Kitabatake Chikafusa’s Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns is well known for its opening line: “The great Japan is the land of kami,” and because of this, it has been considered to be a history text resulting from fanaticism or spirit possession.
However, if read dispassionately, we understand that this is a book of quite composed and realistic lessons. Hence the ideological tragedy of this text is that it has been misunderstood this way by not only those who criticize but also those who admire it.
For whom, for what and what kind of the work is A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns? Since when, and how has it been misunderstood?
In response to these questions, this chapter explores the ideological position of the text by centering on the theory of shōtō (legitimacy), which is part of its title as well as the historical context in which Kitabatake Chikafusa wrote it. This chapter also discusses how we should re-read this text today.
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- OKANO Tomohiko
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