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Evaluating EvidenceA Positivist Approach to Reading Sources on Modern Japan$
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George Akita

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824825607

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824825607.001.0001

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Reading Primary Documents

Reading Primary Documents

Letters, Ikensho, Nikki, and Memoirs—the Pitfalls

Chapter:
(p.30) Chapter 2 Reading Primary Documents
Source:
Evaluating Evidence
Author(s):

George Akita

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824825607.003.0002

This chapter identifies the problems linked with reading primary sources in Japanese by looking at various Japanese unpublished and published primary sources, such as the Nikki and Ikensho. The difficulties in deciphering sōsho are overwhelming, and so much effort was expended in transcribing and translating the transcriptions that distinctions between sources and the problems they would present to the user were overlooked. They were simply subsumed under the generic category “primary sources” that had the “merit” of being transcribed and translated for the first time. Nonetheless, despite some people stating that this manuscript has gone to the extreme of seeing distinctions so minuscule as to make them incomprehensible, medieval thinkers believed that their efforts were worthwhile.

Keywords:   Japanese primary sources, Nikki, Ikensho, sōsho, unpublished primary sources

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