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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: January 2016

4 - Fudoki gazetteers

from Part I - The ancient period (beginnings to 794)

Summary

In discussions of early Japanese literature the term usually refers to the five "old gazetteers", which are the only substantial survivors of dozens of stable works compiled in response to a central government order in 713. This chapter focuses on the five relatively intact "old fudoki", but it is important to remember that the surviving fragments are essential to understanding the scope and content of the genre; they contain some of the most interesting and oft-cited stories from the fudoki corpus. The fudoki contain much material of local origin, but it is filtered through the outlook of the central elite, either directly because provincial officials from the capital worked as compilers, or indirectly because editors with peripheral origins catered to metropolitan concerns. Only one gazetteer survives in a complete manuscript. The remaining four old fudoki include one that is missing its introduction and at least one district and three abridgements: Hitachi province and two from Kyushu, Bungo and Hizen.

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