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Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Shinto Classics and Literature
Shinsen shōjiroku
This is a record of the genealogy of the ancient families living in the capital (Heian-kyō) and the five inner provinces. It was compiled near the beginning of the Heian period. It is also known as Shōjiroku and Shinsen shōjiroku-shō . It consists of thirty books. The complete work is not extant, and only an abbreviated manuscript survives in the present. The first volume of the table of contents has also been lost. Beginning with Prince Manda, the fifth son of Emperor Kanmu, the compilers of the work are Fujiwara Sonohito, Fujiwara Otsugu, Abe Makatsu, Mihara Otohira, Kamitsukeno Kaihito, and others. The work was finished on the first day of the sixth month of 814 when the preface was attached, but families like the Minamoto, Yoshimine, Nagaoka, and Hirone, and others had been dropped from the registers, so these names were added, and the work recompiled. The document was presented to the court on the twelfth day of the seventh month of the following year with the addition of the document of presentation. The compilation of a record of lineages of ancient families was not completed for a while, due to the political upheaval in the middle of the Nara period and the rise and fall of the influence of various families. Fujiwara Nakamaro attempted to have a catalog of families compiled between 761 and 763 in response to an increase in the number of foreign immigrant families to whom the court was granting new surnames, but because of the revolt led by the same Emi no Oshikatsu (Fujiwara Nakamaro) this catalog was not completed. By the Heian period, in the twelfth month of 799, Emperor Kanmu ordered the various families to submit registers detailing their origins, but there were few families that submitted these documents within the required time, and then the project was discontinued with Kanmu's passing. Once Emperor Saga had ascended the throne, after the ninth month of 810 the compilation project was begun in earnest, and the final product was Shinsen shōjiroku.

       The contents divide the one thousand one hundred eighty-two families of the capital and the inner provinces into general categories according to each family's ancestor: imperial lineage (three hundred thirty-five families in Books One through Ten), divine lineage (four hundred four families in Books Eleven through Twenty), and foreign lineage (three hundred twenty-six families in Books Twenty-one through Twenty-nine). The genealogies of these families were then categorized according to the place where the registered dwelling of the family was located, in the following order: left side of the capital, right side of the capital, Yamashiro, Settsu, Yamato, Kawachi, and Izumi. The final book contains families whose lineage is considered indeterminate (one hundred seventeen families in Book Thirty). Imperial lineage refers to offspring of the successive emperors, while divine lineage points to descendants of the heavenly and earthly deities. Foreign lineage indicates descendants of people from Korea (Paekche, Koguryo, Silla, and Mimana) and China. The preface notes that there are three classes of lineage, and the various entries start with the founding ancestor of the family by saying, "They descend from so and so" if they are direct descendants, or "They are descendants of the same family as so and so" if they are indirect descendants. When the lineage is not clear, the lineage starts with the words, "They are offspring of so and so." It is clear from remaining fragments that the record contained the origins of the family after noting the lineage, along with the circumstances surrounding how family members received their names, and how the family received its surname. Each entry also contained the founding father's name, and the names of other descendants, and any other lineages that contributed to the family are recorded as well as other offspring and details surrounding the principle dwelling area, details surrounding a change in surname, and the names of the members that submitted the register to the court. The surviving abbreviated text does not contain much of this detail, having been distilled so that most of the record notes only the three categories of direct, indirect, and unclear ancestry. Even with this abbreviated version, as well as fragments of the original text found in quotes in other works, we see peculiar traditions of various families not found in Kojiki, Nihon shoki or other records. Furthermore this record provides important historical information regarding the hereditary relationship of some ancient families and the deities of heaven and earth (tenshin chigi ), as well as being a valuable Shintō classic.

Manuscripts and Published Versions
       We can confirm the existence of a complete text through various quotes in other records down to the end of the Kamakura period, but after this we only find abbreviated texts, which we find in the colophons of the two existing textual branches, one dated 1335 and the other 1360. Both branches have a significant number of variants after Book Twenty-one, and the work of Saeki Arikiyo in Shinsen shōjiroku no kenkyū—honbun hen is a collated text of the Mikannagi Kiyonao manuscript, which belongs to the first branch, and the Yanagihara Norimitsu manuscript of the latter line. Regarding published texts, there are four: Shirai Sōin text (1668), Matsushita Kenrin text (1669), Hashimoto Inahiko text (1807), Gunsho ruijū text (1813-1817). As far as commentaries there is the detailed and rigorous work by Kurita Hiroshi in Shinsen shōjiroku kōshō (contained in Shintō Taikei, volume six of Koten-hen, Shinsen shōjiroku, 1981). Research into this work is found in the nine volume work of Saeki Arikiyo, Shinsen shōjiroku no kenkyū (1962-1984). Fragments of the original text are also contained in Shintō Taikei, volume six of Koten-hen, Shinsen shōjiroku.

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"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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