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Nihon Ōdai Ichiran(日本王代一覧Nihon ōdai ichiran), The Table of the Rulers of Japan, is a 17th-century chronicle of the serial reigns of Japanese emperors with brief notes about some of the noteworthy events or other happenings.
According to the 1871 edition of the American Cyclopaedia , the 1834 French translation of Nihon Ōdai Ichiran was one of very few books about Japan available in the Western world.
The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various nations depending on the context, most often including at least part of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas, with the status of Latin America in dispute. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world.
The material selected for inclusion in the narrative reflects the perspective of its original Japanese author and his samurai patron, the tairō Sakai Tadakatsu, who was daimyō of the Obama Domain of Wakasa Province. It was the first book of its type to be brought from Japan to Europe, and was translated into French as "Nipon o daï itsi ran".
Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.
Tairō was a high-ranking official position in the Tokugawa shogunate government of Japan, roughly comparable to the office of prime minister. The tairō presided over the governing rōjū council in the event of an emergency. A tairō was nominated from among the fudai daimyōs, who worked closely with the Tokugawa traditionally. Generally, the office holder was the shogunate's chief policy maker, and provided Japan with a capable temporary leader in the absence of a shōgun, or in the event that the shōgun was incapacitated.
Sakai Tadakatsu was a Sengoku period Japanese samurai, and early Edo period daimyō and served in several important positions within the administration of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Dutch Orientalist and scholar Isaac Titsingh brought the seven volumes of Nihon Ōdai Ichiran with him when he returned to Europe in 1797 after twenty years in the Far East. All these books were lost in the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars, but Titsingh's French translation was posthumously published.
Isaac Titsingh FRS was a Dutch scholar, merchant-trader and ambassador.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
The manuscript languished after Titsingh's death in 1812; but the project was revived when the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland sponsored printing and publication in Paris with distribution to be handled from London. The Paris-based philologist and orientalist Julius Klaproth was engaged to shepherd the text into its final printed form in 1834, including a Supplément aux Annales des Daïri , which generally mirrors the pattern of Titsingh's initial Annales des empereurs du Japon; and the reach of this additional material stretches thinly through the 18th century history of Japan.
Heinrich Julius Klaproth was a German linguist, historian, ethnographer, author, orientalist and explorer. As a scholar, he is credited along with Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, with being instrumental in turning East Asian Studies into scientific disciplines with critical methods.
This became the first Japanese-authored historical account of its sort to be published and circulated for scholarly study in the West. It is fitting that this rare book was selected as one of the first to be scanned and uploaded for online study as part of an ongoing international digitization project which has now been renamed the Google Books Library Project:
Work on this volume was substantially complete in 1783 when Titsingh sent a manuscript copy to Kutsuki Masatsuna, daimyo of Tamba. Masatsuna's comments on this text were lost in a shipwreck as the edited manuscript was being forwarded from Japan to India in 1785 where Titsingh had become head of the Dutch East Indies Company trade operations at Hoogly in West Bengal. The final version of Titsingh's dedication of the book to his friend Masatsuna was drafted in 1807, a little more than a quarter-century before the book was eventually published.
The original multi-volume text was compiled in the early 1650s by Hayashi Gahō. His father, Hayashi Razan, had developed a compelling, practical blending of Shinto and Confucian beliefs and practices. Razan's ideas lent themselves to a well-accepted program of samurai and bureaucrat educational, training and testing protocols. In 1607, Razan was accepted as a political advisor to the second shōgun, Tokugawa Hidetada. Sometime thereafter, he became the rector of Edo's Confucian Academy, the Shōhei-kō. This institution stood at the apex of the country-wide educational and training system which was created and maintained by the Tokugawa shogunate.
In the elevated context his father engendered, Gahō himself was also accepted as a noteworthy scholar in that period. The Hayashi and the Shōheikō links to the work's circulation are part of the explanation for this work's 18th and 19th century popularity. Gahō was also the author of other works designed to help readers learn from Japan's history, including the 310 volumes of The Comprehensive History of Japan (本朝通鑑/ほんちょうつがん,Honchō-tsugan) which was published in 1670.
The narrative of Nihon Ōdai Ichiran stops around 1600, most likely in deference to the sensibilities of the Tokugawa regime. Gahō's text did not continue up through his present day; but rather, he terminated the chronicles just before the last pre-Tokugawa ruler.
In Keian 5, 5th month (1652), Nihon Ōdai Ichiran was first published in Kyoto under the patronage of one of the three most powerful men in the Tokugawa bakufu, the tairō Sakai Tadakatsu.In supporting this work, Sakai Todakatsu's motivations appear to spread across a range anticipated consequences; and it becomes likely that his several intentions in seeing that this specific work fell into the hands of an empathetic Western translator were similarly multi-faceted.
Gahō's book was published in the mid-17th century and it was reissued in 1803, "perhaps because it was a necessary reference work for officials."Contemporary readers must have found some degree of usefulness in this chronicle; and those who ensured that this particular manuscript made its way into the hands of Isaac Titsingh must have been persuaded that something of value could become accessible for readers in the West.
Post-Meiji scholars who have cited Nihon Ōdai Ichiran as a useful source of information include, for example, Richard Ponsonby-Fane in Kyoto: the Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869.The American poet Ezra Pound, writing to a contemporary Japanese poet in 1939, confirmed that his reference library included a copy of Nihon Ōdai Ichiran. At that time, Pound explained that "as far as [he had] time to read", the work seemed a "mere chronicle." However, modern literary critics have demonstrated by textual comparisons that Pound relied on Titsingh's French translation in crafting some sections of the Cantos.
Titsingh's translation was eventually published in Paris in 1834 under the title Annales des empereurs du Japon.The 1834 printing incorporates a slim "supplement" with material which post-dates Titsingh's departure from Japan in 1784. This additional section of the book was not the product of translation, but must have been informed by oral accounts or correspondence with Japanese friends or European colleagues still in Japan.
Titsingh worked on this translation for years before his death; and in those final years in Paris, he shared his progress with orientalists Julius Klaproth and Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, who would edit his first published posthumous book: Mémoires et anecdotes sur la dynastie régnante des djogouns (Memoirs and anecdotes on the reigning dynasty of shōguns). Rémusat would later become the first professor of Chinese language at the Collège de France. Titsingh's correspondence with William Marsden, a philologist colleague in the Royal Society in London, provides some insight into the translator's personal appreciation of the task at hand. In an 1809 letter, he explains:
Klaproth dedicated the book to George Fitz-Clarence, the Earl of Munster, who was Vice President of the Royal Asiatic Society and also a Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland.The fund had sponsored Klaproth's work and was the principal underwriter of the publication costs
Japanologist John Whitney Hall, in his Harvard-Yenching monograph on Tanuma Okitsugu assessed the utility of this translation and its context:
Isaac Titsingh himself considered the Nihon odai ichiran fairly dry. He viewed the work of translation as "a most tedious task".
Ashikaga Yoshihide was the 14th shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who held nominal power for a few months in 1568 during the Muromachi period of Japan. When he became shōgun, he changed his name to Yoshinaga, but he is more conventionally recognized today by the name Yoshihide.
Tokugawa Ieharu (徳川家治) was the tenth shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, who held office from 1760 to 1786.
Tenmei (天明) is a Japanese era name for the years between the An'ei Era and before the Kansei Era, from April 1781 through January 1789. The reigning emperor was Kōkaku Tennō' (光格天皇).
Hōreki (宝暦), also known as Horyaku, was a Japanese era name after Kan'en and before Meiwa. The period spanned the years from October 1751 through June 1764. The reigning emperor and empress were Momozono-tennō (桃園天皇) and Go-Sakuramachi-tennō (後桜町天皇).
Kan'en (寛延) was a Japanese era name after Enkyō and before Hōreki. This period spanned the years from July 1748 to October 1751. The reigning emperor was Momozono-tennō (桃園天皇).
Genbun (元文) was a Japanese era name after Kyōhō and before Kanpō. This period spanned the years from April 1736 through February 1741. The reigning emperor was Sakuramachi-tennō (桜町天皇).
Keian (慶安) was a Japanese era name after Shōhō and before Jōō. This period spanned the years from February 1648 through September 1652. The reigning emperor was Go-Kōmyō-tennō (後光明天皇).
Genna (元和) was a Japanese era name coming after Keichō and before Kan'ei. This period spanned the years from July 1615 to February 1624. The reigning emperor was Go-Mizunoo-tennō (後水尾天皇).
Kanshō (寛正) was a Japanese era name after Chōroku and before Bunshō. This period spanned from December 1460 through February 1466. The reigning emperors were Go-Hanazono-tennō (後花園天皇) and Go-Tsuchimikado-tennō (後土御門天皇).
Chōroku (長禄) was a Japanese era name after Kōshō and before Kanshō. This period spanned the years from September 1457 through December 1460. The reigning emperor was Go-Hanazono-tennō (後花園天皇).
Hōtoku (宝徳) was a Japanese era name after Bun'an and before Kyotoku. This period spanned the years from July 1449 through July 1452. The reigning emperor was Go-Hanazono-tennō (後花園天皇).
Tokugawa Masako, also known as Kazu-ko, was an empress consort of Japan. She was the daughter of Tokugawa Hidetada, who was the second shōgun of the Edo period of the history of Japan.
Kanpō (寛保) was a Japanese era name, also known as Kampō, after Genbun and before Enkyō. This period spanned the years from February 1741 through February 1744. The reigning emperor was Sakuramachi-tennō (桜町天皇).
Kutsuki Masatsuna, also known as Kutsuki Oki-no kami Minamoto-no Masatsuna, was a hereditary Japanese daimyō of Oki and Ōmi with holdings in Tanba and Fukuchiyama. His warrior clan was amongst the hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa family in the Edo period. His childhood name was Tomojiro (斧次郎).
The Tokushi Yoron is an Edo period historical analysis of Japanese history written in 1712 by Arai Hakuseki (1657–1725).
Yun Sunji (1591–1666) was a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty Korea in the 17th century.
Im Gwang (1579–1644) was a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty Korea.
Hong Gye-hui (1703–1771) was a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty Korea in the 18th century.
Jo Hyeong (1606–1679) was a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty Korea in the 17th century.
Hong Chi-jung (1667–1732) was a scholar-official and Prime Minister of the Joseon Dynasty Korea in the 18th century from 1729 to 1732.