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Nihongi

Nihongi or Nihonshoki (Jap.). Chronicle of Japan, the first of the six histories (rikkokushi). In 681 the emperor Temmu appointed Prince Kawashima, his nephew, and eleven men to compile an official version of the imperial genealogy and ancient records, and it is commonly believed that this was the initial stage of the making of the Nihongi. The work, written in Chinese, was compiled in 720.

The Nihongi seems to have been written in response to the need for an official chronicle equal to the Chinese historical records. The Chinese view of the sage king became a model for instituting the Japanese monarchic system with a major modification. The Japanese monarchic system was based on the continuance of the imperial lineage, which excluded the Chinese view of changing rulership by means of revolution. The unbroken imperial lineage was extended far into the mythological age by historicizing myth.

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Nihongi

Nihongi

The Nihongi, or Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan), is one of the earliest and most important sources of Japanese mythology. Along with the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), it provides most of the myths and legends from the early periods of Japanese history up to the death of Empress Jitô in a.d. 697.

Written in Chinese and strongly influenced by both Chinese and Korean mythological traditions, the Nihongi was completed by Prince Toneri in a.d. 720. Based on the work of a number of earlier scholars, it provides much useful information about ancient Japan.

genealogy record of a person's ancestry

imperial relating to an emperor or empire

Both the Nihongi and the Kojiki contain stories that trace the genealogy of the Japanese imperial family back to the creation of the world and to the sun goddess Amaterasu, said to be the divine ancestor of Japanese emperors. Besides linking the imperial family to divine authority, these myths also served to strengthen the authority of the Japanese ruling class. See ateo AMATERASU; JAPANESE MYTHOLOGY; KOJIKI..

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