Taihei-ki-engi is a popular version of Taihei-ki by Okajima-Kanzan, who reworked the first to ninth volumes of the original work into a war narrative of thirty chapters. In the preface to the reprinted edition Moriyama-Sukehiro describes the author’s displeasure with the low estimation of his career as a Chinese language scholar while comparing him to Luo Guanzhong, a Chinese writer who was known for his vernacular historical novels. Indeed, just to display his profound knowledge of Chinese literature, Kanzan composed the text after the encyclopedic fashion of Sankō-taihei-ki. Faithfully following the form of Chinese historical fiction, the author even appended notes to each chapter although they were unnecessary to most Japanese readers. An emphasis on the sorrow and resentment of the unfortunate characters may reflect his sense of being unduly underestimated. Thus Kanzan tried to assert himself as an authentic man of letters by means of writing the first Japanese vernacular historical novel in the style of Luo Guanzhong.
Although Tsuga-Teishō was once regarded as the author of Kakine-gusa, an encyclopedic novel in the mid-Edo Period, now it is generally believed that he didn’t write it. Several pieces of textual evidence, however, point to a high possibility that he did. First Kakine-gusa is quite similar in vocabulary and style to Teishō’s other works. Then he was versed in Chinese literature on which the novel was modeled. Indeed, as I will demonstrate here, the third, fifth, and tenth chapters are based on Senshitsu-shi, Sangoku-shi-engi, Gochō-shōsetsu, and other Chinese writings. In addition, the method of adaptation is strongly reminiscent of Teishō’s one. Finally his literary outlook can be identified not only in content but also in the book’s format and the way of publishing.
In this paper, I use a study of Momijizuka, a work of popular fiction in the chūhon format by the author Tamenaga-Shunsui, to examine the reprinting and reuse of old works by publishers in the last decades of the Edo Period. Momijizuka exists in two editions: an initial edition, published in 1827 in the small chūhon format, and a later edition, printed in the larger hanshibon format from newly carved woodblocks and published under the title of Takao-gaiden. Observing that Takao-gaiden was produced independently by its publisher without input from Shunsui, I ask why this work in particular was selected for reprinting. I then examine Shunsui’s use of influences from earlier works in composing Momijizuka. Based on these influences, I argue that the publisher recognized that this work would still be appealing to readers amid the publishing trends of the 1840s.
Shunurō-shi-shō (1854) is a collection of poems by Fujimori-Kōan, a Confucian scholar of the late Edo Period. Several editions of the collection are imperfect because they were partly deleted by censors. Those editions can be classified into two types; the completely censored editions and the approximately reinstated ones which were revised in the early Meiji Period. Censorship of this poetry collection had been conducted under the guidance of the Shōheizaka Academic Institute until around 1857. Shunurō-shi-shō was checked by this agency because in some poems the author used unacceptable words and phrases related to the foreign powers which then threatened to overthrow the status quo. But as the standards of censorship were very arbitrary, the real aim of the authorities must have been not only to suppress his poems but also to degrade Kōan himself who gained reputation as an imperial loyalist. In other words, they censored his literary work as a way to prevent his political influence from becoming greater through it.