Important cultural property 'Dainihonshi hensan kiroku' vols 1–5 published online (1 July 2019)

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On 1 July, the Kyoto University Museum and the Graduate School of Letters published the first five volumes of Dainihonshi hensan kiroku ("records concerning the compilation of Dainihonshi ") as 206 digital images in the Kyoto University Library's Rare Materials Digital Archive. The two institutions have been working since FY2018 on the restoration and digitization of the 248-volume material, an important cultural property owned by the Graduate School of Letters.

Dainihonshi hensan kiroku consists of over 6,000 documents, mostly copies of letters exchanged among the Shokokan offices in Mito and Edo (present-day Tokyo) and their Kyoto branch. These offices were in charge of compiling a book of Japanese history, entitled Dainihonshi or the "Great History of Japan". The Dainihonshi project was ordered by Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628-1701), the feudal lord of the Mito domain.

Dainihonshi hensan kiroku mentions 42,810 individuals and organizations, and 15,159 historical records and literary works. In addition to history, it covers a broad range of topics, including literature, Confucianism, and kokugaku (study of Japanese philology and philosophy). The record also sheds light on the publishing culture of the time (Genroku era: 1688–1704), making it a "first-grade" historical record.

The set is comprised of about 10,000 folded leaves, bound into 248 volumes through four holes. Each volume was rebound and repaired during the Edo period (1603–1867), but the work undertaken then was insufficient for securing long-term preservation, and left much of the text near the inside edge of each page hidden from view. The ongoing restoration and digitization efforts are aimed at rectifying these problems.

As of 1 July 2019, the number of materials publicly available in the Rare Materials Digital Archive stood at 13,526 titles, consisting of 1,159,075 images. This number is anticipated to increase over the coming years as a result of this and other ongoing and planned digitization projects.

Important cultural property Dainihonshi hensan kiroku (property of the Graduate School of Letters)

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