ÅA•s“¾çk›W—ǐlAˆáŽÒ–’ñˆê•SB—ǐl›WŠ¯戶—ŽÒA‰Á“ñ“™A‡“kˆê”N”¼BŠ¯戶Ž„‰Å—äo—ǐlA—¥–³³•¶A•À{ˆËŽñœn—áB

Article 192.1   All cases of violation of the law that general bondsmen are not permitted to marry commoners are punished by one hundred blows with the heavy stick.

192.2   Official bondsmen who marry commoners receive the same punishment.

192.3   A commoner who marries the daughter of an official bondsman is punished two degrees more.

[7] Subcommentary   General bondsmen are attached to various government offices and are not the same as commoners. They can only marry persons of their own class and are not allowed to marry commoners. Violations of the law are punished by one hundred blows with the heavy stick. Official bondsmen who take commoners as wives receive the same punishment. This means that official bondsmen are also attached to various government offices and [their registries of ancestry] are not kept by prefectures and counties. They also marry persons of [page 171 / page 172] their own class and are not permitted improperly to marry commoners. Violations are [8a: also punished by one hundred blows with the heavy stick.

If a commoner marries the daughter of an official bondsmen, the punishment is increased two degrees to one and one-half years of penal servitude. The law has no provision covering an official bondsman marrying his daughter to a commoner. In both cases, the principle on principle and accessories is follows.


y‘`z ‹cžHF“z›XŠù“¯Ž‘àA‘¦‡—RŽå™|•ªAçk›’‘´—Ž„‰ÅäolA{Œv›XæفA€ŸX˜_ßAŒÜ•D“kˆê”NAŒÜ•D‰Áˆê“™B’mî›WŽÒAäo“z›Xß“¯G•s’mîŽÒA•s¿BŽ©uè¶戶äo—ǐlˆ×¥vˆÈ‰ºA“¾ß˜¹Še—£Ž§‰ü³B‘´HAžÙAè¶戶AŠ¯戶AˆË—߁uácFˆ×¥vAŽáˆÙF‘Š›WŽÒA—¥–³ß–¼A•Àácuˆá—߁vBŠù˜¨–{FA–’‡³”VB‘¾í‰¹ãߐlAˆË—߁u¥“¯•S©vA‘´—L趍썥ˆ÷ŽÒA•À€—ǐlB‘´•”‹ÈA“z›X—L”ƁA–{žŠ–³³•¶ŽÒAˆË—¥uŠe€—ǐlvB”@äoè¶戶AŠ¯戶ˆ×¥A•À“¯—ǐl‹¤Š¯戶“™ˆ×¥”V–@A˜¹Še³”VB

Article 192.4a   If a slave secretly gives his daughter to a commoner as a wife or concubine, the punishment is comparable to that for robbery.

192.4b   The man who knows the circumstances and yet takes the daughter receives the same punishment.

192.5   The woman is returned to her original status in each case.

192.4b   The man who knows the circumstances and yet takes the daughter receives the same punishment.

Subcommentary   Slaves are the same as goods, and decisions about them are made by their owners. If a slave improperly and secretly marries his daughter to a man, her value is calculated and the crime is punished as comparable to robbery. Thus if she is worth five p'i of silk, the punishment is one year of penal servitude increased one degree for each further five p'i. A man who knows the circumstances and yet takes the daughter receives the same punishment as the slave. If he does not know the circumstances he is not punished. For an official bondsman becoming the wife of a commoner on down, not only is there punishment but the relationship is ended and the person is returned to his or her original status in each case.

As for artisan bondsmen, musician bondsmen, and general bondsmen, according to the statute: " [Artisan bondsmen, musician bondsmen, general bondsmen, official bondsmen, personal retainers, female retainers, public and private slaves.] all must marry within their class." The Code has no provision for when persons of different classes intermarry, so they are punished for violating a statute. Since they have deviated from their original status, they are also returned to it. Musicians of the Court of Imperial Sacrifices, according to the statute, are allowed to marry commoners. If they indiscriminately marry [persons of inferior classes], the punishment follows that for commoners.

Where the specific article has no provision about offenses committed by personal retainers and slaves, according to the Code, they are treated as commoners in each case. if they are given to general bondsmen or official bondsmen in marriage, it is treated the same as under the law on commoners and official bondsmen intermarrying. They are returned to their original status in each case.


RG 08-42 Status of child of "good" parent and "base" parent

Ryō no gige
Ordinance 8: Households
Article 42: Becoming husband and wife

Status of child when status of base parent was unknown

Article 42 of Ordinance 8 (Households) of the Ryō no gige concerns the status of men and women who were born in alliances made between a "good" person and a "base" person, in which apparently the good person was not aware of the base person's status.

—ß‹`‰ðA8 ŒË—߁A42 ˆ×•vÈð

Kanbun –}Š¯ŒËB—ˌˁB‰ÆlBŒöŽ„“z›XB—^—ǐlˆ×•vÈBŠ¶’j—B•s’mîŽÒ]—ǁBŠF—£”VB‘´“¦–SŠ¶’j—BŠF]æˁB(SZKT RG:105)

See comments on "Status terms" and "Good and base" below for glosses on underscored terms.

Translation   Always: Where [1] [a member of] an official household [official servant], or [2] [a member of] a tomb household [tomb tender], or [3] a house person [clan or family servant], or [4] a public [government] or [5] a private male slave or female slave, and a good person have become husband and wife, there is born a man or a woman, [when] [the good person] did not know the circumstances [of the base person's status], [the man or the woman] will follow [conventions for] [be treated as] [be affiliated with] good [people]. All [spouses found to have married in such ignorance] will separate. Where [the husband and wife] have fled and flown there is born a man or a woman, all [such offspring] will follow [conventions for] [be treat as] [be affiliated with] base [affiliates].

Japanese translation   Š¯ŒËA—ˌˁA‰ÆlAŒöŽ„‚Ì“z›XiŒö“z›XEŽ„“z›Xj‚ªA—ǐl‚ÆŒ‹¥‚µ‚ж‚ñ‚¾‚Æ‚±‚ë‚Ì’j—‚́A‘G‚Å‚ ‚é‚Æ‚ÌŽÀî‚ð’m‚ç‚È‚©‚Á‚½ê‡‚ɂ́A—ǐl‚É‘®‚³‚¹‚邱‚ƁBŠFA—£¥‚³‚¹‚邱‚ƁB“¦–S‚µ‚ж‚ñ‚¾‚Æ‚±‚ë‚Ì’j—‚́AŠFA‘G‚É‘®‚³‚¹‚邱‚ƁB

Sansom's translation (Sansom 1934:147, brackets in original)

42. When a slave is married to a free person, children born of the marriage shall, if the marriage was contracted without knowledge [that one party was a slave] follow the status of the free party. The parties shall be separated.

Where [one of the parties] has absconded and a child is born, it shall follow the status of the unfree party.

[The commentaries do not agree on the meaning of this second clause; but it seems that absconding was taken as showing that the parties were aware that one was a slave.]


Status terms

Š¯ŒË (kanko)   A household owned by the government or a member of such a household, hence also meaning a "government" or "official" servant.

"Household" reflects the fact that members were allowed to have families, and were allocated land and taxed the same as "good people" (see below). As such they were higher in status than government (official) slaves (see below), but as chattels of the government their movements were restricted. They were supervised by the "Government slave office" (Š¯“zŽi Kannushi, Kannu no tsukasa, Yatsuko no tsukasa).

Public slaves and government servants who reached the age of 76 became "good" (RG 08-38).

—ËŒË (ryōko)   A household attached to the "Mausoleum office" (”—ËŽi Shoryōshi), or a member of which, hence tomb tender or caretaker. The office was in charge of burying, and performing funeral and memorial rites for, deceased sovereigns, the wife and principal consorts of a sovereign, princes and princesses, and other near relatives. Attached households cared for the burial mounds and graves, and associated grounds, in lieu of paying taxes.

‰Æl (kenin)   Not a household but a servant in a clan or family household, higher in status than a private slave (see below). Such persons, like slaves, were counted as part a household's property and as such became an of object of inheritance, but unlike slaves were not bought or sold, and they were allowed have have families.

ŒöŽ„“z›X (kushi nuhi)   Public [court, government, ministerial] and private [clan, family household] male slaves and female slaves. Separtely called "public slaves" (Œö“z›X kunuhi) and "private slaves" (Ž„“z›X shinuhi). Public slaves also called "government slaves" (Š¯“z›X kannuhi). Such people were the property of their public (court, government, ministerial) or private (clan, household) owners, and as such they were objects of inheritance and trade.

As a stand-alone compound “z›X (nuhi) may be a generic term for "slave", as can just “z (yatsuko, yakko) or “z—ê (dorei). However, the component graphs mean "male slave" (“z nu, do, yatsuko, yakko) and "female slave" (›X nu, hashitame), and often they need to be translated as such.

—ǐl (ryōnin)   Good person. Equivalent to —Ç–¯ (ryōmin), meaning "good subject / affiliate" in constrast with æ˖¯ (senmin), meaning "base subject / affiliate". æːl (senjin) is also found but the prevalent term was æ˖¯ (senmin), especially as æ˖¯ came to embrace an amorphous class of itinerant entertainers, convicted criminals, and others who were classified as ”ñl (hinin), meaning "not person".

—Ç (ryō)   Short for everything related to the status of being "good" as opposed to "base" (see below) -- i.e., "good people" or "good subjects" themselves, or the customs of such people, or the laws that governed the status and treatment of such people.

æË (sen)   Short for everything related to the status of being "base" as opposed to "good" (see above) -- i.e., "base subjects" and their ways of life and related laws.

Good and base

—ÇæË (ryōsen) refers to both "good" and "base" classes and castes. ‹MæË (kisen) refers to both "noble and base" people, meaning sometimes "good" and "base" and sometimes "noble" (‹M ki) and "ignoble" if not just "high" and "low". In some cases, "noble" (‹M ki) is used to describe people who held a "cap rank" (Š¥ˆÊ kan'i) of a specified higher order.

—Çæˍ¥ˆ÷ (ryōsen kon'in) or "good-base marriage" referred to a marriage between a man and woman of "good" and "base" status.

As used in reference to European social history, the term "morganatic marriage" refers to a marriage between royalty and non-royalty, and as such is often translated ‹Mæˌ‹¥ (kisen kekkon) or "noble-base marriage" in Japanese. A title of nobility was either lost when a male of noble status married a commoner, or did not pass to a son born to his commoner wife, who also might not inherit mcuh if anything of her husband's property. Some of the "morganauts" that resulted from such unions, though, continued to posture as people of noble status.

In Japan, too, alliances across class and caste boundaries could effect the status of one or the other party, and the status of the children of mixed marriages were determined by customary or statute law, as we see here.

One obvious example would be the different treatment of women in "back court" of a male sovereign, where his wife had one status, and his concubines had a variety of statuses. A concubine of a male sovereign might later become his wife, and concubines could be ambitious. A prince's standing in the line of succession formally depending who his mother was and sibling order, but this did not stop ambitious princes, sometimes with the backing of ambitious mothers or maternal relatives, from vying for power.

While Japanese family law today no longer recognizes concubines as such, it continues to differentiate between the children of a man's legal wife (which are assumed to be his by fact of the marriage), and children he has recognized whose mother is other than his wife. Such children, and their mothers, are treated differently according their legal status in relation to the man.

—Ç (ryō) thus contrasted with æË (sen), which embraced all of the above-listed classes and castes -- government servants, tomb tenders, private servants, government slaves and private slaves -- which were widely referred to as "the base [people] of five colors" ŒÜF”VæË (goshiki no sen) or simply "the five colors" (ŒÜæË gosen) -- "color" being a metaphor for "category" and alluding to the different colors of garments that might identify one's status.

Children born to base subjects and masters

Article 43 provides that, in the case of a man or a woman [person] who was born in a situation where a house servant or male slave committed an indiscretion (›@ = 姧) with the master or someone five degrees or higher (four, three, two, one) of relationship to the master, will "sink to the government" (–}‰Æl“zB›@ [= 姧] Žå‹yŽåŒÜ“™ˆÈãeBŠ¶’j—BŠe–vŠ¯BSZKT RG:105). In other words, such people will be ascribed to one or another base status, and whatever land or other property they may have inherited will go to the court.

However, the commentary to Article 43 states that, in the case of rape (‹­›@), such offspring will be treated as "good people" (—ǐl. They will also be treated as "good" should the master and the slave not have been aware, until after their indiscretion, that their status relationship was not suitable, according to the codes and abiding by the provisions for not knowing the law at the time of the crime.


RG 09-03 Division of fields by mouth, sex, and age
RG 09-21 Partitions made every six years

Ryō no gige
Ordinance 9: Fields
Article 3: Per-capita division
Article 21: [Every] six years, one partitioning

Per-capita standards for dividing fields

Ordinance 9 of Ryō no gige has 37 articles on fields (“c—ß Denryō). Article 3 determines the amount of cultivatable land to be allocated to individuals on the basis of their sex and age. Article 21 requires that allocations or partitions be made every six years.

—ß‹`‰ðA9 “c—߁A3 Œû•ªð

Kanbun   –}‹‹Œû•ª“cŽÒB’j“ñ’iB < —Œ¸ŽO•ª”VˆêB > ŒÜ”NˆÈ‰º•s‹‹B‘´’n—LŠ°‹·ŽÒB]‹½“y–@B < Interlineal text omitted > ˆÕ“c”{‹‹B < Interlineal text omitted > ‹‹æ^B‹ï˜^’¬’i‹yŽlŽŠB(SZKT RG:107)

Translation   Always: [When] providing fields by per-capita division. A male will [be provided] two tan. < A woman less by one-third. > [A child] under five years will not be provided [land]. [When] this land has broadness [more than enough cultivatable land] or narrowness [insufficient cultivatable land]. Follow village-land [local village] laws [standards]. < Interlineal text omitted > [In the case of] cheap [less fertile] fields provide double. < Interlineal text omitted > [When] the giving is finished. In detail record the [areas in units of] chō and tan (’¬’i) and the four limits [in the cardinal directions].

Japanese translation   Œû•ª“c‚̔Nj‹‚́A’j‚É‚Q’i < —‚Í‚R•ª‚Ì‚PŒ¸‚¸‚邱‚Æ > B‚TÎˆÈ‰º‚ɂ͔Nj‹‚µ‚È‚¢B“y’n‚ª—]’n‚ª‚ ‚Á‚½‚è•s‘«‚µ‚½‚è‚·‚éê‡‚́A‹½“y‚Ì–@‚ɏ]‚í‚·‚±‚ƁBˆÕ“ci’n–¡‚ª”–‚­Šu”N‚ōkŽí‚·‚é“cj‚́A‚Q”{‚É‚µ‚ĔNj‹‚·‚邱‚ƁB”Ç‹‹‚ðI‚¦‚½‚È‚ç‚΁A‚‚Ԃ³‚É’¬’i‹y‚ÑŽlŽŠi“Œ¼“ì–k‚̗אڒnj‚ð‹L˜^‚·‚邱‚ƁB

Aston's translation   (Aston 2:207-208, note 1; underscoring and related comment mine)

In granting Kō-bun-den (land shared in proportion to population) men shall have two tan, women a third less, and children under five years of age none. Lands are granted for a term of six years.

Lands are granted for a term of six years   Aston has imported this from Article 21 (see next).

Field partitions made every six years

Article 21 of Ordinance 9 (Fields) of Ryō no gige requires that field partitions be made ever six years. Related to this, Article 19 of Ordinance 8 (Households) calls for household registers to be updated every six years. Since per-capita field partitions were based on the number, sex, and age of heads or "mouths" (Œû) in a household, it stands to reason that periodic changes in household composition, not limited to death, would have occasioned changes in partitioning.

—ß‹`‰ðA9 “c—߁A21 ˜Z”Nˆê”Ǐð

Kanbun   –}“cB˜Z”Nˆê”ǁB < _“cBŽ›“cB•sÝŸŒÀB > ŽáˆÈgŽ€‰ž‘Þ“cŽÒB–ˆŽŠ”Ç”NB‘¦]ŽûŽöB(SZKT RG:110-111)

Translation   Always: Fields. Six years one division. < God [shrine] fields. Temple fields. [There shall] not exist this limitation. > If because a person dies. [And] accordingly leaves [withdraws from] the field. When comes a division year, then [The next] Every coming of a division year. Immediately follow [procedures for] settling collections.

Japanese translation   “c‚́A‚U”N‚É‚P“x”Ç‹‹‚·‚邱‚Ɓo_“cAŽ›“c‚́A‚±‚ÌŒÀ‚è‚É‚ ‚炸pB‚à‚µŽ€–S‚ðˆÈ‚Ä“c‚ð‘Þ‚¢‚½ŽÒ‚ɂ‚¢‚ẮAŽŸ‚̔ǔN‚ÉŽŠ‚邲‚ƂɁA‚·‚®ŽûŒö‚·‚邱‚ƁB


Seishu toka ki (1794)

In 1794, Sakurai Ankyō published a work called Seishū tōka ki or "Records of throwing [oneself on (submitting to) the court] and changing [one's allegiance] of [people from] western provinces" -- meaning the countries roughly west of Yamato or Japan, namely, the various countries on the Chinese continent and the Korean peninsula, and beyond.

The work is a compilation of accounts cited or digested from chronologies and other records of people who had come to the islands for various reasons, from early times and into the Tokugawa period. Those who stayed were embraced as subjects of the sovereign of the territory in which they were allowed to settle.

The 1794 work was copied in 1812 and recopied in 1815. Here I will merely introduce the particulars of these three editions to the extent that I know them. See Toka and kika for comparisons of "tōka" (“Š‰») with "kika" (‹A‰») as synomyms for "submission and change of allegiance".

In the following descriptions, I use "book" (kan) to mean a division of the content of a "volume" (kan). Both are ""kan" but it is necessary at times to differentiate between the "kan" of the content and the "kan" of the packaging.

In the following descriptions, I have romanized the place names in Sino-Japanese. Many such names are Chinese transliterations of names that were not Chinese, and the graphs are being used for their phonetic value. Such transliterations are common in classical Chinese texts, both for place names and names of objects or concepts adopted from other languages, such as Sanskrit. The same methods of transliteration were adopted in Yamato in the form of man'yōgana, meaning Chinese graphs used phonetically to represent Yamato and other non-Chinese words.


1812 Seishu toka ki
Preface and start of ` section
Image copped and cropped from
Waseda University Library

1812 edition

This copy, in three volumes, contains all four books of the the original edition. The three volumes are in the Waseda University Library. High resolution scans embedded in PDF files are publicly accessible through the library's website.

ŸNˆäˆÀ‹œ [•Ò]
¬‹{ŽR¹G (•–Œ¬) [˜]
Š°­b“Џ\ŒŽ [æë]
•¶‰»‹ã”Np\‰ÄŒÜŒŽ [˜]
ŽlŠª (ŽOŠª)

Sakurai Ankō (compiler)
Komiyama Masahide (Fūken) (preface)
Seishū tōka ki
[Records of submission (to the court) and change (of allegiance) of (people from) western countries]
Kansei 6-10 (1794-10/11) [afterword]
Bunka 9-5 (1812-6/7) [preface]
3 volumes [kan] containing 4 books [kan]

As of this writing, I know nothing about Sakurai Ankō, and know only that Komiyama Masahide (1764-1840), aka Fūken, was a Mito-domain scholar of Confucian and historical texts, in Mito, the location of the main branch of the Tokugawa house, and the center of academic authority during the Tokugawa period.

Volume 1 contains Book 1, Volume 2 contains Book 2, and Volume 3 contains Book 3 and Book 4. Individually, Books 3 and 4 are much shorter than Book 1, which is much shorter than Book 2. Whether they were first published as separate volumes and later bound together, as in the extant copy of this edition, is not clear.

Together the three volumes contain some 117 leaves (234 pages) -- more than twenty fewer than the 1815 edition (see below).

Book 1

Volume 1 (34 leaves, 68 pages) is dedicated to Book 1 but begins with a very short preface, dated •¶‰»‹ã”Np\‰ÄŒÜŒŽ (1812-6/7 [5/6]) and signed ¬‹{ŽR¹G‘?•–Œ¬. According to the preface, the "topic" of the work is about "people of Han and Tang, and various barbarian [neighboring] [countries], who threw [presented] [themselves] [at the Yamato court] and changed [their allegiance]" (—LŠ¿“‚””דŠ‰»”VlŽÒ). The copy was made in order to replace the original manuscript, which had been damaged in a fire.

Book 1, which covers lineages related to early Chinese entities, beginning with Shin (` Chin, Qin) and ending with Zui (ä@ Sui). The part on ` (PY Qin, WG Chin, SJ Shin, Y Hata) begins with a citation of what is said about this graph in Erya (Ž¢‰ë) -- now, and perhaps then as well, the earliest extant Chinese dictionary.

Book 2

Volume 2 (45 leaves, 90 pages) is dedicated to Book 2, which covers lineages related to the three major early Korean entities Shiragi (V—… Silla), Koma (‚—í Koryŏ) or Kokuri (‚‹å—í Koguryŏ), and Kudara (•SÏ Paekche).

Book 3

Volume 3 (38 leaves, 76 pages) is evenly divided between Books 3 and 4.

Book 3 begins with Mimana (”C“ß Imna), then segues to Shukushin (lT C. Sushen, Y. Mishihase), a coastal Tungusic entity of seafaring fishermen and bear hunters; Bokkai (ŸÝŠC K. Palhae), a largely Korean entity created by remnants of Koguryŏ]; Chōsen" (’©‘N K. Chosŏn) [Korea]; Tenjiku (“VŽ±) [Sindhu, i.e., India]; and other regions of asia.

The list then turns to countries "in the western sea" beginning with Harutogaru (”gŽ¢“mŠ¢Ž¢) [Portugal]; Rama (純n) [Rome]; Waran (˜a—–) [Olanda, Holland]; Ishipania (ˆÉŽz”c你ˆŸ) [Ispania, Hispania, Spain]; and Saisairia [Saiseiria] (¼Ö—¢ˆŸ) [Sicilia], among other countries.

After Sicilia come Kōshi (Œðæä) [Cochin] [Vietnam] (centering on what by then had become Tongkin and is now Hanoi), then Padan (”b’U) [Padang > Sumatra], which ends Book 3 in this edition.

Book 4

Book 4, which makes up the second half of Volume 3 of the 1812 edition, is dedicated to monks and nuns (‘m“ò). The monks and nuns are grouped by country, beginning with the Chinese entities of Ryō (—À Liu), Tō (“‚ Tang, T'ang), Sō (‘v Song), Gen (Œ³ Yuan), and Min and Shin (–¾´ Ming-Qing, Ming-Ching), continuing with the Korean entities of Kudara (•SÏ), Kōryō (‚—í), Shiragi (V—… Silla), and Chōsen (’©‘N), and ending with Tenjiku (“VŽ±), which is India.

Book 4 concludes with a two-page "Afterword on old books" (äp–{æë Kyūbonbatsu), dated Š°­b“Џ\ŒŽ (1794-10/11) and signed ŸNˆäˆÀ‹œŽ¯ (Sakurai Ankō shiki). The afterword is an overview of the sources that were used to compile the biographical information in the work.

Padan [Padang > Sumatra]

The Padang entry, which ends Book 3, reads as follows. I have transcribed and translated the text as puncutated in vermilion (Žé shu) on the received copy (leaves 18-19).

Note also the absense of kaeriten (•Ô‚è“_), which were marked on some kanbun manuscripts to faciliate their reading in Japanese. Questions arise concerning the ability of scholars like Komiyayama to read and write Chinese without thinking in Japanese.

Apart from how they might have recited kanbun texts if asked to read them aloud, I would think -- from my own experiences of writing in Japanese -- that it would not be possible to write as easily as it appears they were able to write, without having an essential feeling for Chinese syntax and style. Presumably such writers would also have had no difficulty silently reading kanbun as Chinese -- or, as the case may be, Japanized Chinese.


6 of 18 Padangese survive

The following account from the 1812 edition is missing from the 1815 edition of Seishū tōka ki. The translation, as usual, is structural.

1812 Seishu toka ki
Start of Padang account
Image copped and cropped from
Waseda University Library


”b’Uš AÝ‘囃“ìA‘´’n‹ß“VŽ±‰]A‰„›”ª”NŒÜŒŽA”bŠŽl\”ªŒûA•Y’…“úŒüA‘¦‘—’·èA‘´l‘½•aŽ€A‹ÍéP˜ZlA–½g–ѐlAŠÒ‘´š AŽ€ŽÒ‘’’·è’•ŸŽ›A©–¼—ñ¶ < äݚ V˜b >


The country of Padan [Padang > Sumatra] is south of Taien [C. Tayuan > Taiwan], its land is near Tenjiku [Sindhu > India] it is said, Enpō 8th year 5th month [June 1680], eighteen Padan people [Padangese], drifted to Himuka [Hyūga > Miyazaki], immediately sent to Nagasaki, many of these people died of illness, only six people remain, ordered red-haired people, return [them] to their country, the dead were buried at Nagasaki Sōfukuji [temple], [their] names are listed to the left < Bankoku shinwa > [New stories of myriad countries].


Padan (”b’U) is written with graphs that, used phonetically to transliterate a foreign word, could represent hatan, patan, hadan, or padan. The "-n" would normally be pronounced "-ŋ" -- hence Padang, which is taken to be the name of Sumatra.

Portuguese ships came to Sumatra in 1507, but British, Dutch, and others followed. By 1663 a Dutch flag was flying at Padang, and in 1680, the year of the above account, the Dutch East India Company built a trading post at the port. Britain squatted on nearby Bencoolen (now Bengkulu), and Anglo-Dutch and other wars over the next two centuries resulted in occasional changes of flags at Padang. Sumatra did not come entirely under Dutch control until the middle of the 19th century. The city of Padang is now the capital of West Sumatra in Indonesia.

"Padan" has all but disappeared from Japanese. It is most likely encountered today in odd references to "hatankyō" (”b’UˆÇ), an old Sino-Japanese term for almonds and almond trees. Hatankyō may also refer to a variety of plum. Ships arriving at Nagasaki were sometimes identified by the port from which they embarked, as were some of the products they brought.

Taien in Chinese is Tayuan, hence later Taiwan.

died of illness reflects "byōshi" (•aŽ€), still the standard term for "death due to illness". The list shows the names of eighteen people, their ages, and whether they had died. Their ages ranged from 15/6 to 57/8. Only six did not have "died of illness" (•aŽ€) after their age. The youngest survivor was 20, the oldest 37/8.

Speculation   No mention is made of the illness that caused their death. While crews of ships were sometimes decimated by smallpox, the disease was well-known in Japan by this time and would have been easily recognized. Perhaps it was scurvy, some other form of malnutrition, or simply consumption. The ship was apparently disabled by a storm and drifted to Himuka. It might have been destined for Cochin or another port near Padang and not had sufficient stocks of food for a longer voyage. Some of the Padangese, if natives of Sumatra, might have been slaves on their way to or from a Dutch mine somewhere.

red-haired people reflects "kōmōjin" (g–ѐl), which at the time referred to Hollanders or Dutch. Only later did it come to mean Euroamericans (Europeans and Americans) generally.

Bankoku shinwa [New stories of myriad countries] was published in 1789, five years before Seishū tōka ki. Hence, perhaps, the appearance of the Padang account at the end of Book 3.


1815 Seishu toka ki
Preface and start of ` section
Image copped and cropped from
Waseda University Library

1815 edition

The following single volume manuscript, which contains the above three volumes plus a list of cited works, is also in the Waseda University Library and can be read in high resolution scans embedded in PDF files.

ŸNˆäˆÀ‹œ [æë]
¬‹{ŽR¹G (•–Œ¬) [˜]
”·Ÿ•¶Ž¯ [Œã˜]
Š°­b“Џ\ŒŽ [æë]
•¶‰»‹ã”Np\‰ÄŒÜŒŽ [˜] •¶‰»\“ñ”N‰³ˆå\ˆêŒŽ [Œã˜]
ŽlŠª (ˆêŠª) [Š®]

Sakurai Ankō (afterword)
Komiyama Masahide (Fūken) (preface)
Hanawa Katsufumi [Shōbun] [postscript] Seishū tōka ki
[Records of submission (to the court) and change (of allegiance) of (people from) western countries]
Kansei 6-10 (1794-10/11) [afterword]
Bunka 9-5 (1812-6/7) [preface]
Bunka 12-11 (1815-12) [postscript]
1 volume [kan] containing 4 books [kan] complete [kan]

The title slip on the cover has the graph Š® (kan) or "complete", meaning that it contains all four books of the work in this single volume of 141 unnumbered leaves (282 pages). Whether the four books of this edition were originally bound together like this is not clear.

This is actually a rather different edition, which becomes evident from the very beginning. The section on `, which starts in the 1812 edition with a citation from the Erya, opens in the 1815 edition with a remark to the effect that the ancestors of the Hata had been people who had submitted and changed to Paekche at the peak of Qin and Han rule (æ¶ŽŠŽ¡”V—²A`Š¿•SÏŸd‰»“à•”V).

More historical Chinese entities, such as Go (Œà Wu) and Gi (é° Wei), are included.

Entities west of China and India are described in much more detail. Here are a few of the more notable examples.

Examples of changes in descriptions of
geographical locations of countries in
1812 and 1815 editions of Seishū tōka ki

Waran (˜a—–)

The 1812 edition says "The country of Waran [Holland] is in the western sea" (˜a—–š Ý¼—m) and observes that it is also called Aranda (ˆ¢—–‘É) [Oranda, Holland]. The 1815 edition says "The country of Waran is more than 10,000 li [Chinese miles] proceeding by sea northwest of Tōdo [Tang lands > China] and Tenjiku [Sindhu > India]" (˜a—–š Ý“‚“y“VŽ±¼–kŠCsˆêäÝéP—).

Rama (純n)

The 1812 edition says "The country of Rama {Rome] is in the western sea" (純nš Ý¼—m). The 1815 edition says "Rama [Rome] is the name of the capital of the country of Itairia [Italia] and that country is on [in] the sea south of ūrapa [Europa]" (純nˆÓ‘å—¢ˆŸš “s–¼–ç‘´š ÝŸ^純b“ìŠCã).

Saiseiria (¼âV—¢ˆŸ)

The 1812 edition says "The country of Saiseiria [Sicilia] is in southern barbaria" (¼âV—¢ˆŸš Ý“ìåÅ). The 1815 edition says "The country of Sicilia is on a small island in the sea south of Itairia [Italia]" (¼âV—¢ˆŸš ÝˆÓ‘å—¢ˆŸ“ìŠC’†¬“‡ã).

Note here the use of "nanban" (“ìåÅ > “ì”Ø) to mean "southern barbaria" as a region -- hence the distinction of people from Portugal and Spain and such as "nanbanjin" (“ì”ؐl) or "nanban no hito" (“ì”؂̐l) -- meaning "people of southern barbaria" [southern barbarians] -- from the "red-haired people" (g–ѐl) of Holland to the north.

Padan (”b’U)

Book 3 of the 1812 edition ends with the above translated account of Padan, which follows the account of Kōshi (Œðæä) [Cochin] [Vietnam]. However, Book 3 of the 1815 edition ends with Kōshi, for the Padang account is missing.

The first 10 leaves (20 pages) consist of a list of numerous cited works, beginning with the Kojiji, Nihon shoki, Shoku Nihongi, and Shoku Nihon kōki. The list ends with the Hyōkairoku (•YŠC˜^ P'yohaerok), a Korean work if not its Japanese version known as Tsūzoku Hyōkairoku (’Ê‘­•YŠC˜^).

Hyōkairoku is by Ch'oe Pu (›ÁŸî), who drifted at sea to China in 1477. There are numerous reports of people at sea drifting to the shores of a country other than their own, be it China, Korea, Japan, the Ryukyus, or other countries in East Asia and the Pacific. A number of these accounts are well known outside Asia.

Hyōkairoku has been translated into English.

John Meskill (translator)
OCh'oe Pu's Diary: A Record of Drifting across the Sea
Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1965
Association for Asian Studies
Series Monographs and Papers, No. XVII
177 pages, hardcover

Regarding the work, Geoff Wade makes the following observation (Wade 2003, 9.3 Studies of Korean Texts on Maritime Asia).

The only major Korean text on maritime Asia which has been studied deeply and translated into a European language is that by Ch'oe Pu (›ÁŸîs•YŠC˜^t). The work has been translated into English by John Meskill in Ch'oe Pu's Diary: A Record of Drifting across the Sea (1965).

Geoff Wade
The Pre-Modern East Asian Maritime Realm: An Overview of European-Language Studies
Asia Research Institute
Working Paper Series, No. 16
National University of Singapore
December 2003

Other editions

Apparently there are copies of Books 2, 3, and 4 of Seishū kōka ki at the Tohoku University Library. I have not confirmed whether these are parts of either of the above editions, or of another edition including possibly the original edition.

In any event, microfilm copies of these three books are listed in the Family History Library Catalog of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Microfilm copies can be ordered through the Family History Center, or can be viewed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.