Translations of classical Japanese works to 1600
- editor's notes - 

This is a bibliography of translations from classical Japanese up to about 1600, including also works written in kanbun and Chinese, and items described as "late Muromachi or early Kinsei." It is arranged in alphabetical order of the romanized title. This database was put online in 1999 and has been regularly updated since then. Last revision: 2006.08.27

Separate bibliographies are maintained on this site for otogizôshi, noh plays, and kyôgen.
For  Edo period writings, see for now the "by author " page.

Frequently mentioned works are cited in abbreviated form (e.g. "Keene, Anthology") as are titles of some journals and series (e.g. MN for Monumenta Nipponica). See Abbreviations below.

Within each entry, translations are in reverse order of date, i.e. most recent translations come first. I have tried to add details of recent reprints. Works are listed under the name of the translator, with omission of "trans." A few references are given to selected secondary literature, either here or on the studies page. E-TEXT links will lead to a page giving details of a downloadable Japanese text file.

The bibliography can be viewed without frames (default setting, also best for printing) or with frames. The latter gives you an index of romanized titles on the left, or (if you so choose) a list of titles in Japanese characters.

Within each page, you can use the browser FIND command. In the "frames" version this will locate titles either in the form "Hôjôki"or "Hojoki"--the latter in the index on the left where vowel length has been left unmarked for this very reason. In the version "without frames" you will need to use the circumflex to search for words with long vowels, like Hôjôki or Kokinshû. Or you can also use Japanese characters to search. Or simply scroll down. (I'll also work on a work-about for those who forget the circumflex--or how to enter it.)

Recent revisions of this bibliography have benefitted enormously from online access to library catalogues like Worldcat (new in 2006) and Japan's Webcat. No matter how good their entries, however, there is much that can only be known from an actual examination of books and articles themselves--such as whether a translation is really complete or not, and what Japanese edition was used for the translation. I do what I can to examine translations myself, but I also need your help, especially for translations in languages other than English, or for rarer items.

Do tell me if you spot any omissions or mistakes, or if you have suggestions about the format adopted. As this bibliography is regularly updated, more help is needed. Many thanks to all those who have helped thus far. 

For a fuller list of translations, covering many more works in kanbun, see Francine Herail, Bibliographie japonaise (Paris: POF, 1986). The P.E.N. Club Bibliographies of Japanese literature in translation are also worth consulting (and now available online). In association with (,,, links have been added to most recent edition in print. As many readers of this bibliography will have library access to JSTOR, links are being added. These allow you to view articles online or download in PDF format. 

Those looking for electronic texts of Japanese classical literature should check the latest offerings of Japan Text Initiative or sites like those of Professor M. Shibata (Meisei Univ.), Professor Akihiro Okajima (Fukui Univ.) and Professor Shin'ichi Kikuchi (Konan Woman's Univ.). Let me know if there are links to new e-texts that should be included here.


(1) Abbreviations of names of journals/series/acronyms
(2) Abbreviations of frequently cited publications

(1) Abbreviations of names of journals and series; other acronyms

BOAS: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 
GSRJ: Gunsho ruiju 群書類従 series* (1779-1819, ed. Hanawa Hokinoichi) 
HJAS: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 
JALLC: JALLC Text Archives (情報処理語学文学研究会) [source of electronic texts] 
JAOS: Journal of the American Oriental Society 
JATJ: Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese 
JJRS: Journal of Japanese Religious Studies (Nanzan). URL 
JJS: Journal of Japanese Studies 
KNBT: Kochu nihon bungaku taikei 古注日本文学大系 series* 
MOAG: "Mitteilungen" der deutschen Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens 
MN: Monumenta Nipponica (Sophia University, Tokyo). URL
n.s.: "not seen." Added as reminder to editor of database.
OE: Oriens Extremus (Hamburg) 
O.P.: out of print
POF: Publications Orientalistes de France 
PCCJL: Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature 
TASJ: Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan
: Times Literary Supplement
tr.: translated, translation 
UP: University Press 

*Why are the series KNBT and GSRJ here? Conveniently out of copyright, they are being used as the base texts for electronic texts available on Japanese web sites.

(2) Abbreviations of frequently cited publications

For the sake of clarity and convenience, a mixture of reference styles are used.

Aoki, Records of Winds and Earth, 1997 
Aoki, Michiko Yamaguchi. Records of Wind and Earth: A Translation of Fudoki, with Introduction and Commentaries. Ann Arbor, 1997. 
Aston, History, 1899 
Aston, William. A History of Japanese Literature. New York, 1899. (+Reprints) 
Benl, Kirschblütenzweig, 1985 
Benl, Oscar. Der Kirschblütenzweig: Japanische Liebesgeschichten aus tausend Jahren. München: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, 1985. 
Bownas and Thwaite 1964 
Bownas, Geoffrey, and Anthony Thwaite, Penguin Book of Japanese Verse. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964. Reprinted 1998. 
Brower and Miner, JSP, 1961 
Brower, Robert H., and Earl Miner. Japanese Court Poetry. Stanford Studies in the Civilizations of Eastern Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961. 
Carter, MJW, 1999 
Carter, Steven D., ed. Medieval Japanese Writers. Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 203. Detroit, Washington, London: A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book, 1999. 315 pp. *33 entries on writers and genres from "Abutsu-ni" to "Zeami (Kanze Motokiyo)" by leading specialists.
Childs, Revelatory Tales, 1991 
Childs, Margaret H. Rethinking Sorrow: Revelatory Tales of Late Medieval Japan. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies The University of Michigan, 1991. [Translations of Genmu monogatariKôya monogatariSannin hôshiNananin bikuni.]
Cranston, "Dark Path," 1975 
Cranston, Edwin A. "The Dark Path: Images of Longing in Japanese Love Poetry." HJAS 35 (1975): 60-100. 
Daniels, Selections from Japanese Literature, 1953 
Daniels, F. J., ed. Selections from Japanese Literature (12th to 19th Centuries). London: Lund Humphries, 1958. [Introduction to excerpt, Japanese text, notes, romanization and translation] 
Florenz, Quellen, 1919 
Florenz, Karl. Die historischen Quellen der Shinto-Religion. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1919. 
Hare et al., Distant Isle, 1996 
The Distant Isle: Studies and Translations of Japanese Literature in Honor of Robert H. Brower, ed. by Thomas Hare, Robert Borgen, and Sharalyn Orbaugh. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan, 1996 
Gatten and Chambers, New Leaves, 1993 
Gatten, Aileen, and Anthony Hood Chambers, eds. New Leaves: Studies and Translations of Japanese Literature in Honor of Edward Seidensticker. Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies, No. 11. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, 1993. 
Heinrich, Currents, 1997 
Heinrich, Amy Vladeck, ed. Currents in Japanese Culture: Translations and Transformations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. 
Herail, Bibliographie, 1986 
Herail, Francine. Bibliographie Japonaise. Paris: POF, 1986. 
Keene, Anthology, 1955. 
Keene, Donald, ed. Anthology of Japanese Literature from the earliest era to the Nineteenth Century. New York: Grove Press, 1955. [pbk 1988]. REV: Roggendorf, MN 13 (1957). 
Matisoff, Legend, 1978 
Matisoff, Susan. The Legend of Semimaru: Blind Musician of Japan. New York: Columbia University Press, 1978. 
McCullough, Classical Japanese Prose, 1990 
McCullough, Helen, compiled and ed. Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990. 
Miner et al., Princeton Companion, 1985 [PCCJL] 
Miner, Earl, Hiroko Odagiri, and Robert E. Morrell. The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985. 
Naumann, Zauberschale, 1973 
Naumann, Nelly and Wolfram. Die Zauberschale: Erzählungen vom Leben japanischer Damen, Moenche, Herren und Knechte. Munich, Vienna: Carl Hanser. Rpt. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch, 1990. 
Nihon koten bungaku daijiten (one volume, "kan'yakuban"). Iwanami, 1986.
日本古典文学大辞典 簡約版 
Omori and Doi, Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan, 1920 
Omori, Annie Shepley, and Kochi Doi. Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1920.196 p. [Sarashina nikki, Murasaki Shikibu nikki, Izumi Shikibu nikki
Miner, Earl, Hiroko Odagiri, and Robert E. Morrell. Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985. [Translates many titles of works.] 
Plutschow and Fukuda, Four Japanese Travel Diaries, 1981
Plutschow, Herbert, and Hideichi Fukuda. Four Japanese Travel Diaries of the Middle Ages Cornell East Asia Papers. Cornell, 1981. 
Reischauer and Yamagiwa, Translations, 1951 
Reischauer, Edwin O., and Joseph K. Yamagiwa. Translations from Early Japanese Literature. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard-Yenching Institute Studies XXIX, 1951. 
Revon, Anthologie, 1910 
Revon, Michel. Anthologie de la litterature japonaise. Paris: Delagrave, 1910. 
Sato and Watson, Eight Islands, 1981 
Sato, Hiroaki, and Burton Watson, eds. From the Country of Eight Islands. An Anthology of Japanese Poetry. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981. [Reprint Columbia UP] 
Sieffert, Le Livre des contes, 1993. 
Sieffert, Rene. Le Livre des contes. Paris: P.O.F., 1993. 
Skord, Tales of Tears and Laughter, 1991 
Skord, Virginia. Tales of Tears and Laughter: Short Fiction of Medieval Japan. Honolulu: Hawaii University Press, 1991. 
Smits, Pursuit of Loneliness, 1995
Smits, Ivo. XXXX 
Teele, Ono no Komachi, 1993 
Teele, Roy E., Nicholas J. Teele, and H. Rebecca Teele. Ono no Komachi: Poems, Stories, No Plays. New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1993 
Tyler, Tales, 1987 
Tyler, Royall. Japanese Tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987. [Tales cited here by number, see index, pp. 367-330 for details.] 
Tyler, JND, 1992 
Tyler, Royall. Japanese Nô Dramas. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992. 
 Many thanks to everyone who has written to point out errors and omissions, or to suggest ways to improve this bibliography. Substantial contributions were received from: X. Jie Yang, Niel Guelsberg, Lorinda Kiyama, Roberta Strippoli, and Michael Wachutka.

I am also grateful for suggestions and corrections from Robert Borgen, Adriana Boscaro, Richard Bowring, Rose Bundy, Charo B. D'Etcheverry, Jordi Escurriola, Karel Fiala, Stephen Forrest, H. Mack Horton, Robert Khan, Christina Laffin, David Lurie, Robert E. Morrell, Denise O'Brien, Noel Pinnington, John Schmitt-Weigand, Joseph Sorensen, Kendon Stubbs, Hitomi Tonomura, Melanie Trede, Klaus Vollmer, and Joshua Young. Apologies to anyone I've overlooked. Last but not least, many thanks to Kate Nakai for making the Monumenta Nipponica index available on the Web:

Michael Watson, Faculty of International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University e-mail to: watson[at]