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As already mentioned, Chinese historians dealt with early Japan primarily in two works that concern these events: Hou Han shu and in a section of the Sanguo zhi called Wei zhi.The Han history is a collection of records pieced together, chiefly by Pan Ye (398–445), and first printed between 994 and 1004.1 It is a later retrospective , and some sections were copied directly from the Wei zhi, but other texts were available as it does include a few items not appearing in the Wei zhi. The Wei history was compiled by Chen Shou (233–297), professional historian for the Jin dynasty, the dynastic successor following Wei’s conquest of the kingdoms of Shu (Han) and Wu.The history’s first printed form was produced in 1000–1002, but extant texts date to between 1131 and 1162, and the one kept by the Imperial Household Agency, known in Japan as the Shòki-hon version, is an edition of 1190–1194, the Chinese era of Shao-xi. Texts with less content on the eastern barbarians and not of equal value for this time period are the Song shu, Sui shu, and Xin Tang shu. The first is the History of Song. It records the events of the Liu Song (420–479) by Shen Yue,who died in 513. The extant text is medieval in time.The History of the Sui (581–618) was written shortly after the period’s close, between 629 and 636, under the editorial supervision of Wei Zheng, who died in 643. Scholars work from a printed version of 1024–1027.The New Tang History (618–907) was the product of an editorial board between 1045 and 1060 and printed in the following year.2 Although these are extremely brief for earlier times as an accounting for Han and Wei is not their intention , any useful information not appearing in the Wei zhi will be used. Jin contrived a semblance of unity for north China from 280 to 420. Chen Shou wrote not only a history of Wei, but chapters on Shu and Wu as well, although neither is as full as the Wei section,political wisdom demanding more attention for Wei.3 During this period of relative stability Chen expanded his History of theWei Dynasty to include other neighbors, notably the Xian-bi in eastern Mongolia; the Puyò, who lived in the Sungari river region, apparently the stock from which the Paekche (J: Kudara) people came; and the Koguryô (Kòkuli; J: Koma), largely south of the Yalu (K: Amnok) river. He also dealt with the political units farther south, Ma-han, Chin-han, and Pyon-han (Pyon-chin, Bian-chen), the Three Han tribal groups that occupied the general areas later referred to as the states of Paekche and Silla.Among 1 CHAPTER 1 Ancient Texts and Sources the descriptions of the eastern barbarians, the Japanese received the most scrutiny, the account of the Wa some 30 percent longer than its nearest rival, Koguryô. The Relevant Japanese Texts The counterpart Japanese texts are the classics Kojiki (Records of ancient matters) and Nihongi (probably the original name) or Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan), the title now in common use. Both books were many arduous years in the making, the Nihon shoki apparently commissioned by Emperor Temmu on 681.3.16 when he gathered a committee of learned individuals and told them to commit to writing a chronicle of the emperors and events of ancient times.4 While not all agree that this convocation initiated the Nihon shoki, the constituency of its editorial staff looks more capable of a larger work than that of the Kojiki. It was written in Chinese historiographical style and was ready in 720.The Nihon shoki became the first of the standard Six National Histories (Rikkokushi), which take the chronicles of imperial reigns to 887. In the introduction to the Kojiki, on the other hand, an explanation of the difficulties of adapting the Chinese written language to Japanese is intended to make the reader more sympathetic to idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies.To simplify the reading it was written in a hybrid style.5 An oblique statement in the Nihon shoki may describe the initiation of the Kojiki. Emperor Temmu, in contemplating major restructuring of the rank system to reward those who fought with him in the war of succession, lamented the fraudulent claims for hereditary status of some families and demanded that all records be examined and truth and fiction be...


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