Timeline of premodern Japanese literature

The table includes the major works of premodern Japanese literature mentioned in study aids for Japanese high school students, with the addition of several others of interest to the Western reader. The transliteration of the Japanese title is given first, followed by an English translation and the name of the author, editor, or compiler. The English translation is fairly literal in most cases (often based on Donald Keene's versions or those in The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature), although conventional or published titles have sometimes been used and definite and indefinite articles (somewhat arbitrarily) attached. Dating is, of course, a vexed problem in the premodern period; approximate dates are so indicated.



Japanese title

English title


712 Kojiki Records of Ancient Matters Hieda no Are, Ōe no Yasumaro
ca. 713 Fudoki Gazetteers (regional reports on matters of interest to the central government; the only complete report, Izumo fudoki, by one Hiroshima of Izumo)
720 Nihon shoki (Nihongi) Chronicles of Japan Toneri Shinnō et al.
751 Kaifūsō Fond Recollections of Poetry (unknown)
after 759 Man'yōshū A Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves (unknown, but some editing attrib. to Ōtomo no Yakamochi)
797 Shoku nihongi A Continuation of Chronicles of Japan Fujiwara no Tsugitada, Suga no Nomamichi et al.
ca. 822 Nihon ryōiki (or Nihon reiiki) An Account of Miracles in Japan Kyōkai
ca. 900 Taketori monogatari The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (unknown)
905 Kokinwakashū A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry Ki no Tsurayuki et al.
ca. 930 Ise monogatari Tales of Ise (unknown)
ca. 940 Shōmonki Chronicle of Taira no Masakado (unknown)
ca. 935 Tosa nikki The Tosa Diary Ki no Tsurayuki
951 Gosenwakashū A Later Selection of Japanese Poetry Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobe et al.
ca. 951 Yamato monogatari Tales of Yamato (unknown)
ca. 965 Heichū monogatari Tales of Heichū (unknown)
between 970-999 Utsuho monogatari (or Utsubo monogatari) The Tale of the Hollow Tree (unknown)
after 974 Kagerō nikki The Gossamer Years Mother of Fujiwara no Michitsuna
ca. 989 Ochikubo monogatari The Tale of Ochikubo (unknown)
ca. 1000 Makura no sōshi The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon Sei Shōnagon
after 1004 Izumi Shikibu nikki The Izumi Shikibu Diary Izumi Shikibu
1005 Shūiwakashū A Collection of Gleanings (unknown; thought to expand on a private collection by Fujiwara no Kintō)
ca. 1008 Genji monogatari The Tale of Genji Murasaki Shikibu
after 1028 Eiga monogatari A Tale of Flowering Fortunes Akazome Emon (partly)
after 1059 Sarashina nikki The Sarashina Diary Daughter of Sugawara no Takasue
1086 Goshūiwakashū A Later Collection of Gleanings Fujiwara no Michitoshi
ca. 1120 Ōkagami The Great Mirror (unknown)
ca. 1120 Konjaku monogatari Tales of Times Now Past (unknown)
ca. 1127 Kinyōwakashū A Collection of Golden Leaves Minamoto no Toshiyori
1151 Shikawakashū A Collection of Verbal Flowers of Japanese Poetry Fujiwara no Akisuke
1184 Ryōjin hishō Songs to Make the Dust Dance Go-Shirakawa
1188 Senzaiwakashū A Collection for a Thousand Years Fujiwara no Toshinari (Shunzei)
before 1190 Sankashū The Mountain Hut Collection Saigyō
1205 Shinkokinwakashū A New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry Fujiwara no Teika et al.
1212 Hōjōki An Account of My Hut Kamo no Chōmei
ca. 1212 Mumyōshō A Nameless Selection Kamo no Chōmei
1213 Kinkaiwakashū The Golden Pagoda-Tree Collection of Japanese Poetry Minamoto no Sanetomo
before 1216 Hosshinshū A Collection to Promote Religious Awakening Kamo no Chōmei
before 1219 Heike monogatari The Tale of the Heike (unknown; credited by Yoshida Kenkō to one Shinano-no-zenji Yukinaga)
before 1233 Kenreimon'in Ukyō no Daibu shū The Poetic Memoirs of Lady Daibu Kenreimon'in
after 1242 Ujishūishū Later Tales from Uji (unknown)
1252 Jikkinshō (Jikkunshō) A Miscellany of Ten Maxims attrib. to Yuasa Munenari
1254 Kokon chomonjū A Collection of Tales Heard, Past and Present Tachibana no Narisue
before 1271 (Late Heian) Tsutsumi Chūnagon monogatari The Riverside Counselor's Stories (unknown, except for one of the 10 tales)
ca. 1279 Izayoi nikki The Diary of the Waning Moon Abutsu
ca. 1330 Tsurezuregusa Essays in Idleness Yoshida Kenkō
before 1350 Taiheiki The Record of Great Peace (unknown, but often attrib. to monk Kojima)
1400 Fūshikaden Style and the Flower Zeami Motokiyo
1495 Shinsen Tsukubashū The New Tsukuba Collection Iio Sōgi et al.
ca. 1665 Ukiyo monogatari Tales of the Floating World Asai Ryōi
1682 Kōshoku ichidai otoko A Man Who Devoted His Life to Love Ihara Saikaku
1688 Nippon eitaigura The Family Storehouse of Japan Ihara Saikaku
1692 Seken munesan'yō Heartfelt Worldly Reckonings Ihara Saikaku
1702 Oku no hosomichi The Narrow Road to the Deep North Matsuo Bashō
1702 Sanzōshi The Three Booklets Hattori Dohō
1703 Sonezaki shinjū The Love Suicides at Sonezaki Chikamatsu Monzaemon
1703-05 Kyoraishō Conversations with Kyorai Mukai Kyorai
1711 Meido no hikyaku The Courier for Hell Chikamatsu Monzaemon
1715 Kokusen'ya kassen The Battles of Coxinga Chikamatsu Monzaemon
1720 Shinjū ten no Amijima The Love Suicides at Amijima Chikamatsu Monzaemon
before 1725 Oritaku shiba no ki Told Round a Brushwood Fire Arai Hakuseki
1776 Ugetsu monogatari Tales of Rain and Moonlight Ueda Akinari
1790 Keiseikai shijūhatte Forty-eight Techniques for Success with Courtesans Santō Kyōden
1796 Genji monogatari tama no ogushi The Tale of Genji: A Jeweled Comb Motoori Norinaga
1797 Shin hanatsumi A New Gathering of Flowers Yosa Buson
1798 Kojikiden Commentary on the Kojiki Motoori Norinaga
1802 Tōkaidōchū hizakurige Shank's Mare Along the Tōkaidō Jippensha Ikku
1809-13 Ukiyoburo The Bathhouse of the Floating World Shikitei Sanba
1813-14 Ukiyodoko The Barbershop of the Floating World Shikitei Sanba
1814-42 Nansō satomi hakkenden Biographies of Eight Dogs Takizawa Bakin
1820 Ora ga haru The Spring of My Life Kobayashi Issa
1825 Tōkaidō Yotsuya kaidan Ghost Story of Yotsuya on the Tōkaidō Tsuruya Nanboku
1829-42 Nise-Murasaki inaka Genji The Rustic Genji by the False Murasaki Ryūtei Tanehiko
1832-33 Shunshoku umegoyomi Colors of Spring: The Plum Calendar Tamenaga Shunsui