Nihon Odai Ichiran

17th-century history book

Nihon Odai Ichiran (日本王代一覧, Nihon Ōdai Ichiran, "Table of the rulers of Japan") is a Japanese book. It is a 17th century chronicle (history) of the reigns of the Japanese emperors before the 19th century.

Nihon Ōdai Ichiran, 1834.

A French translation of Nihon Ōdai Ichiran (Annales des empereurs du Japon) was published in 1834. It was translated by a Dutchman Isaac Titsingh ; this translation was one of very few books about Japan of the time.[1]

First book of its kind in the West


Dutch historian Isaac Titsingh brought the seven volumes of the book with him when he returned to Europe in 1797. He returned after twenty years in Asia. Titsingh's French translation was published in 1834.[2] The Japanese originals were lost in the 19th century wars in Europe.

This was the first major history of Japan to be published in the West. It was also the first history book by a Japanese writer to be published in Europe.

Isaac Titsingh described Nihon odai ichiran as a very difficult book. He thought that the translation was "a most tedious task."[3]

In the 1950s, Ōdai-ichiran was evaluated by Japanologist John Whitney Hall who confirmed Titsingh's work is a careful translation from Japanese sources.[4]



  1. Ripley, George. (1871). The American Cyclopaedia: a Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, Vol. 9, p. 547 col.1.
  2. Pouillon, François. (2008). Dictionnaire des orientalistes de langue française, p. 542.
  3. Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822, p. 65.
  4. Hall, John Whitney. (1955). Tanuma Okitsugu, 1719-1788, pp. 94-95.

Other websites

  • Manuscript scans, Waseda University Library