Vol. 19 (2012)
Articles

On Saeki Arikiyo’s Monumental Study of the ‘Treatise on the People of Wa’

Abstract

Saeki Ariyiko was one of the world’s premier historians of ancient Japanese and East Asian history. His knowledge of texts and his ability to use them in creative ways and thus bring antiquity to life were virtually unmatched. One of his last works was a reading of the single most commented upon text in Sino-Japanese historical and cultural relations, the Treatise on the People of Wa in the Chronicle of the Kingdom of Wei (known in Japan as Gishi Wajinden). Saeki’s book, entitled Gishi Wajingden o yomu 魏 志倭人伝を読む (Reading the Treatise on the People of Wa in the Chronicle of the Kingdom of Wei), appeared in two volumes (over 450 pages in total) and was published by Yoshikawa kōbunkan in 2000. To give a flavor of the work, I offer a translation of the introductions to each of the volumes.