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In order to offer oriental scholars of the West material indispensable to the study of Japanese history and religion—particularly Shintō, the national religion of Japan—we venture to publish an English translation of the Kogoshūi, an historical book of old Japan, together with some brief introductory remarks and an ample supply of critical notes, resulting from our study of the book for years. We trust that it may prove a useful supplement to the Kojiki and the Nihongi, which have long been familiar to foreign students of things Japanese, through the excellent translations of Prof. B. H. Chamberlain and W. G. Aston respectively.
Some three or four years ago our regular work of studying and translating the Kogoshūi into English was started under the auspices of the Zaidan Hōjin Meiji Seitoku Kinen Gakkai or Meiji Japan Society founded in Japan in 1912 in commemoration of the Emperor Meiji, when His Majesty died, and moreover, this year the Committee of the Zaidan Hōjin Keimei Kai encouraged us to hasten the completion of our work in question and publish it under its generous patronage, and thus the present English version has been brought to light.
In expressing our grateful acknowledgments to both Societies mentioned above and to Mr. Richard Ponsonby Fane who has kindly given us some suggestive hints and read our type-written p. ii manuscript for us, our sincerest thanks are also due to Mrs. E. A. Gordon whose deep sympathy has induced her to give us her valuable assistance in matters of language, tirelessly reading for us, in spire of her weak eyes, our English manuscript throughout.
Tōkyō, July, 1923
When the first edition of our English translation of the Kogoshūi was published last year, facilities for printing English books in Tōkyō, upset by the earthquake of 1923, had not been quite restored; and moreover, in July last, one of the collaborators was obliged, by Government orders, to leave Japan suddenly for a tour of Europe.
In these circumstances, to our deep regret, it was beyond our power to present the translation in perfect form, although we were well aware that it was defective and incomplete in various respects. However, we commenced our present revision work as soon as the absent collaborator returned from abroad in December last, and have just completed our difficult task. It is true that some corrections and insertions have been made in order to facilitate the reader’s understanding, but there are no changes of any consequence at all, we believe.
In publishing the second and revised edition of the present book, our special thanks are due to the Meiji Japan Society under whose generous patronage this revised edition has been brought to light. We are greatly indebted to Dr. I. Nitobe, Mr. J. Stewart, and Mr. Albert J. Koop of the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as to Mr. Richard Ponsonby Fane now at Kyōto, who have kindly offered us many valuable hints, keen though kindly criticism, and unfailing encouragement.
In closing we wish to mention the names of Dr. Masao Toba and Dr. Samei Mikami to whom credit is due for their painstaking care and kind assistance in preparing the index for the second and revised edition, which may prove greatly helpful to the students in studying the text of the Kogoshūi.
Tōkyō, June, 1925
In publishing the third edition of the English translation of the Kōgōshui, there is nothing special to mention here, except that we have had the pleasure of enriching the old bibliography at the end of the book with the addition of the list of some texts and commentaries discovered by us of late, through the kind assistance and suggestions of our friend Seizō Kōno, Professor of the Kokugakuin College; and, moreover, we must be very grateful to Dr. Kin-ichirō Itō for his painstaking work tirelessly carried out for us in thoroughly remoulding the index, to whom the thanks of the reader of this book, we are sure, will also be given.
G. Katō and H. Hoshino
Tōkyō, June, 1926