Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku (日本三代実録)

Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku (The True History of Three Reigns of Japan) is a Japanese history text compiled during the Heian period and completed in the year 901. It is the final text of the Rikkokushi (Six National Histories).

The content covers a span of 30 years from September 858 to August 887 in which the three emperors Emperor Seiwa, Emperor Yozei and Emperor Koko reigned. It was compiled by FUJIWARA no Tokihira, SUGAWARA no Michizane, OKURA no Yoshiyuki, and MIMUNE no Masahira. It is organized in chronological order, written in Kanbun (classical Chinese) style and contained within 50 volumes.

According to the preface of "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku," Emperor Uda ordered MINAMOTO no Yoshiari, FUJIWARA no Tokihira, SUGAWARA no Michizane, OKURA no Yoshiyuki, and MIMUNE no Masahira to compile the text. Various theories exist regarding the actual year in which they started. Conjecture according to the official ranks of each contributor place this date between April 893 and September 894. "Nihongi Ryaku" (Summary of Japanese Chronologies) places the date as June 3, 892 but this text contains many errors in its descriptions of this period, and is said not to be a reliable source. Following the death of MINAMOTO no Yoshiari in the year 897 and the abdication of Emperor Uda, compilation of the text was suspend.

Compilation was resumed by the decree of Emperor Daigo, and the text was completed in September 901. During this time, SUGAWARA no Michizane fell from grace and was demoted to Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region), while MIMUNE no Masahira withdrew from its compilation due to reassignment. It was only FUJIWARA no Tokihira and OKURA no Yoshiyuki who reported the completion of the text. It is assumed that SUGAWARA no Michizane and OKURA no Yoshiyuki were responsible for the majority of the compilation work.

"Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" contains the most descriptions of the Rikkokushi. Its substantial collections of imperial edicts and addresses made to the emperor as well as descriptions of the customary practices established by precedents accommodated the government officials at whom the text was aimed. Annual events such as sechi-e (seasonal court banquets) and religious services were recorded for each year.

There are entries, such as the circumstances surrounding the abdication of Emperor Yozei, for which it is thought that the writers refrained from writing a full account out of a fear of powerful individuals. There are several parts regarding the Gangyo War in which it is stated that records are missing and details are omitted. There are those who regard this as a manifestation of the sincere attitude but there are also those who have doubts that there are facts that were deliberately withheld by the compilers.

In volume 15 and volumes 19 to 48, i.e. in 868 and from January 871 to January 886, there are several omissions in the manuscript and the entire text has not been recorded.

After the Rikkokushi

There were other attempts to compile national histories following Rikkokushi and it is rumored that there was a 'Shinkokushi' (New National History), but the few remaining rare texts have led to the prevailing opinion that they were never completed and reported to the emperor, with the decline of government according to the Ritsuryo codes given as a reason for this.

[Original Japanese]