Friday 12/6/2013, 11:50-12:30 PM, Waite Phillips Hall 104*
Issuing, Receiving, and Organizing Documents on Paper and Wood in Classical Japan
Prof. KATO Tomoyasu, Meiji University
In classical Japan the ritsuryô codal system was adopted as the mode of government. All the functions of the state were based on it. And in accord with the ritsuryô code, all orders and directives were transmitted through written documents. In this process that may be referred to as the “ritsuryo documentation system,” large quantities of documents on paper or inscribed on wooden tablets (mokkan) were created. In order to understand the nature of the state during the Nara and Heian periods, it is essential to examine how this system to transmit, organize, and manage a large amount of information was maintained. My presentation deals with: 1) the information processing system mandated by the Kushikiryô, a section of the administrative code (ryô) that regulated documents on paper, and the nature of those documents; 2) the processing of information on wooden tablets; and 3) perspectives to be considered in interpreting documents as historical sources, with special reference to the Tôdaiji Tônan‘in archives, a large collection of documents organized in the late Heian Period.