Ruiju Myogisho (類聚名義抄)

Ruiju myogisho is a dictionary (or glossary) of Chinese characters, compiled in Japan between the late 11th century and the early 12th century.
It consists of the following three sections: 'Buddha,' 'Dharma,' and 'Sangha.'
Its editor is unknown but was conceivably a scholar monk. It is abbreviated as Myogisho. It is sometimes called 'Ruiju-u myogisho,' which is incorrect.

Denpon (Existent Manuscripts)

The major manuscripts of "Ruiju myogisho" which have survived to this day are as follows.

Zushoryo (the Bureau of Drawings and Books) Manuscript. This manuscript is housed in the Imperial Household Archives. It was compiled between ca. 1081 and 1100. It retains something of the original text although only the earlier part of the 'Buddha' section has survived. It is therefore an incomplete text. A detailed bibliography is provided for each character entry.

Kanjiin (Kanjiin Temple's) Manuscript. The Kanjiin manuscript (designated a national treasure) is housed in the Tenri Central Library. It was transcribed in the mid-Kamakura period. It belongs to a manuscript family of the enlarged and revised versions of the original text. It is the only complete text that has come down to us. The three sections 'Buddha,' 'Dharma,' and 'Sangha' are each subdivided into three parts (Parts 1 to 3). Part 3 of the 'Buddha' section is further divided into 'gehon' (A) and 'gematsu' (B).

Kozanji (Kozan-ji Temple's) Manuscript. The Kozanji manuscript is also housed in the Tenri Central Library.
It is entitled 'Sanboruijishu.'
It has been ascribed to the family of the revised versions. It is incomplete, with only Part 1 of the 'Buddha' section and 'Volume 1,' which forms a portion of Part 2.

Hobodaiin (Hobodaiin Temple's) Manuscript. The hobodaiin manuscript is owned by Toji-Hobodaiin Temple. It has been ascribed to the family of the revised versions. It is incomplete.

Apart from these manuscripts, the following manuscripts which also belong to the family of the revised versions are available: The Renjoin (Renjoin Temple's) manuscript (whose duplicate copy is housed in the Imperial Household Archives) and the Seinenji (Seinen-ji Temple's) manuscript (whose transcription is owned by Kansai University) and both are incomplete.


The Zushoryo manuscript lists Chinese characters by form with hansetsu (pronunciations), usage examples, semantic readings, and Japanese readings of Chinese characters, many of which are provided with bibliographical information. Semantic readings are often marked with dots (known as shoten [tone marks]) that indicate syllables on which stress falls.
For instance, the entry for '洌' first cites the account in "Gyokuhen" (Chinese dictionary edited in the sixth century), which is indicated by the phrase '玉云' (according to "Gyoku") appears as follows:

洌 玉云,力折反. 寒皃. 潔也.
The next phrase '力折反' describes the character's pronunciation, indicating that the first consonant of the character '力' ('l' for 'li') is followed by the first vowel of '折' ('e' for 'zhe'). The third and fourth phrases, '寒皃' and '潔也,' explain its semantic readings, 'cold and crisp,' respectively. The last portion 'イサキヨシ'denotes its Japanese reading and '易' may suggest that this reading goes back to "Zhouyi" (The Book of I-Ching, the first book ever written in Chinese).
Shoten is placed on the upper left of the syllable 'イサ' in 'イサキヨシ.'
The implication is that the syllable 'いさ' (also written as イサ) of 'いさぎよし' (also written as イサギヨシ) was pronounced with high pitch when the Zushoryo manuscript was compiled.

The Kanjiin manuscript contains additional entries and semantic readings, although it has no bibliographical information.
In this manuscript the entry "洌" is described as follows:

洌 力折反 スム サムシ キヨシ イサキヨシ ハ下シ

As above, five semantic readings (スム サムシ キヨシ イサキヨシ ハ下シ) ('ハ下シ' is read as 'hageshi' (はげし) appear immediately after the pronunciation.
Shoten is placed on the upper left of 'イサ' in 'イサキヨシ'and another is placed on the lower left of 'ハ下' in 'ハ下シ.'
This suggests that 'hage' (はげ) in 'hageshi' (はげし) was pronounced with low pitch when the manuscript was transcribed.

Ruiju myogisho is thus a highly valuable document, as it is a lexicographical work with detailed and diverse information. Japanese linguistics has regarded it as an invaluable material for studying the vocabulary and pitch patterns of words around the late Heian and the Kamakura periods.

[Original Japanese]