Intoku Taiheiki (陰徳太平記)

The Intoku taiheiki is a work of Japanese literature.

It is a war chronicle comprising 81 volumes plus a separate volume entitled "Intokuki jo oyobi mokuroku" (Preface and Table of Contents for the Intokuki); it is focused mainly on the Sanin and Sanyo regions and begins its account in the time of the thirteenth Shogun of the Muromachi period, Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, and continuing until the Keicho Campaign (or in other words, it covers a roughly 90-year span from 1507 to 1598). There are only two extant copies, one owned by the Yamaguchiken Bunshokan (Yamaguchi Prefectural Archives) and the other by the Mori family. The former was a copy of the manuscript that was owned by the Kagawa family before it was lost in an early Showa-era fire, while the latter seems to have been donated to the main branch of the Mori family. In addition, it is said that the Kikkawa family used to own a manuscript copy but that it was lost in an earthquake-related fire.

Formation and author

It was compiled by Masanori KAGAWA, a karo (senior retainer) of the Iwakuni domain, whose second son, Sena KAGAWA (also known simply as "Sena") made a supplement for it.

Although Masanori KAGAWA began writing the "Intokuki," judged to be the source on which Intoku taiheiki is based, he died in 1660, before making it more than halfway through the writing. Kagetsugu KAGAWA, who promised to fulfill his father's dying wish, went to Kyoto to study, and continued the writing of it. In 1665, his elder brother Masatsune KAGAWA had Sankin UTSUNOMIYA, a Confucian scholar from Iwakuni, write the preface to the Intokuki. In 1695, Kagetsugu wrote the "Intokuki jijo" (Authorial Preface to the Intokuki), and it is thought that it was around this date that he completed work on the Intokuki. After being reviewed by the local government of Iwakuni in 1698, it was approved for publication in 1706 and was actually published in 1717.

In order to get the domain to pay a larger share of the publishing expenses, the Intokuki was revised to paint the both the Kikkawa family and the main branch of the Mori family--and particular the family founder, Motonari MORI--in a more favorable light. 22 years passed between when it was finished and when it was published; this is thought to be due to the fact that a certain amount of time was necessary to revise the contents in light of the then-current circumstances of the Kikkawa family and the situation in the Kamigata region (the area surrounding Kyoto and Osaka). Furthermore, regarding the claim that Motoharu KIKKAWA's wife was extremely ugly, no such description of Motoharu's wife (who was of the Kumagai clan) exists in the "Anzai gunsaku," which may have been produced while Hiroie KIKKAWA was still alive. But in the Masanori KAGAWA's "Intokuki," she is described as "unattractive," and this assessment was passed down to Sena KAGAWA's "Intoku taiheiki."

Value as historical material
Not only is it full of dramatizations of events, it also contains many factual errors. Much as was the case with "Koyo gunkan" and "Unyogun jikki," in that period writing historical chronicles was one of the methods by which a person could praise the glory and bravery of his or her own ancestors, and hence they contain many overly dramatized sections as well as portions thought to be factual errors. Consequently, such chronicles are entirely unreliable as primary sources, and are thought poorly of in general. On the other hand, the results of recent historical studies have actually provided corroboration for many portions of the chronicle, leading some to say "Even if it doesn't describe reality as such, something like what is described did occur," and judge the chronicle more favorably.

[Original Japanese]