Basic Resources for Studying Diplomatics (komonjo 古文書)

Reading komonjo 古文書 (commonly glossed as “old records,” “old documents,” or “diplomatics”) is tough, but eventually, documents like the one shown in the image below become legible. I don’t know of any easy way to do it except to dive right in, and the resources below are good places to start. This bibliography is a work in progress. I’ve provided rough translations of the titles and over time I plan to add comments about them.

sorin komonjo

The image above shows a document written by the warlord Ōtomo Sōrin in the sixteenth century with his signature and monogram. It is part of the Bekki monjo 戸次文書 [Documents of the Bekki] collection, and was originally sent on the fifth day of the eleventh month, probably in Eiroku 永禄 12 (1569), from Sōrin to one of his top lieutenants, Usuki Akihaya 臼杵鑑速, regarding a recent victory over the Mōri forces. Sōrin says he expects forces will need to continue to be stationed in the region for the foreseeable future. Image source: Ōita City website and the Ōita Historical Archives (歴史資料館).

Resources

Aburai Hiroko 油井宏子. Komonjo wa konna ni omoshiroi 古文書はこんなに面白い [I didn’t know diplomatics were this interesting]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2005.

Aburai Hiroko 油井宏子. Edo jidai ga daisuki ni naru komonjo 江戸が大好きになる古文書 [Diplomatics that will make you love the Edo period]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2007.

Aburai Hiroko 油井宏子. Komonjo hajime no ippo 古文書はじめの一歩 [A first step with diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2008.

Aburai Hiroko 油井宏子, ed. Edo jidai & komonjo tora no maki 江戸時代&古文書 虎の巻 [A handbook on the Edo period and diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2009.

Aburai Hiroko 油井宏子. E de manabu komonjo kōza: Hyōryūmin to ikokusen to no deai 絵で学ぶ古文書講座 : 漂流民と異国船との出会い [Studying with images, a course on diplomatics: Interactions with castaways and foreign vessels]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2011.

Akiyama Takashi 秋山高志, ed. Kiso komonjo no kotoba 基礎 古文書のことば [Foundations: Words in diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobo 柏書房, 2001.

Amano Kiyofumi 天野清文, Sanematsu Yukio 実松幸男, and Hayashi Hideo 林英夫, eds. Hajimete no komonjo kyōshitsu はじめての古文書教室 [A first diplomatics classroom]. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan 吉川弘文館, 2005.

Amano Kiyofumi 天野 清文, Miyahara Ichirō 宮原 一郎, Sanematsu Yukio 実松幸男. Suteppu appu komonjo no yomitokikata ステップアップ 古文書の読み解き方 [Step-up: methods of reading diplomatics]. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan 吉川弘文館, 2006.

Arai Atsushi 新井敦史. Bushi to daimyō no komonjo nyūmon 武士と大名の古文書入門 [Introduction to the diplomatics of warriors and lords]. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan 吉川弘文館, 2009.

Arai Eiji 荒居英次, et al., eds. Komonjo yōgo jiten 古文書用語辞典 [A dictionary of diplomatics terminology]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 1983.

Fujimoto Atsushi 藤本篤. Komonjo nyūmon: handoku kara kaidoku he 古文書入門―判読から解読へ [Introduction to diplomatics: From interpretation to reading]. Tokyo: Chūō Kōronshinsha 中央公論新社, 1999.

Fujita Satoru 藤田覚. Shiryō wo yomitoku 3: Kinsei no seiji to gaikō 史料を読み解く3:近世の政治と外交 [Reading historical documents 3: Early modern politics and diplomacy]. Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha 山川出版社, 2008.

Hayashi Hideo 林英夫, ed. Kiso komonjo no yomikata 基礎古文書のよみかた [Foundations: Reading diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 1998.

Hayashi Hideo 林英夫, ed. Osarai komonjo no kiso: bunrei to goi おさらい古文書の基礎: 文例と語彙 [Review foundations of diplomatics: Sentence examples and vocabulary]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2002.

Hayashi Hideo 林英夫, ed. Onkunbiki komonjo jiten 音訓引き古文書字典 [On, kun reading diplomatics dictionary]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2004.

Hayashi Hideo 林英夫, ed. Hisshū kinsei komonjo enshū 必修近世古文書演習 [Essentials, kinsei diplomatics practice]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2005.

Hayashi Hideo 林英夫. Nyūmon komonjo shōjiten 入門 古文書小字典 [Introduction: An abbreviated character dictionary of diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2005.

Ishii Susumu 石井進. Chūsei wo yomitoku: Komonjo nyūmon 中世を読み解く:古文書入門 [Reading the medieval period: An introduction to diplomatics]. Tokyo: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai 東京大学出版会, 1990.

Kanno Shunsuke 菅野俊輔. Kaite oboeru Edo no kuzushiji iroha nyūmon 書いておぼえる江戸のくずし字いろは入門 [Write and remember Edo cursive characters, iroha introduction]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2006.

Kashiwa Shobō Henshūbu 柏書房編集部, ed. Komonjo kuzushiji 200 sen: Oboete okitai 古文書くずし字200選 : 覚えておきたい [Cursive characters in diplomatics, 200 selected: For memorization]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2001.

Kitahara Susumu 北原進. Dokushū Edo jidai no komonjo 独習:江戸時代の古文書 [Self-study: Edo period diplomatics]. Tokyo: Yūzankaku 雄山閣, 2002.

Kitajima Masamoto 北島正元 and Higuchi Masanori 樋口政則, eds. Jitsurei komonjo handoku nyūmon 実例古文書判読入門 [Introduction to the interpretation of diplomatics with examples]. Tokyo: Meicho Shuppan 名著出版, 1982.

Kodama Kōta 児玉幸多. Kuzushiji yōrei jiten くずし字用例辞典 [Dictionary of cursive characters with examples]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan 東京堂出版, 1981.

Kodama Kōta 児玉幸多, ed. Kuzushiji kaidoku jiten くずし字解読辞典 [Dictionary for reading cursive characters]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan 東京堂出版, 1999.

Kodama Kōta 児玉幸多. Kuzushiji kaidoku yōrei jiten: CD-ROMくずし字解読用例辞典 : CD-ROM版 [Dictionary for reading cursive characters with examples: CD-ROM]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 2007.

Kurushima Noriko 久留島典子, Gomi Fumihiko 五味文彦, Endō Tamaki 遠藤珠紀, eds. Shiryō wo yomitoku 1: Chūsei monjo no nagare 史料を読み解く1 中世文書の流れ [Reading historical documents 1: Historical development of medieval documents]. Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha 山川出版社, 2006.

Masuda Takashi 増田孝. Komonjo, tegami no yomikata 古文書・手紙の読み方 [Reading diplomatics and letters]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan 東京堂出版, 2007.

Morishita Tōru 森下徹 and Yoshida Nobuyuki 吉田伸之, eds. Shiryō wo yomitoku: Kinsei no mura to machi 史料を読み解く2 近世の村と町 [Reading historical documents 2: Early modern villages and urban districts]. Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha 山川出版社, 2006.

Negishi Shigeo 根岸茂夫, Satō Takayuki 佐藤孝之, Yasuike Hiroyuki 安池尋幸, eds. Shinpen komonjo kaidoku jiten 新編 古文書解読字典 [New edition dictionary for reading diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 1993.

Nihon Rekishi Gakkai 日本歴史学会, ed. Enshū komonjosen 演習古文書選 [Practice on selected diplomatics]. 8 vols. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan 吉川弘文館, 1976.

Ōishi Manabu 大石学, ed. Komonjo kaidoku jiten 古文書解読事典 [Dictionary for reading diplomatics]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan 東京堂出版, 2000.

Satō Shin’ichi 佐藤進一. Komonjogaku nyūmon 古文書学入門 [Introduction to diplomatics]. Tokyo: Hōsei Daigaku Shuppankyoku 法政大学出版局, 2003.

Suzuki Jun 鈴木淳, Nishikawa Makoto 西川誠, and Matsuzawa Yūsaku 松沢裕作, eds. Shiryō wo yomitoku: Bakumatsu ishin no seiji to shakai 史料を読み解く4: 幕末・維新の政治と社会 [Reading historical documents 4: Bakumatsu and restoration politics and society]. Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha 山川出版社, 2009.

Takao Yoshiki 高尾善希. Yasashii komonjo no yomikata やさしい古文書の読み方 [Easy methods for reading diplomatics]. Tokyo: Nihon Jitsugyō Shuppansha 日本実業出版社, 2011.

Tōkyō Daigaku Shiryō Henshanjo 東京大学史料編纂所, ed. “Denshi kuzushiji jiten de-tabe-su” 電子くずし字字典データベース [Digital cursive character dictionary]. http://wwwap.hi.u-tokyo.ac.jp/ships/shipscontroller

Tōkyō Tegami no Kai 東京手紙の会, ed. Kuzushiji jiten くずし字辞典 [Dictionary of cursive characters]. Tokyo: Shibunkaku Shuppan 思文閣出版, 2000.

Tsugunaga Yoshiteru 嗣永芳照, ed. Komonjo nyūmon kōza 古文書入門講座 [Introductory course on diplomatics]. Tokyo: Shinjinbutsu Ōraisha 新人物往来社, 1992.

Wakao Shunpei 若尾俊平, Asami Megumi 浅見惠, and Nishiguchi Masako 西口雅子, eds. Zōtei kinsei komonjo kaidoku jiten 増訂 近世古文書解読字典 [Revised and enlarged character dictionary for reading early modern diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 1972.

Yamada Shōji 山田奨治, Shibayama Mamoru 柴山守, and Kodama Kōta 児玉幸多, eds. Kuzushiji kaidoku yōrei jiten: CD-ROMくずし字解読用例辞典 : CD-ROM版 [Dictionary of cursive characters with examples: CD-ROM]. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 2007.

Yoshida Yutaka 吉田豊, ed. Terakoyashiki zoku komonjo tenarai 寺子屋式 続古文書手習い [Temple school style: A sequel to learning diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2005.

Yoshida Yutaka 吉田豊. Komonjo wo hajimerumae no junbi kōza 古文書をはじめる前の準備講座 [A preparatory course before beginning diplomatics]. Tokyo: Kashiwa Shobō 柏書房, 2008.