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.