NIHON-SHOKI

MS 5326
MS Short Title NIHON-SHOKI
Text NIHON-SHOKI, CHRONICLES OF JAPAN; NIHON-GI, SACRED BOOK OF SHINTO
Description Blockprint with MS additions in Chinese and Japanese on paper, Edo, Japan, ca. 1700, 2 vols., 48+43 ff. (complete), 27x19 cm, 8 columns, (20x32 cm, wood-block size), 15 Kanji (Chinese characters), with Katakana added, wood-blocks signed by calligrapher/carver, 2 red ownership stamps in seal script.
Binding Edo, Japan, ca. 1700 dark blue cardboard covers stitched on 4 stations (Xian Zhuang).
Provenance 1. Private owner, Edo, Japan (18th c.); 2. Kimio Koketsu, Ohya-Shobo Ltd, Tokyo.
Commentary Nihon-Shoki was finished in 720 under the editorial supervision of Prince Toneri under the order of Emperor Temmu. It is the second oldest work of Japan’s history, only preceded by Kojiki, finished 8 years earlier. It starts with the mythological beginning of the world as it was created by the Kami (Shinto sacred deities or spirits) Izanagi and Izanami. 

 The Creation story was followed by the Imperial line descending directly from the sun goddess Amaterasu (born from the left eye of Izanagi as he purified himself in a river). She was the most important deity of Shintoism, and gave birth to Emperor Jimmu who was followed by 39 Japanese emperors. 

This Shinto legitimacy of the Imperial house was the main reason why Shinto was made the official religion of Japan following the Meiji restoration until the abrupt halt in 1945. With the Emperor’s descent from Amaterasu and being father of all Japanese, he was considered to be a living Kami on earth, giving him a divine status. Even if there are no official sacred scriptures of Shintoism, both Kojiki and Nihon-Shoki are still regarded as the sacred foundation books of Shinto.
Place of origin Edo, Japan
Dates ca. 1700

Location