Jillian Barndt: Fujiwara no Yorinaga’s Book List of 1143

In his Taiki journal, covering the years from 1136 to 1155, the late Heian courtier and intellectual Fujiwara no Yorinaga (1120-1156) discussed many aspects of his personal studies. A very athletic child, he suffered a riding accident at the age of seventeen and turned his interests towards books. Studying under several private tutors, Yorinaga focused on reading Chinese classics, history, and law. Although the chosen texts themselves were not odd choices for a Heian courtier, the amount of time Yorinaga spent reading and studying went beyond what was expected in the Royal University, and beyond what many scholars read themselves. His method of self-study marked a turning point in the methods of education for elites, since he was the last major scholar of the Heian period. Of special importance is the entry for 1143.9.29 in his courtier. It contains lists and notes of 1,030 volumes of texts he had read up to that point. My presentation today concerns this entry. I will discuss the contents of Yorinaga’s reading list, focusing on what and why Yorinaga may have chosen particular titles for study, how the reading list compares to the curriculum set out in the much earlier Daigaku-ryô, and issues of translation.



Emily Warren: A Guide to Royal Eating in Late Heian Times, the Chūjiruiki

What did Heian elites eat? The Chūjiruiki, or “Records Concerning the Palace Kitchens,” a late Heian Period text, answers this question, as well as posing many more topics for consideration. This collection details the utensils, furnishing, and courses that officials would organize for the tennō’s mealtime. The tennō dined twice a day, in the morning (asagarei gozen) and in the afternoon (hiru gozen). Neither meal was a simple affair. In the afternoon, the tennō enjoyed seven courses, each one carefully cooked and plated.  The orchestration of his two daily meals, never mind banquets, must have been complicated affairs for those preparing the tableware and food. The Chūjiruiki gives us an idea of the complex web of responsibilities. The three most important offices handling the tennō’s meals were the Royal Meal Office (Naizenshi), the Palace Kitchen Office (Mizushidokoro), and the Grains Procurement Office (Ōiryō). This presentation explores the responsibilities of the various food-related offices, as well as presenting key responsibilities described in the text. 


Shōdai Satodate: Diffusion and adoption of the register ( koseki)system in Japan


In ancient East Asia a system of registers, or koseki, was adopted to control the population. Owing to it, calculation of taxes and the number of soldiers to be recruited from a given area became possible. It firmly established state control over the population. Japan adopted and adapted various systems from China and Korea in ancient times, such as the ritsuryō code, and the koseki register was one such element brought in originally from China. There are koseki records from 702 extant, from the provinces of Mino (presentday Gifu), Chikuzen (presentday northwestern Fukuoka Prefecture), Buzen (presentday eastern Fuluoka Prefecture), and Bungo (presentday Ōita Prefecture). Among the four, the koseki of Chikuzen, Buzen, and Bungo are grouped together as the Saikaidō koseki. Although the Mino provincial koseki and the Saikaidō koseki were compiled in the same year, the layouts are different. Layouts of the Saikaidō koseki are the same as that of Tang China’s family registers, a format that was widely adopted throughout East Asia. The layout of the Mino koseki, however, is distinctive: in fact, it has two different layouts. One is a layout found on inscribed wooden and bamboo tablets from China and Korea. The other is a layout unique to the Mino provincial koseki. It resembles the layout of registers on wooden tablets discovered in Fukuoka Prefecture. The timing is noteworthy: right after the implementation of the Taihō ritsuryō code in 702, the Mino provincial koseki took its unique layout. I argue that the adoption of the different layout by Mino elites was militaristic in nature, and closely related to their special relationship with the monarch Temmu, which resulted in a layout of their provincial register quite distinct from other East Asian states.



Presentation Handout

Tomokazu Nakamura: The Terms uji氏, kabane姓, and shizoku氏族—Changing Meanings Through Time

The structure known as uji氏in ancient Japan was an element of a political system, not part of written law. And Chinese characters were adopted around the same time as the adoption of the uji system. At the time, there was already difference between the meaning of uji in Japanese and 氏in China, as expressed by the Chinese character. Moreover, the meaning of Chinese characters changed over time, and accordingly Chinese characters in Japan sometimes expressed various meanings. Still later, when Western history was introduced to Japan in the Meiji Era, the concepts of clan and gens were adopted and associated with the character uji, while the term shizoku was used for a group of kin-related people. The purpose of this presentation is to clarify the differences in the meanings of uji, kabana, uji-kabane, and shizoku over time, as discussed in several of my papers published in Japanese. I argue that it is more appropriate to use terms such as family, kin, and affines to mean a group of kin-related people in ancient Japan, as in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki, before the emergence of royal authority.



日本古代の「氏(ウヂ・ウジ)」は政事(マツリゴト)の制度として、成文法ではなく成立した。古代における「氏」成立当時には、近い時期に導入された漢字の字義ともズレを生じていた。だが、中国の古代においても漢字の指し示す内容も変化していたが、そのため日本古代の史料上でも複数の意味を表す場合がある。明治時代に欧米の歴史学を導入し、欧米の歴史学でいうクラン(clan)やゲンス(gens)などの訳語として、主に「氏」が当てられ、血縁親族を「氏族」とした。そのため氏族制や氏族共同体などの概念を採り入れた研究が長らく続いた。現在ではこの議論は「記紀」に見られる「氏」「氏族」とは異なる対象を指しており、王権の成立以前の親族集団を指すには家族(family)や親族(kins and affines)といった概念の方が近いということを認識しておかなければならない。私はこの点を各所で述べているが、この報告でも、まず「氏」「姓」「氏姓」「氏族」の用語の違いがあることを理解していただく事を第一の目的としたい。

Shōhei Doi: Craftsmanship, and the Production and Distribution of Pottery for Mortuary Rituals

This paper examines the production system of pottery specially prepared for mortuary rituals during the Kofun Period by identifying craftsmen that made individual pieces. The approach allows us to consider the possibility that an individual craftsman worked on more than one tomb mound, or that pottery was transferred from one mound to another.

Analyses of the craftsmanship of haniwa ceramic cylinders and figurines, and of pottery generally, are an important aspect of Kofun-period archaeology because the results contribute to our understanding of trade networks and spheres of influence of high-ranking elites. And while analyses of the middle and late Kofun Period (400 A.D. and after) have been done, research into craftsmanship during the early Kofun Period (250-400 A.D.) is insufficient, since material cultures at that time were regionally different. To overcome this problem, I have analyzed pottery specially prepared for mortuary rituals that has been excavated in Gunma Prefecture. For the analysis I have chosen storage jars, because the morphologies are standardized and consequently it is not difficult to observe minute differences in the production sequences and techniques. Besides production sequences and techniques, I have looked into traces of tools used for finishing the surface of the pottery. On this basis, I have discovered that the same production techniques and tools were used for pottery at Tomb No. 2 at the Higashihara B site in Maebashi City and at Tomb SZ42 at the Shimogō site in Tamamura Town. These two places are more than 10 kilometers apart, suggesting that the craftsmen moved from the Higashihara-B site to the Shimogō site. My findings are important because while previous research has shown that groups in the western Gunma region were involved in the construction of the Tomb SZ42 at the Shimogō site, my work suggests that craftsmen from the eastern Gunma region contributed to constructing the tomb, and that a few different groups cooperated in building the tomb.



本研究の目的は遺構出土の土器類にみられる製作工程、製作技法、製作痕跡の分析から同一製作者の製品を想定すること(=同工品分析)によって、遺跡間、特に墳墓間の土器または製作者の移動を分析し、古墳時代の葬送儀礼に関わる供献土器の製作体制を解明することにある。従来、墳墓における埴輪や供献土器類の生産体制の分析は被葬者の影響力や交易範囲を示すため古墳時代の研究の中で重要視されている。しかし、全国的に規格化された前方後円墳の造営が始まる古墳時代中期(A.D.400~)の分析が中心であり、各地域の多様性が残る古墳時代前期(A.D.250~)の生産体制の解明は分析方法・分析事例を含め未だ不十分であると言える。 本発表では、群馬県域内の墳墓出土の供献土器に対して上記の同工品分析を行った。対象資料としては供献土器の中でも規格性を備え、製作工程・製作技術に差異が認められやすい壺形土器類に着目し、①製作工程、②製作技術、③工具痕跡のマッチングを行った。分析の結果、前橋市東原B遺跡2号方形周溝墓出土資料と高崎市玉村町下郷遺跡SZ42出土資料において製作技術、工具痕跡が一致した。この結果から、東原B遺跡第2号方形周溝墓から下郷遺跡SZ42への段階的な造営に際して、直線距離約10㎞以上離れた地点間で製作工人集団または工具の移動が想定された。従来群馬県西部地域の集団とつながりが深いと考えられていた下郷遺跡SZ42の造営に関して、群馬県東部地域からの工人の移動が新たに認められたことで、墳墓の造営に際して複数地域の集団の協力があった可能性を示唆できた。

Ken Sasaki: Adopting the Practice of Horse-riding in Kofun Japan

Update: We are pleased to announce that the Dr. Sasaki’s research on this topic has been published in the Japanese Journal of Archaeology, Volume 6, Number 1, 2018. You can view the full article, Adoption of the Practice of Horse-Riding in Kofun Period Japan: With Special Reference to the Case of the Central Highlands of Japan.


Horses were not native to Japan. Not only did horses have to be imported from the Korean peninsula, but equestrian specialists also had to be invited in order to raise and reproduce horses in Japan. In this paper, the author presents regionally distinctive cases of the introduction of horses to the central highlands of Japan in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. While it is highly likely that the central polity took the initiative to adopt the practice of horse-riding in Japan, the author argues that it was entirely up to local polities to invite equestrian specialists and import horses from the Korean peninsula in the fifth century. Furthermore, the author suggests the possibility that the central polity in the fifth century did not monopolize diplomacy, and that local polities remained autonomous enough to maintain their own diplomatic relationships with local polities in the southern Korean peninsula.

Presentation Handout

Jesse Drian: Distant Travels of Local Gods

In this paper I argue that temple and shrine origin narratives (jisha engi) provided a means to connect gods with multiple spaces, and produced networks of meaning extending the significance of a seemingly local deity beyond a singular spatial identity. While recent research has stressed the combinatory role of the honji-suijaku (original form and local traces) paradigm to characterize the gods of Japan through interconnections, the locality of each deity’s sacred space has remained a marker of uniqueness despite the confounding degree of commonality between certain gods. Focusing on the late medieval narrative Itsukushima no honji (Original Form of Itsukushima) and its relationship with other narratives and rites about the founding of the Itsukushima Shrine, I demonstrate how Itsukushima no honji works as a mediator connecting Itsukushima with both local and translocal spaces. Through the production of such networked spaces, the identity of the gods could go beyond the honji-suijaku paradigm and move closer to devotees in terms of both location and character.



Marie Sakurada: The Empress in Ancient Japan

The tennô of Japan possessed all the authority and privileges of rulership as long as he occupies the throne and regardless of his age, even if an infant. In contrast, what were the authority and privileges of his senior consort, the kôgô? The Chinese canonical work, the Liji (Book of Rites)『礼記』, states that while the emperor is in charge of political affairs, his empress is in charge of family domestic affairs. Previous research in Japan suggests that the tennô’s senior consort was a co-ruler with her ruler-husband, as head of the backpalace. In this paper, I want to clarify the authority and privileges of the kôgô and classify them as political or domestic affairs. To understanding her activities as co-ruler, I have examined sources said to demonstrate that the senior consort exercised her mate’s royal authority, and whether in the seventh century or earlier rulers’ wives exercised their authority as prescribed by the eighth-century system. My conclusion is that wives of rulers up to and during the seventh century sometimes exercised the ruler’s authority: they served as the masters of ceremony when rituals of delayed interment were conducted right after the death of the monarch. In these cases, however, being the master of the ceremony was not limited to rulers’ wives, and so it was not an aspect of their authority. And after the eighth century, the kôgô was never involved in political affairs—she did not possess such authority. To understand the ruler’s senior wife as the head of the backpalace, I have studied the ritsuryō code and the Engishiki『延喜式』。My research shows that it was the tennô who possessed the authority to oversee the female officials in the backpalace, and to select wives other than the senior consort. In other words, the empress did not possess any authority over the backpalace. Therefore, I have concluded that the senior wife of the monarch in the seventh and eighth centuries and beyond did not possess any real authority, contrary to previous assertions.




Dr. Sachiko Kawai: How to Make Premodern Japanese History More Global

Translating historical terms is crucial for the continuous advancement of our field of premodern Japanese studies. Without translating primary and secondary sources, we face significant difficulty in exchanging our research findings on a global scale and nurturing future scholarly generations who could be active internationally. We also know, however, that it is a challenging and painstaking process to translate premodern historical terms into foreign languages. How can we reflect changing historical contexts when searching for a “correct” translation? How can we accommodate different disciplinary interests in present academia? In today’s talk, I would like to tackle these challenges and share possible solutions along with concrete examples. Specifically, I will explore how historical terms related to women’s and gender history could be translated into English, by focusing on the early-medieval Japanese royal family, their marital practices, and the titles given to differentiate gender groups of the premodern court.



Presentation Handout


2019 USC-Meiji University Exchange Schedule

Friday 11/2 

1:00 Greetings and Introductions Professors Piggott & Sasaki

1:15 Dr. Sachiko Kawai, How to Make Premodern Japanese History More Global

1:45 Ms. Marie Sakurada, The Empress in Ancient Japan

Discussion 2:15-2:30


2:45 Mr. Jesse Drian, Distant Travels of Local Gods

3:15 Prof. Atsushi Makino, Women and Buddhism in Medieval Japan

Discussion 3:45-4:00


4:15 Prof. Ken’ichi Sasaki, The Adoption of Horse-riding in Kofun Japan

4:45 Mr. Shôhei Dôi, Craftsmanship, and the Production and Distribution of Pottery for Mortuary Rituals

Discussion 5:15-5:45

Saturday 11/3

1:00 Prof. Nakamura Tomokazu, The Terms Uji, Kabane, and Shizoku—Changing Meanings Through Time

1:30 Mr. Shôdai Satodate, The Koseki System, Diachronic Diffusion and Adoption

Discussion 2:00–2:15


2:30 Prof. Joan Piggott, Reading Ruins—District Offices in the Ritsuryô Realm 

3:00 Ms. Emily Warren, A Guide to Royal Eating in Late Heian Times, the Chûjiruiki

Discussion 3:30-3:45


4:00 Prof. Itô Ujitaka, Japanism and Music, Why Japanese Music Was Not Well Accepted

4:30 Ms. Jillian Barndt, Fujiwara no Yorinaga’s Book List of 1143

Discussion 5:00-5:15

USC-Meiji University Research Exchange 2018
: Japan’s Premodern History and Archaeology

Thursday 2/15   12:00-5:30  Doheny Library G28  (Music Library, Herklotz Room)

Greetings    Prof. Joan Piggott, USC & Prof. Ken’ichi Sasaki, Meiji University


12:30     Prof. Luke Roberts,  “Humanitarian Governance During Times of Disaster in Early Modern Tosa—A Look at the Touring Inspections of the 1780s”   「近世土佐の災害と仁政──天明改革の巡見を中心に」

1:00     Mr. Travis Seifman,  “Performing Ryukyu: Protocols for the Ryukyu Ambassador’s Ceremonial Audience at Edo Castle” 「『琉球』を演じる:琉球使節の江戸城での謁見儀礼」

Lunch Break  ~1:30

2:30     Dr. Rebecca Corbett,  “The Play of Tea” 「お茶の遊び」

3:00     Prof. Shimizu Yûko, “The Faith World of Christians under the Tokugawa Ban” 「伝来文書に見る近世日本潜伏キリシタンの信仰世界」


3:30     Prof. Itô Ujitaka, “From Mononoaware to Kawaii, What Are Commonalities in Elements of Japanese Aesthetics?” 「もののあわれ」から「かわいい」まで—日本の美意識に通底するもの」


4:15     Mr. Onodera Yosuke, “Ceramic Goods and What They Tell Us About Mortuary Rituals of the Early and Middle Kofun Period”「土製模造品からみた古墳時代前〜中期の葬送儀礼」

4:45     Prof. Sachiko Sakai, “Applying Luminescence Dating to Change in the Production of Sue Pottery in Japan” 「ルミネッサンス年代測定法と須恵器製造の変遷」


Friday 2/16 1:00 to 5:30    Doheny Library G28 (Music Library, Herklotz Room)

1:00     Prof. Ken’ichi Sasaki, “Archaeological Excavation at a Seventh-century Keyhole in Southern Hitachi” 「 常陸南部における7世紀前方後円墳の発掘調査」

1:30     Ms. Emily Simpson, “Divinization of Empress Jingû, Reconsidering the Process of Deification in Premodern Japan”「神功皇后の神格化ー神になる過程を考え直す」

2:00     Ms. Sakurada Marie, “The Concept of Kingship in Ancient Japanese History” 「日本古代史研究における「『王権』の意味」



3:00     Prof. Jason Webb, “Aerating Antiquity: A Report on the Secretive Processes of Manuscript Care at the Kyoto Imperial Palace Archives”「京都御所東山御文庫の曝涼行事に関する一考察」

3:30     Mr. Takahashi Noriko, “Sickness and Treatments in Journals of the Regency Era” 「摂関期古記録にみる病気と治療」



4:15     Mr. Seki Kyôhei, “Transformations in Uji in the Tale of Genji” 「源氏物語における宇治の変容」

4:45     Dr. Sachiko Kawai, “Adoption, Landholding, and Military Power—the Cases of Royal Women in Early Medieval Japan” 「中世王家女性の軍事力--養子関係の構築と土地所有の考察を通して」


Jason Webb: Aerating Antiquity: A Report on the Secretive Processes of Manuscript Care at the Kyoto Imperial Palace Archives

Prof. Jason Webb, Comparative Literature, USC.  “Aerating Antiquity: A Report on the Secretive Processes of Manuscript Care at the Kyoto Imperial Palace Archives”「京都御所東山御文庫の曝涼行事に関する一考察」

In November of 2017, through the good offices of Prof. Isao Tajima of the University of Tokyo Historiographical Institute, the presenter was afforded extraordinary access to materials from the Royal Archives of the Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho Higashiyama Gobunko). The visit coincided with the highly ritualized annual event known as bakuryō 曝涼, a method of “airing out” parts of the collection that has been employed for over a millennium for the purposes of document preservation. Every autumn, when the humidity in Kyoto drops to appropriate levels, Imperial Household Agency delegates, Imperial Household Agency Archives scholars, and members of the Kyoto Palace staff combine efforts to execute correctly ancient bakuryō procedures and protocols. At that time a handful of Japanese specialists otherwise unaffiliated with royal authorities are granted limited access to documents that, ultimately, are the property of Japanese sovereign himself. My November 2017 visit marked the first time in Japanese history that a foreigner was allowed to observe the bakuryō being carried out at an Imperial Archive and to participate in the examination of related documents. This presentation will provide a description of the bakuryō process, and, in the course of doing so, offer some introductory remarks about 1) the philological history of the terms bakuryō and bakusho 曝書; 2) the unique features of the Higashiyama Gobunko Royal Archives; and 3) new perspectives and methodologies introduced by the burgeoning field of Japanese Archives Studies.