|Eleven versions of the Analects and other works donated by Mr Hiroshi Yasuda|
|HASHIMOTO Hidemi ★|
Recently the Institute of Oriental Culture received a donation of eleven rare Chinese literary works from the collection of Zenjiro Yasuda, including a number of Shohei era (1346-1370) editions of the Analects of Confucius. I would like in this short report to introduce the eleven items briefly and explain their significance.
1. Analects, Shohei era edition with one colophon, earlier printed version
2. Analects, Shohei era edition with one colophon later printed version
3. Analects, Shohei era edition with double colophon (not volumes nine and ten)
4. Analects, Meio era edition
5. Analects, Shohei era facsimile edition (fukkokubon) by Ichino Meian (1765-1826) with one colophon
6. Analects, Shohei era facsimile edition (fukkokubon) by Ichino Meian (1765-1826) with one colophon
7. Analects, Yohoji edition
8. Analects, Keicho era (1596-1615) edition, movable type.
9. Analects with kana commentary
10. Foguo Yuanwu Zhenjue Chanshi Xinyao
11. Yilijing zhuan tongjie, Vol. 17
Let us now examine the books more closely, starting with the six examples of the Shohei edition of the Analects. The Shohei edition is regarded as being very important as it preserves the oldest printed form of the Analects. Qing collectors also prized it as the “Korean” edition. A reprint using blocks written and carved in Japan (honkokubon) was published in the Guyi congshu (Collection of lost ancient works, 1882-1884), Chinese texts collected in Japan by the Chinese Minister Li Shuchang (1837-1898) and Yang Shoujing (1839-1915). This edition of the Analects was also selected for publication in the series of photographic reproductions of classical Chinese works called the Sibu congkan (Collected publications from the four categories, Commercial Press, Shanghai, ca 1920-1930), which has been the most influential work of its kind in modern times. Thus the Shohei edition of the Analects has been highly regarded not only in Japan but in China as well as the most important of the printed editions of that work. It is important in Japan too in terms of intellectual history and the cultural history of printing as the earliest of the Confucian classics to be printed. Moreover, it is the most famous of the old printed Japanese books and it is by far the greatest in value.
However, there were many printings made and their connections were later little understood. Further, a great many editions of the Analects were published in the Edo period and later. In the modern period, research became much easier as comparative studies of old printed books began to be undertaken in a number of libraries and archives around the country, and the study of the Shohei edition also made great progress. Finally it was Kazuma Kawase who solved the problem of the how the numerous versions of the Shohei edition related to one another.
There are three basic types of the Shohei edition of the Analects: one with two colophons, those with one colophon, and those with none. It was early realised that the version with no colophon had been made from the same woodblock as that with one colophon; the colophon had simply been erased. The problem was the chronological relationship between the version with two colophons and that with just one, for they were completely different both in terms of size and character shape. Which was made first? Which was the honkokubon reprint? The single-colophon version contains in places revisions of some characters in the double-colophon version, while the double-colophon version has simple errors in character shape not found in the single-colophon version. In the face of such contradictions, it was not easy to determine which came first. Kawase studied the extant versions of the Shohei edition to the greatest extent possible and discovered the existence of another type of the double-colophon version, different from is generally called by that name. This new discovery he showed to be the real Shohei edition, while the other double-colophon versions were, like the single-colophon versions, no more than honkokubon. This hypothesis has been accepted as the established theory down to the present, and is unlikely to be revised unless some hitherto unknown version is found.
The real Shohei edition that Kawase discovered is in the collection of the Osaka City Library. He also verified that this library possesses part of the same version that is held by the Imperial Household Agency. And it was Zenjiro Yasuda who greatly supported this research of Kawase’s when he was a young scholar, both in terms of general assistance and by giving him free access to the valuable works he had collected in his own library. Kawase himself expressed his deep gratitude to Yasuda as his benefactor in what was one of his most important works, the afore-mentioned Nihon shoshigaku no kenkyu.
Kawase initially collected together his research into the Shohei edition of the Analects in an article called “Shoheibon Rongo ko” published in the journal Shibun (13:9, 1931). This was later revised and included in Nihon shoshigaku no kenkyu. The works studied in this chapter include the six versions of the Analects (those of the Shohei edition, as well the later honkokubon editions) that were in the Yasuda Collection and which were among the items donated to the Institute of Oriental Culture by Hiroshi Yasuda. These precious works and the support of Zenjiro Yasuda were what enabled Kawase to solve once and for all the various problems surrounding the various versions of the Shohei printings of the Analects. Thus the significance of their donation to the Institute is all the greater.
I would finally like to comment briefly also about another of the works donated, the Yilijing zhuan tongjie. On the cover four characters are written in black ink, “Zhong yong zhang gou”. These are no more than a phrase that happens to correspond to the Zhongyong (the Doctrine of the Mean) that appears in the seventeenth volume. This work was one of thirty Song and Yuan works donated by Ichihashi Nagaaki to the Bakufu Academy and it contains an inscription (shikigo) by Ichihashi as well as the ownership stamp of the Academy. Since the inscription was penned by Ichino Meian, who had prepared the new edition (honkokubon) of the Shohei Analects, this work too is closely associated with the latter collection. The other twenty-nine precious works donated by Ichihashi are, as we have seen, now in the National Archives and other libraries. The Institute library owns the complete Song edition of the Yilijing zhuan tongjie; a comparison of the volume from the Yasuda collection shows that though they were not part of the same edition, they were one in line length and general style. The donation of the present volume is also significant in view of the historical ties that connect the old Bakufu Academy and the present university of Tokyo.
The Institute of Oriental Culture is a public facility which has a large number of works in its collection important for the study of printing and publishing, and as such strives to preserve these valuable works while at the same time allowing scholars to study them. The works donated from the Yasuda collection have thus found a fine home. It would have been Zenjiro Yasuda’s wish that they will continue to benefit scholarship, to the extent that the anomaly between the needs of preservation and the hands-on needs of the scholar can be solved.
former Associate Professor, Institute of Oriental Culture