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Time in Japan: Era Names, Regnal Years, and Imperial Years
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Much more typical than the above book (I hope!) are the mistakes in J. Edward Kidder's Himiko and Japan's elusive chiefdom of Yamatai, U of Hawaii Press, 2007.
http://books.google.co.jp/books/about/Himiko_and_Japan_s_elusive_chiefdom_of_Y.html?id=7pEOicqsjv0C&redir_esc=y
Nagaeyari mentioned it to me some time ago. I think I will try to get hold of it and read it, but for here, it seems he doesn't really understand the cycle, which seems a blind spot for a scholar of early Japan.

But first some strange statements about the Shoki
p. 187 [Jingû] was given no sexagenary date for the start of her "reign" as she was not regarded as officially installed.

However, the Shoki says for the last entry in 201 AD, "This year, kanoto-mi, was the first year (gannen) of her regency."
《神功皇后摂政元年(辛巳二〇一)十月甲子(二)》冬十月癸亥朔甲子。群臣尊皇后曰皇太后。是年也、太歳辛巳。則為摂政元年。 (the date summary in brackets at the head it that of the modern editor). There are similar statements for other early emperors.

p. 4--the Nhon shoki has [Emperor Sujin] living to 120, a later note saying he had died in the Year of the Tiger. His internment may have occurred in AD 258. Fortunately or otherwise, a later editor felt that events had floated in time long enough and his research had uncovered a reference point in the sexagenary cyclical calendar. The Year of the Tiger, the fifteenth of the cycle, could be… but either 258 or 318… I have accepted 258, as more Japanese are now doing.

What is he talking about? Does anyone (=Nagaeyari?) know? The Shoki says Sujin died in the 68th year of his regin, clearly a kanoto-u 辛卯 (rabbit) year, no. 28, and was buried the next year which was mizunoe-tatu壬辰. There is no 15th year of the cycle (tuchinoe-tora戊寅) in sight. In fact, the first 戊寅 year mentioned in the Shoki is 498.(See also the dates he calculates for Sujin's reign on p. 189, 265-273 AD).
Furthermore, the statement that "events had floated in time long enough" is strange, as the cyclic year is given at the last entry of the gannen for virtually all the early emperors.
崇神天皇六八年(辛卯前三〇)十二月壬子(五)》天皇践祚六十八年冬十二月戊申朔壬子、崩。時年百二十歳。明年秋八月甲辰朔甲寅。葬于山辺道上陵。
《垂仁天皇元年(壬辰前二九)十一月癸酉(二)》十一月壬申朔癸酉。尊皇后曰皇太后。是年也、太歳壬辰。
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
p. 4--the Nhon shoki has [Emperor Sujin] living to 120, a later note saying he had died in the Year of the Tiger. His internment may have occurred in AD 258. Fortunately or otherwise, a later editor felt that events had floated in time long enough and his research had uncovered a reference point in the sexagenary cyclical calendar. The Year of the Tiger, the fifteenth of the cycle, could be… but either 258 or 318… I have accepted 258, as more Japanese are now doing.

What is he talking about? Does anyone (=Nagaeyari?) know? The Shoki says Sujin died in the 68th year of his regin, clearly a kanoto-u 辛卯 (rabbit) year, no. 28, and was buried the next year which was mizunoe-tatu壬辰. There is no 15th year of the cycle (tuchinoe-tora戊寅) in sight.


The issue here is based on the fact that there are two sets of early reigns, one being the 'traditional' ones in the Nihongi and another set based on other information (probably the Kojiki, but I don't have time to check). Here's a chart from Monumenta Nipponica that compares them.

If you look at the years for Sujin, it shows that if using the Nihon Shoki years his reign ended in 30 BC, which is indeed a kanoto-u 辛卯 (rabbit) year. Using the other set, you see it ended in 258 AD which is the Year of the Tiger. Yep, the two show an almost 300 year difference in reign times-it seems they were trying to adjust for the ridiculously long lifespans of the early Emperors in the Nihongi.

The biggest problem is that Kidder seems to have confused the Nihongi and Kojiki. The entry that places Sujin's death in the year of the Tiger is attributed to the Kojiki, not the Nihongi as he implies. 258 seems to be the general consensus, although a quick look at Google shows a few entries that call 258 'year 8' of Sujin's reign and use the 318 date for his death.

EDIT: HERE'S an article that pretty much agrees with my points and also points to the Kojiki as the source for the second set of years. The writer prefers 318 for Sujin's death. Gina Barnes has addressed the same issue elsewhere as well.

HERE'S an article on a Shrine that puts Sujin in the 1st century-4 AD/year 7 to be exact, which would make his death year neither Rabbit or Tiger. Elsewhere on the web they use year 8/258 and 318 for the death year (as I mentioned above, Tiger).
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you for all the information. I really know nothing about the early period. There is a saying:" if you want to learn, teach," and that seems to be true.

It seems that Sujin Year 8 = 258 combines the Kojiki possible death date of 318 with the Shoki reign length of 68 years. But it seems that the death of Sujin is the first date in the notes to the Kojiki and there are not many early ones, so scholars must be getting some dates from elsewhere.

I wonder how the Isonokami shrine tradition states the year of its founding--as kinoe-ne or as Sujin 7 or both or what. Maybe it is direct tradition, whether right or wrong, not based on Shoki or Kojiki.

Going back to an earlier question of mine, I found a quotation on Wikipedia that says the short, posthumous names for emperors come from the reign of Emperor Kammu (782-805).

Looking at the link you gave to the table of emperors, I was struck again how careful we have to be to define "accession year" in discussions-- "gannen" or year of predecessor's death (though not always, as Nintoku). The same table, even the same column, uses two different definitions.

Kidder doesn't seem to be well organized, using the dates from the Shinpukuji 真福寺 manuscript of the Kojiki (see Ellwood on p. 209) on p. 4, but completely ignoring those in his discussion on p. 189, and in particularly in his chart 9 on p. 188. I had thought he might have gotten "Year of the Tiger" from the Kojiki, but my downloaded version is based on the standard Meiji 44 text and has no cyclical dates at all. I should find a better text. Ellwood says scholars think that those cyclical dates are probably better than the Shoki's cyclical dates. I wonder what the arguments are.

Back to Kidder's treatment of cyclical dates.

In Table 9 on p. 188 the names of most cyclical years match the accession dates, but there problems with the dates for Richû and Jingû.
Also, the cyclic year calculations on p. 189 are all 1 year off. Here and in some other places in the book he made the classic mistake of adding the year number to the "1" start year, not to the "0" start year.

But the real problems show up at the beginning of Ch. 10

p. 187 The early writers gave Himiko's dates to Jingû….. The next step in looking for dates would have been to borrow from [Korean history], but this possibility was precluded by the early-seventh-century adoption of the sexagenary calendar, a system that can be projected back in time indefinitely.
Selective culling of information from Chinese and Japanese sources will, however, bring out some workable dates within an acceptable time range. Efforts to make chronological adjustments started in the late nineteenth century. Called the shin-i (literally, "prediction latitude") [讖緯] system, it was based on the belief that every major sixty-year cycle witnessed significant changes. These should occur at the beginning of the cycle, the shin-yuu (kanoto-tori) year, which, in this case, was calculated to be 601 (600 is the 0 year). There is, however, a traditional view that 604 was the initiatory year for the cycle. Aston calculated his notations from this year. If the Nihon shoki is correct, the Korean priest Kwal-leuk (J: Kanroku) came in 602 with all of his calendar-making, astrology, and other books and should have been instrumental in starting the method within a year or two. Nothing of the sort is referred to for these years. Kwal-leuk was useful, however. He was appointed high priest in 623.

…………

Kidder then takes as a working hypothesis that the Shoki cyclic dates for the enthronement of the emperors are correct, but the lengths 60 and over are 1 cycle too many, and comes up with Sujin enthroned in 265 AD [should be 264].

also p. 7
A common view is that the Nihon shoki followed the Chinese thesis of full revolutionary change running the course of 1,320 years, which can be shown to be the case by coordinating the zodiacal years with Emperor Tenji's reign, honoring Tenji who received the manuscripts only after fast deliverance from the 645 fire. If he took sole authority in 661… the full cycle would start with 569/660 BC, the time calculated for the first emperor Jimmu's reign.


Q These passages seem to indicate some fundamental misunderstandings of the cycle, one even colossal. Does anyone see them?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
It seems that Sujin Year 8 = 258 combines the Kojiki possible death date of 318 with the Shoki reign length of 68 years. But it seems that the death of Sujin is the first date in the notes to the Kojiki and there are not many early ones, so scholars must be getting some dates from elsewhere.


For pre-Sujin, this chart simply assumes all of the previous Emperors to have reigned on average for 30 years (since no one is willing to accept the over-100 year lifespans of many early Emperors). I've seen other authors use an average of 10 and adjust accordingly, and the chart would further be altered if one took the approach that Sujin died in 318 (or 378, or 199, or...). Many of the ones after Sujin (and Sujin themselves) have their reign length adjusted to generally fit the 30 years too.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q These passages seem to indicate some fundamental misunderstandings of the cycle, one even colossal. Does anyone see them?


For starters, the cycle was introduced and being used in Japan before 604. 604 was when the Chinese calendar was supposed to be introduced, but the cycle was used in the 5th century (based on the Sumida mirror inscription). The cycle isn't strictly zodiacal either, since only the branches are based on these, not the stems. And kanoto-tori isn't the first year of the cycle-it's the 58th. Using the 601 date, that is a kanoto-tori year, but it's still not the first year of the cycle-that would come in 604 (kinoe ne).

Bethetsu wrote:
If he took sole authority in 661… the full cycle would start with 569/660 BC, the time calculated for the first emperor Jimmu's reign.


Should 569 be 659?

At any rate, he seems to be making the cycle 'flexible' and thinking the first year can be moved between 601-604-we know that 661 wasn't the first (kinoe ne) year of the cycle and neither was the start of Jimmu's historical reign.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Should 569 be 659?
Yes, that was my mistake.

He seems to have read material about the cyclic years of the Shoki but misunderstood it, or read terrible sources.

Quote:
For starters, the cycle was introduced and being used in Japan before 604. 604 was when the Chinese calendar was supposed to be introduced, but the cycle was used in the 5th century (based on the Sumida mirror inscription).

Yes, and there is also the sword probably from 471, which he even mentions. But even worse, if he thinks the cycle was introduced in the 7th century, how can he consider the hypothesis that the correct cyclical dates of enthronements were preserved over several centuries? What form were the dates of enthronement preserved in if he rejects both cyclical dates and reign lengths? (Of course, since the cycle did exist earlier, I don't mind if he tries out his hypothesis.)
Quote:
And kanoto-tori isn't the first year of the cycle-it's the 58th.
Yes, it has been the 58th since Shang times. And he, probably without realizing it, accepts it on pp. 4-5 when he says the "Year of the Tiger, the 15th of the cycle," and the first Year of the Horse (kinoe-uma) is no. 31 and 394. But in some footnote (the context is unavailable) he writes "Aston calls the tsuchinoto-hitsuji [己未] year the 56th year of the cycle; it was the 59th." When he found he disagreed with Aston, who has been a standard for over 100 years, he should have read up on the subject more first.

Quote:
At any rate, he seems to be making the cycle 'flexible' and thinking the first year can be moved between 601-604-we know that 661 wasn't the first (kinoe ne) year of the cycle and neither was the start of Jimmu's historical reign.
What I call his colossal error is that he does not seem to realize the nature of cyclic years. He seems to think they are some minor method thought up by shin-i practitioners and that matching absolute years to cyclic years could in theory have been dependent on Kwal-leuk based on when he started the method; or maybe the Shoki editors coordinated them to honor Tenji; also Aston calculated the dates in accordance with his scholarly opinion of when the cycle started. Kidder does not seem to realize that these were the ordinary way of dating years, and that 604 was fixed as a kinoe-ne year and 661 (Seimei 7 in the Shoki) was fixed as a kanoto-tori year over 2000 years ago. Perhaps scholars need my class after all.Very Happy

By the way while kinoe-ne was important from ancient times and Shotoku presented his constitution in a kinoe-ne year and Tenji announced the Taika reforms on a New Year's day that was also a kinoe-ne day, the only important kanoto-tori date I found in the Shoki was Jinmu's enthronement year. Perhaps for the Shoki editors the importance of kanoto-tori was the newest information from China.
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Perhaps scholars need my class after all.Very Happy


Well, at least one of them recognizes its usefulness-in Constantine Vaporis's "Voices of Early Modern Japan" he lists your SA Wiki entry for year dates as a reference for 'Further Information' in his chapter on the lunar calendar.

The SA also gets a mention in his Bibliography...although he gets the address wrong, instead using Tony's Sengoku Daimyo site address (which he mentions earlier). Derp!
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Well, at least one of them recognizes its usefulness-in Constantine Vaporis's "Voices of Early Modern Japan" he lists your SA Wiki entry for year dates as a reference for 'Further Information' in his chapter on the lunar calendar.


Whoa. Awesome.
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As far as I know, this is the first time something I have written has been cited, and even positively. Very Happy But the article does need some revision; I have learned some things in the past six years. This will give me an impetus to do it. (Also thanks to you two for fixing my misspelling! Wink)

I am glad that he likes the SA well enough to look at the wiki.
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