Frois's History of Japan

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  • Author: Luis Frois (1532-1597)
  • Title: History of Japan (Historia do Japõo or Historia de Japam)
  • Written from 1583-1597

A history of Japan from 1549 (the arrival of Francis Xavier) by the Jesuit Luis Frois. He used the Jesuit letters and reports, many of which were later printed in Cartas, as major sources, but there is also additional add material.

Frois was ordered by his superior to start the writing in 1583 , and he worked on it until nearly the end of his life. However, the Visitor Alessandro Valignano considered it too long-winded and did not approve its being sent to Europe. Frois petitioned the head of the Jesuit order to have it sent, but he died before an answer was received. Eventually the manuscript was sent to the Jesuit library in Macao. Copies of it were made 1742-45 and eventually got to Europe, but the original was destroyed in a fire in 1835. In 1895 one copy of the 1549-78 section was discovered in the Ajuda Library in Lisbon ; other sections were gradually discoved after that in various places in Portugal and France.

The first section to be discovered was published in a German translation in 1926, and parts were gradually published in the original and in Japanese. The whole was published in Portuguese 1976-1984, and in a Japanese translation 1977-1980.

Complete Portuguese edition:

Historia de Japam / Luis Frois ; edicao anotada por Jose Wicki. Lisbon: Presidencia do Conselho de Ministros, Secretaria de Estado da Cultura, Direccao-Geral do Patrimonio Cultural, Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa, 1a. ed.,1976-1984, 5 vols.

The modern Japanese translation is:

フロイス〔著〕松田毅一,川崎桃太訳, 日本史, 東京,中央公論社 1977-1980, 12 vols. (Luis Frois, History of Japan, trans. by Matsuda Kiichi and Kawasaki Momota.) There is also a paperback edition.

Matsuda's translation has extensive notes, bibliography and even an index (vol. 12). Often the original word is given either in katakana or the original orthography. References to the History in this Wiki probably are taken from this edition unless stated otherwise.

There is also another edition of the translation, but I have not seen it. However, the contents of the volume numbers do not seem to correspond with the earlier edition, so care must be taken when citing the History.

完訳フロイス日本史. 1 / ルイス・フロイス[他] 松田毅一,川崎桃太訳. -- 中央公論新社 (中公文庫), 2000, 12 vol. (The Complete Translation of Frois's History of Japan.)


日本キリスト教歴史大事典 (Large Dictionary of Japanese Christian History)、教文館, 1988.

National Diet Library Catalog [1]