Higashiyama Gobunko

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  • Japanese: 東山御文庫 (Higashiyama go-bunko)

The Higashiyama Go-bunko is an Imperial archive located on the grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It contains some 80,000 items dating from the Heian to Muromachi periods of exceptional historical value.

The collection suffered considerable damage during the Ônin War, but became larger and more well-maintained beginning in the early Edo period, especially under Emperor Go-Mizunoo, who had a particular interest in collecting. Much of the documents are locked in Edo period boxes, and can only be opened by imperial chamberlains (jijû), and only by imperial order.

The archive is sealed by imperial order, and can only be opened by imperial order. However, the collection is opened for several days once a year for bakuryô ("airing out"), during which time scholars from the Shiryôhensanjo (among others) are granted access to study the works, and to produce microfilm reproductions. Roughly 20% of the collection is aired out each year, meaning the entire collection gets aired out every five years. A significant portion of the collection is today available in microfilm at the Hensanjo, though there is no anticipated completion date for the process of reproducing the entire collection.


  • Jason Webb, "Kyôto gosho no higashiyama go-bunko no bakuryô gyôji," talk given at USC/Meiji University Research Exchange, Feb 16 2018.