2019-07-01

Important Cultural Property "Dainihonshi hensan kiroku" (G.S. Letters) newly released

The Graduate School of Letters of Kyoto University and the Kyoto University Museum have been carrying out the restoration and digitization of an important cultural property Dainihonshi hensan kiroku held by the Graduate School of Letters since academic year 2018. Two hundred and six new images of the restored material are now available in Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive.

▼Important Cultural Property - Dainihonshi hensan kiroku (G.S. Letters)

Important Cultural Property - Dainihonshi hensan kiroku (G.S. Letters)


Dainihonshi hensan kiroku (大日本史編纂記録) is a collection of more than 6,000 letters (copies) exchanged between Shokokan (彰考館; Mito Domain’s office for history compilation) in Mito (currently in Ibaraki Prefecture) and Edo (currently Tokyo) and their Kyoto office regarding the compilation of Dainihonshi (*1) by Tokugawa Mitsukuni (徳川光圀; 1628-1701). A total of 42,810 people and organizations and 15,159 historical records and literature works are mentioned in the letters and the content covers a wide range of aspects of the time, such as history, literature, Confucianism and Japanese classical literature, as well as the publishing culture during the Genroku Period, which makes this rare material a first-class historical record.

The rare material, before being restored, consisted of 248 volumes of about 10,000 sheets (one sheet folded in half to form a pouch makes two pages) in the form of fukuro-toji yotsume-toji (袋綴四つ目綴装) with sheets of papers folded at the fore edge and sewn at the back edge at four points. However, the rebinding and restoration done to the material during the Edo period were not appropriate to secure its long-term preservation; they also made it impossible to read the majority of the volumes without damaging them, because the text near the back edge was sewn inside the spine. Therefore, a restoration project was launched in academic year 2018, with a plan to restore first 20 volumes funded by the Sumitomo Foundation. The Graduate School of Letters has also set up Kyoto University Fund for the restoration of its library collection and the Kyoto University Museum acquired the university's special budget for this project in 2018.

Each volume of Dainihonshi hensan kiroku is to be released on the Internet through Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive upon the completion of restoration and digitization processes. As of July 1, 2019, the Digital Archive provides 1,159,075 images of 13,526 titles.