Dai nihon shi
("History of Great Japan"). A history of Japan compiled at the behest of Tokugawa Mitsukuni, daimyō of the Mito domain (now part of Ibaraki Prefecture). The 397-volume work was begun in 1657 and completed in 1906. Written in classical Chinese (kambun) and following the format of the official Chinese histories, it covers the years from the accession of Jimmu, Japan's legendary first emperor, to the reign (1382-1412) of Emperor Go-Komatsu. Great care was taken in the selection, verification, and documentation of sources, setting an unprecendentedly high standard for historical compilation. Mitsukuni's primary purpose in commissioning the history was to define the correct relationship between ruler and subject from a Neo-Confucian point of view. The work reinterpreted the status of important historical rulers and gave moral force to the pro-imperial movement at the end of the Edo period (1600-1868) that led to the Meiji Restoration. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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