Digitized Scrolls from the Japanese Manuscript Collection, 1158-1591
The Japanese Manuscript Digital Collection is comprised of a set of twenty-two medieval legal manuscripts and annotated facsimiles in scroll form called komonjo. Komonjo—literally "old documents"—are remnants of day-to-day legal transactions. These documents frequently focus on land and property issues, though they can also represent edicts and judicial rulings. Part of a large donation presented to the Harvard Law Library in 1936, around the time of the University’s 300th anniversary, these komonjo represent one of the finest collections of their type outside Japan.
Hosaka Junji (1875-1963), an affluent collector and land owner who was a member of the House of Peers in the pre-war Imperial Diet, donated these komonjo to the Harvard Law School Library through the influence of Takano Tatsuyuki (1876-1947), a composer and teacher of music at the Tokyo Music Academy. In 1936, Takano had these manuscripts mounted on scrolls and copied, adding annotations in red to the facsimile copies.
Spanning a nearly 450 year period, from 1150 to 1591, these documents provide a rare window into legal transactions in the Heian (794–1185), Kamakura (1185–1333), Moromachi (1333–1568), and Momoyama (1568–1600) periods.
For further information about the scrolls and their importance to the study of Japanese legal history, see the essay "Laws of the Land in Medieval Japan: Komonjo at Harvard University," linked here by permission of its author Professor Mikael S. Adolphson. This essay comes from a larger work Treasures of the Yenching: seventy-fifth anniversary of the Harvard-Yenching Library, published in 2003.
To view the individual scrolls that make up this remarkable collection click on the links to their HOLLIS records listed below.
MSS Japanese Collection, Scroll 1
- (2)古文書学の用語。歴史の史料となる古い記録で、特定の対象に意思・情報などを伝えるた めに作成された文書。一般の著述や記録・日記などと区別される。
- ◆アクセント ： こもんじょ 0 2