Seiji yoryaku (政事要略)

Seiji yoryaku is a written document which gives examples of the governmental management in the Heian period. It was edited by KOREMUNE no Tadasuke, a Myobo hakase (Professor of Law). The Koremune clan was a family that produced good scholars of law; his grand-grandfather was KOREMUNE no Naomoto, who edited "Ritsu-no-shuge" (a written document on the criminal code) and "Ryo-no-shuge" (a written document on the civil code), and his grandfather was KOREMUNE no Kinkata, who compiled "Honcho Gatsuryo" (also known as Honcho Gatsuryo, a book about the knowledge of court rules, ceremony, documents in the mid Heian period). The document can be said to be a great collection of the Koremune clan's activities as scholars of law and is an important historical material for understanding politics in the Heian period. By the way, the surname 'Yoshimune' was not another name for all members of the Koremune clan, but was granted around 999 only to Tadasuke and KOREMUNE no Tadamasa, who is thought to be Tadasuke's younger brother.
Yoshimune' means 'the respective authority of the Ritsuryo codes.'

It is not well known when this book was compiled, but judging from the fact that the Emperor Ichijo was referred to as "the present emperor" in the text, it is considered to be edited during the Emperor Ichijo's reign. The compilation was finished in December, 1002, and was followed by occasional addition until nearly 1008, which is thought to be the year of Tadasuke's death. Also, it is said that the compilation of the book was conducted in response to a request from FUJIWARA no Sanesuke of Ononomiya lineage, Minister of the Right. The ground lies in a description in "Shoyu mokuroku" (the contents of "Shoyuki" [The Diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke]) that reads: 'December 17, 1002, I have finished a category of seji yoryaku (examples of social affairs),' in the book having been handed down to the Ononomiya family from generation to generation, and so on.

As for the number of volumes, it is evident from "Chuyuki" (The Diary of FUJIWARA no Munetada), "Honchoshojaku mokuroku" (the oldest list of Japanese books in existence written in the Kamakura period) and others that there were 130 volumes in total, of which 26 still exist now.
Categorization of all 130 volumes is assumed to possibly have been as follows:

Annual events (30 volumes in total)
Public service duties (approximately 5 volumes)
Kotai zatsuji (miscellaneous matters about administrative transitions) (20 volumes)
Kyudan zatsuji (miscellaneous matters about impeachment) (approximately 30 volumes)
Shiyo zatsuji (miscellaneous matters about essentials) (5 to 10 volumes)
Kokugun zatsuji (miscellaneous matters about administrative divisions) (the number is unknown)
Rinji zatsuji (miscellaneous matters about extra events) (the number is unknown)

Thus, it carries every example of governmental affairs, accurately quotes related articles on laws of codes and ethics (conduct), and related reports from the national history and diaries, in addition to Chinese and Japanese classical books, and also includes not only his own kanmon (written reports for what the imperial court requested) and kanto (written response), but also those of his ancestors and older lawyers. In addition, since it has made known some kanpu (official documents from Dajokan [Great Council of State]) and books, and also includes many surviving fragments of these documents, the historical material of the book has high historical value. As for quotation of articles of the national history, while "Honcho Gatsuryo" compiled by Kinkata, Tadasuke's grandfather, uses direct quotations from "Rikkokushi" (Japan's six national histories chronicling the seventh and eighth centuries) such as "The Nihon Shoki" (the Chronicle of Japan), the Seiji yoryaku includes not only some quotations from Rikkokushi (the Six National Histories) but also some from "Ruiju-kokushi" (Classified National History) compiled by SUGAWARA no Michizane.

The book was not widely spread, as it was a document handed down to the Ononomiya (FUJIWARA no Sanesuke) family. However, according to Kiyoshi SHIMIZU, a professor of Kogakkan University, some intellectuals such as FUJIWARA no Michitoshi and OE no Masafusa referred to it in order to develop their talents, finding its existence, and Kaneyoshi ICHIJO also utilized it for research of Yusoku kojitsu (court and samurai rules of ceremony and etiquette). Unfortunately the greater part of it was lost due to the Onin War. After the early-modern times, Shojun NAKAHARA collected incomplete parts of the book from various places in 1786 and reedited it into the nearly present format. Even today, with 200 years having passed since then, no more incomplete parts have newly found. Now a newly revised and enlarged edition of the Anthology of Japanese History has been widely used as a text of the book, but it uses as the original text a book of Fukuda library, which traces back to the system of Shojun NAKAHARA's book.

[Original Japanese]