Nihon Montoku Tenno Jitsuroku (Veritable Records of Emperor Montoku of Japan) (日本文徳天皇実録)

Nihon Montoku Tenno Jitsuroku is a history compiled in Japan during the Heian period, and is the fifth among the six Rikkokushi (National Histories of Japan, six historical compilations chronicling the mythology and history of Japan between the Nara and Heian periods). It covers the eight years of the reign of Emperor Montoku from 850 to 858. It can also be abbreviated to Montoku Jitsuroku. It was written in an annalistic style, in Sino-Japanese (kanbun), and comprised 10 volumes.

According to the preface, in 871 Emperor Seiwa ordered FUJIWARA no Mototsune, MINABUCHI no Toshina, MIYAKO no Yoshika, and OE no Otondo to compile it. After the deaths of Toshina and Otondo (both died in 877), SUGAWARA no Koreyoshi joined in 878, and in 879, he, Mototsune, and Yoshika completed the compilation.

Also, according to "Literary Drafts of the Sugawara Family," SUGAWARA no Michizane, the son of SUGAWARA no Koreyoshi, is said to have written the preface on behalf of his father.


All of the Japanese official histories before this were named 'chronicles.'
In China, which Japan took as a model, the official history of a dynasty was compiled after it had fallen by the succeeding dynasty. In contrast, veritable records originally only recorded the deeds of each emperor. Except for the first Rikkokushi (Nihon Shoki, The Chronicles of Japan), and the second (Shoku Nihongi, The Chronicles of Japan, Continued), all National Histories of Japan were concerned only with recording the reigns of each successive emperor. The fact that these records of Emperor Montoku used the title 'veritable records' in such a way can be seen as a direct imitation of the 'veritable records' of China.

It covers the shortest period among the Six National Histories. It is unique in containing little political material, but a large number of biographies of lower-ranking nobles. This is due to the fact that previous National Histories had only recorded the biographies of officials up to the fourth rank, but this one expanded that up to the fifth. It describes in detail the transitional period from the Konin-Jogan culture to the Jogan culture, and among the Six National Histories it contains the most human-like biographies.

[Original Japanese]