The Japanese Historical Text Initiative (JHTI) is a rapidly expanding database made up of historical texts dating back more than 1200 years. The original version of every paragraph in every text is cross-tagged with its English translation, making it possible for any researcher to see, on the same screen, both the original and English translation of any word or phrase appearing in any JHTI text. The texts now included are of the following types:
Ancient chronicles. These were compiled by officials of the Imperial Court in compliance with edicts handed down by occupants of the throne. The three oldest chronicles have been placed on JHTI: (1) the Kojiki (completed in 712 CE) and cross-tagged with the Donald L. Philippi translation, (2) the Nihon Shoki (completed in 720) with its translation by W. G. Aston, (3) the Shoku Nihongi (covering 697 to 791) as translated by J. B. Snellen, and (4) the Kogoshûi (completed in 807) with its translation by Genchi Katô and Hikoshirô Hoshino.
Ancient gazetteers. These texts were submitted by provincial officials in compliance with an Imperial edict handed down during the first half of the 8th century. Only a few remain. We are inserting on JHTI the original of the most complete extant gazetteer, the Izumo no Kuni Fudoki (submitted in 733), and remaining portions of other gazetteers, the Harima no Kuni Fudoki, the Bungo no Kuni Fudoki, the Hizen no Kuni Fudoki, and the Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki, linking them with Michiko Aoki’s translations.
Ancient religio-civil code. In 927, at the close of the Great Reform period that began in 645, a comprehensive compilation of religious and civil law (the Engi Shiki) was submitted to the Imperial court. The first 10 books are made up of religious (Kami) law. All other books are devoted to civil law. The originals of the 10 Kami books have been placed on JHTI and cross-tagged with Felicia Gressitt Bock’s translation.
Medieval chronicles and tales. After the Great Reform period, and during early years of the emerging feudal age, the most valuable historical texts were stories written about what was said and done by powerful leaders of aristocratic and military clans. Five are being placed on JHTI: (1) the Ôkagami (covering the years 866 to 1027) with the translation by Helen Craig McCullough; (2) the Yamato Monogatari (completed around 951) with the Mildred Tahara translation; (3) the Eiga Monogatari (covering the years 794 to 1185) with the translation by William H. & Helen Craig McCullough; (4) the Taiheiki (completed around 1371) with the Helen Craig McCullough translation; and (5) the Azuma Kagami (completed around 1300) with the partial Minoru Shinoda tranlation.
Medieval and early-modern interpretive histories. Between 1219 and 1712, three great interpretive histories were written, mirroring the religious and political interests of their authors. The originals and translations of the three are being placed on JHTI: (1) the Gukanshô (completed in 1219) has been linked with the Delmer M. Brown and Ichiro Ishida translation, (2) the Jinnô Shôtôki (completed in 1339) with the H. Paul Varley translation, and (3) the Tokushi Yoron (completed in 1712), cross-tagged and inserted with the Joyce Ackroyd translation.
Religion and polity in the modern state. This is an area of significant research that, in comparison with earlier eras, is surprisingly "undertranslated," most likely because it has not been as directly associated with literary production as was the case in earlier eras. As we move forward, we hope to redress this lacuna, initially by making available important texts for which there may not necessarily be a full (or any) translation and facilitating the work of translation itself. Currently, JHTI already includes the original texts of Meiji Ikô Jinja Kankei Hôrei Shiryô (Governmental Orders Concerning Shinto Shrines After the First Year of Meiji), which were compiled by the Japanese government in connection with the reforms of religious organizations after 1945. More recently we have added the Kokutai no Hongi (Cardinal Principles of Nation Polity, 1937), cross-tagged with the English translation by John Owen Gauntlett. We hope in the near future to be able to make available Aizawa Seishisai's Shinron, along with B. T. Wakabayashi translation, as well as the text of Rai San'yô's Nihon Gaishi, with partial translations in French and English. Other texts we are considering for inclusion are relevant sections of authoritative constitutional commentaries on religious issues and important interventions in contemporary debates over religion and the state, religion and education, etc., such as Kume Kunitake's controversial 1892 article, "Shintô wa Saiten no Kozoku," and Inoue Tetsujirô's Chokugo Engi (1891) and Kyôiku to Shûkyô no Shôtotsu (1893).
New projects. In addition to its original mission of providing Japanese texts in translation, JHTI plans to expand its operations to include access to the increasing volume of Japanese public domain historical materials now available over the internet. As Japanese websites such as 'Aozora Bunko' continue to make Japanese public domain texts widely available to a Japanese-speaking audience, JHTI will select those of interest to our usership. (We will take particular care not to duplicate the efforts of literature-based Japanese Text Initiative at the University of Virginia, to which we provide a link on our own site.) Where possible, we will seek to match these texts with relevant English translations available through online research sites such as JSTOR and post these links to its website. We plan to accompany these links with short annotations on the historical context and significance of the linked materials. Even where no translation exists, we expect to make certain seminal texts available, both for their own sake and in the hopes of encouraging future translations. This project is meant to accelerate the process of posting additional historical material to our website by assembling and organizing existing resources into a single indexed site. This project aims to serve the ongoing needs of Japanese studies specialists for a broad selection of historical materials, and represents a primary step in our identification of materials suitable for inclusion in our searchable database.
The following research-aid pages can be entered from JHTI’s Home Page:
Research Aids. This now includes Basic Terms of Shinto, a dictionary published by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics of Kokugakuin University, and Shinto Shrine Atlas, a search engine for Shikinai-sha.
Electronic Publications. This contains two illustrated articles on Shinto ritual written by James W. Boyd and Ron G. Williams of Colorado State University in Ft. Collins.
Linked Electronic Publications. This contains four books on Japanese religion published by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics at Kokugakuin University.
Linked Sites. This enables a person to contact eight institutions active in electronic research and publication in the field of Japanese history, religion, and literature.
We are always happy to hear from our users. Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any comments or suggestions you may have.