Nochi no Kagami (後鑑)

"Nochi-kagami" is a history book compiled by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) which covers the 15 generations of the Muromachi bakufu.

The author was Ryojo NARUSHIMA, a Confucian scholar who served the bakufu. His pseudonyms included Chikuzen (he was an adopted son of Motonao NARUSHIMA, who compiled "Tokugawa Jikki" (a collection of official records of the Edo bakufu)). There are 347 volumes and twenty appendices. It was written over the 16 years following 1837 and completed in 1853.

It portrays the history from 1331, just before the downfall of the Kamakura bakufu, to 1597, the year in which Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, the final Muromachi Shogun, died. For the Kamakura bakufu, there is the official history text known as "Azuma Kagami" (a chronicle of the history of the Kamakura bakufu) and there was a similar text entitled "Tokugawa Jikki" for the Edo bakufu, the long period of continued political instability meant that there was no opportunity to compile a history of the Muromachi bakufu. Proud of being the legitimate samurai government descended from the Kamakura bakufu, the Edo bakufu commissioned the text in order to supplement the official history of the Muromachi bakufu, which formed a kind of link between the Edo and Kamakura bakufu, as well as to reinforce the legitimacy of samurai government in an attempt to stem the rising tide of imperialism.

The text is a 'shogun-ki' (lit. shogun record) that consolidates the achievements of each successive shogun in a diary fashion based on that of the "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East). However, the period in which the position of the shogun was vacant following the deaths of Yoshikazu ASHIKAGA and Yoshihisa ASHIKAGA is treated independently as a postscript to the section pertaining to Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA and Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA. Yoshitane ASHIKAGA's second reign as shogun is also treated as a postscript. During the period in which shogun family split, the shogun who received the shogun senge (appointment to shogun) and resided in Kyoto was deemed to be legitimate. Another feature of the text is that it maintains the form of a history book of samurai government by limiting descriptions related to the Imperial Court for both the Southern Court (Japan) and the Northern Court (Japan) to the bare minimum. The main sources for the text were the diaries, records and old documents of nobles, priests and samurai.

After the work was completed, the bakufu bestowed Mansuke TSUTSUI and nine others with ten silver coils each a reward for the achievement of compiling the book. Chikuzan NARUSHIMA had already passed away one month previously (November 1853) at the age of 52.

Original Text and Reference Books
After the Meiji Restoration, the original was kept in the Geography Section of the former Home Ministry (Japan) but no longer survives after having been destroyed in a fire caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake. However, the entire content of the work is known because it had already been printed and published in volumes 6 to 8 of "Zoku Kokushi Taikei" (Supplementary Compendium of Japanese History) compiled by Ukichi TAGUCHI, and manuscripts are kept by the Cabinet Library and Historiographical Institute at the University of Tokyo. Kokushitaikei Shomoku Gedai (Annotated Bibliography of Source Materials for Zoku Kokushi Taikei) by the historian Taro SAKAMOTO is a reference book.

[Original Japanese]