Hyakuren sho (History book from the Kamakura period) (百錬抄)

Hyakuren sho (百錬抄) is a history book in which extracts from diaries of kuge (court nobles) and other records were complied. It is assumed to have been completed at the end of the 13th century, the late Kamakura period. The authors are unknown. It is also written as 百練抄 (Hyakuren sho). The title of the book comes from 'Hyakurenkyo' (百練鏡) of Bai Letian. Originally the kanji '練' (ren) was used, but in and after the Edo period the kanji '錬' (ren) came to be used.

It consists of 17 volumes which is not a complete edition: the volumes 1 and 3 are missing. It records from 968 (the first year of the Anwa era) to December, 1259 (the first year of the Shogen era) in classical Chinese in a chronological style as a form of Tenno-ki (describing events in the order of the reign of the Japanese emperors).

The authors are unknown, but one theory widely accepted is that it was written by the people concerned with the school of Kaju-ji Temple because many quotations had come from diaries of the people from the school, including "Kikki" (diary of Tsunefusa YOSHIDA) of Tsunefusa YOSHIDA from the school of Kaju-ji Temple. Because the book was completed in 1259 when the Emperor Gofukakusa retired and he appeared in it as 'Shin-in' (new ex-Emperor), the next Emperor Kameyama was presumably still on the throne at the completion of the original book. It is presumed to have been completed, with some corrections added afterwards, at the latest before the preparation of the later-mentioned Kanazawa Library book.

The contents up to the third volume are unknown. The contents between the part of Emperor Reizei in the fourth volume and the part of Emperor Konoe in the seventh volume are the extracts from "Honcho Seiki" (Chronicle of Imperial Reigns) by FUJIWARA no Shinzei, which are valuable because a lot of parts of the original book has been scattered and ultimately lost. The subsequent part up to the part of Emperor Nijo in the same seventh volume is estimated to have been based on TAIRA no Chikanori's diary which doesn't exist today. The subsequent part is assumed to have been quotes from dairies of Tsunefusa YOSHIDA and his descendants (Suketsune YOSHIDA, Tsunetoshi YOSHIDA and others). From Emperor Takakura in the eighth volume to Emperor Gosaga in the 15th volume (excluding Emperor Chukyo), one volume is allotted to one emperor, but the last two volumes are allotted to Emperor Gofukakusa.

The book is Kyoto-oriented in contrast to the "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East) of the samurai warriors. Documents handed down to the present include the book published in 1803 by Hokiichi HANAWA, who revised old books of Momijiyama Library, old school textbooks and so on, and manuscripts of Kanazawa Library book line written in 1304 by Sadaaki KANESAWA who revised Sadafusa YOSHIDA's books.

[Original Japanese]