Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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    Oldest surviving book on Japan written in 712[UPDATED: 7-6-2017]

    The Kojiki, the Record of Ancient Things, compiled by Ono Yasumaru, was completed in 712 after the death of Emperor Temmu, Japan 40th emperor, who commissioned the book. The emperor is mentioned in the book’s preface.

    The Kojiki contains accounts of Japanese history including its origin and mythology that were probably considered ancient even at the time of the book’s compilation, as well as more than one hundred songs, Japan’s earliest recorded.

    The Kojiki is often studied and referenced in parallel with the Nihon Shoki, The Chronicles of Japan, completed 8 years later.

    According to Donald L. Philippi’s introduction to his 1968 translation of the Kojiki, only 32 copies of all or parts of the book still exist. The earliest of which, the Shimpuku-Ji manuscript, was produced between 1371-72. However, older copies of Nihon Shoki from the Heian Period (794-1185) exit.
    Oldest surviving book on Japan written in 712 Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japanese libraries still major book buyers[UPDATED: 6-24-2017]

    Despite falling budgets as in most countries, Japanese libraries are still major book buyers, but their purchasing now represents less than 2% of publisher sales. Nevertheless, libraries have been cleverly expanding their lending schemes using the Internet to highlight book availability and increase book borrowing rates. They have been criticized by authors and publishers for being too focused on bestselling and high profile titles and not collection management. Japanese public libraries are visited around 300 million times each year and 715 million books are lent out. The lending ratio is 5.8 books per visitor which compares to 5.7 books bought per annum by book buyers in Japan. The first public library in Japan was founded in 1872 and the Japan Library Association was established in 1892. Every Japanese city with a population of more than 50,000 has a public library. There are more than 3,000 public libraries across Japan.
    Japanese libraries still major book buyers Posted by Koji Chikatani
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    Japan’s oldest book is a religious text[UPDATED: 6-12-2017]

    Japan’s oldest book is a religious Buddhist text called the Hokekyo gisho, the authorship of which is generally attributed to Shotoku Taishi (574-622) in 615. It is a commentary, that stresses the importance of faith, on the Lotus sutra from the Asuka Period (538-710), a period when Buddhism first arrived in Japan from Korea and China. It is owned by the Imperial Family and is sometime also cited as Japanese oldest calligraphy.
    Japan’s oldest book is a religious text Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japan’s oldest novel and perhaps even the world’s oldest is The Tale of Genji[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    The Tale of Genji written by Murasaki Shikibu, in 1010, during Japan’s Heian Period (794-1185) is said to be Japan’s oldest novel and perhaps even the world’s oldest novel, if a novel is defined as prose narrative of significant length. Fragments from the original scroll it was written on have survived and are preserved at two Japanese museums. However, there were also many poets and writers during this period and earlier including many notable women who wrote autobiographical narratives in diaries, memoirs and poetic writings and essays such as the Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon.
    Japan’s oldest novel and perhaps even the world’s oldest is The Tale of Genji Posted by Richard Nathan