Manyodaishoki (万葉代匠記)

"Manyodaishoki" is a commentary on "Manyoshu" (the oldest anthology of tanka) by Keichu, who was a scholar of Japanese classical literature during the Edo Period.

The word 'daisho came from "Roshi" (Daodejing) volume two and "Monzen" (Wen-hsuan, ancient Chinese poems) volume 46 "Ode to Heroes", meaning that 'there may be some errors because this book is made on behalf of the original authors.'
At that time, the lord of the Mito Tokugawa family Mitsukuni TOKUGAWA wished to collect transcribed and published books on "Manyoshu" to revise them, and Choryu SHIMOKOBE was in charge of making commentary during the Kanbun and Enpo periods. When Choryu became ill and could no longer perform his duty, he recommended Keichu who shared the same interest for the task.

The creation of "Daishoki" started around 1683 and 'the first edition' was completed around 1687 followed by 'the final version' in 1690. After the first edition was completed, various editions such as (四點万葉集 and 中院本) and "Shirin Saiyosho" (Commentary of Leaves from a Forest of Words) were handed to Keichu, and he revised the first edition based on these new documents to compose the final version. In the first edition, Choryu's theory was cited in many instances, and the book effectively depicted Keichu's commentary and criticism in regard to a single poem. The final edition was better in that it proposed a more genuine interpretation of the poem and was precise based on the documents.

As a study on "Manyoshu", "Daishoki" has a good reputation as an innovative project following those of Sengaku during the Kamakura period and Kigin KITAMURA during the Genroku era. This book is representative of Keichu's commentary and approach supported by his extensive knowledge of Buddhist scriptures and Chinese classic books that was not biased by the author's opinion or ideology.

[Original Japanese]