The Shinkokushi (The New National History) (新国史)

The Shinkokushi is a national history of Japan that is said to have been compiled in the 10th century, following the "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (Veritable Records of Three Reigns of Japan), the last of the Rikkokushi (Six National Histories).

It is said to have ended up as only a draft. According to one theory, it was called the "Zoku Sandai Jitsuroku" (The Continued Veritable Records of Three Reigns of Japan). The authors were FUJIWARA no Saneyori, OE no Asatsuna, and others.

For the project of compiling an official history on the reigns of two emperors, Emperor Uda and Emperor Daigo, an agency called the History Compilation Bureau was established during the reign of Emperor Suzaku in 936, and FUJIWARA no Tsunesuke and TAIRA no Koremochi were appointed as its betto (superintendents), and OE no Asatsuna was appointed to be their aide. Because so little progress had been made on the work during the reign of Emperor Murakami in 954, the most powerful person at that time, FUJIWARA no Saneyori, was appointed as its president and OE no Asatsuna was appointed as superintendent, and they were ordered to add Emperor Suzaku's reign while they tried to accelerate the progress of the work.

But after OE no Asatsuna died three years later and the superintendent was changed to OE no Koretoki, with the Ritsuryo system growing weaker, zeal for the compilation of official histories at court seems to have waned and records of any activity disappear after 969. Furthermore, as there is no record mentioning its completion, the work is thought to have been left unfinished.

However, it seems that a draft did exist and was owned to some extent in various manuscript forms, and it is known that around 1010, during the reign of Emperor Ichijo, the emperor and FUJIWARA no Michinaga appear to have considered the resumption of compiling the Shinkokushi, although this was never realized due to the emperor's death (entries in "Gonki" (FUJIWARA no Yukinari's diary) on eighth month eighth day in the same year, and in the "Mido Kanpaku ki" on fourth month twenty-ninth day in the same year),and that, according to a catalogue made by FUJIWARA no Michinori, there existed versions both in 40 and 50 parts. As the latter especially is called "Zoku sandai jitsuroku," the commonly accepted theory holds that it was called so ever since Nobutomo BAN, because after the 40 volumes written about the reigns of the two Emperors Uda and Daigo, 10 volumes were added on the reign of Emperor Suzaku.

A draft seems to have been extant during the Heian period, but afterwards it was lost and now only some quotations from a part of it are found in "Chuyuki" (Diary of a Court Official), etc. Also, it is thought that a draft of the Shinkokushi was used as a source when the "Nihon Kiryaku" (The Abstracted Records of Japan) was written.

[Original Japanese]