Honcho tsugan

  • Japanese: 本朝通鑑 (honchou tsugan)

The Honchô tsugan is a 310-volume work on Japanese history begun by Hayashi Razan (d. 1657) in the 1640s, based on the model of Zhu Xi's Tongjian gangmu. Continued by Razan's son Hayashi Gahô, it was completed by Gahô's son Hayashi Hôkô in 1670.

The work covers the history of Japan from the mythological first emperor, Emperor Jimmu, up through the reign of Emperor Go-Yôzei (r. 1586-1611). However, while the chapters of the work are organized by successive imperial reigns, the text shows great respect for the Tokugawa house, leaving honorific open spaces before terms referring directly to Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hidetada, or Iemitsu, and refers to each of these three figures by posthumous deification names; Luke Roberts contrasts this with the Dai Nihon Shi, which leaves no honorific spaces when discussing any Minamoto or Ashikaga shoguns. In these and other ways, the text is structured so as to emphasize Tokugawa virtue and authority, as derived from the imperial institution.


  • Wm. Theodore de Bary, Carol Gluck, and Arthur Tiedemann (eds.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Second Edition, vol. 2, Columbia University Press (2005), 68.
  • Luke Roberts, Performing the Great Peace, University of Hawaii Press (2012), 175-178.