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Modern copy of the Izumo Fudoki.

Fudoki (風土記) are ancient records concerning the old provinces of Japan. These records being ordered by Empress Genmei in 713AD.1

Surviving Examples

The most substantial ones which have survived at the Bungo Fudoki, Harima Fudoki, Hitachi Fudoki, Hizen Fudoki and Izumo Fudoki, with the Izumo version the only one to retain its original form.

Other provincial records have survived to the modern day, though they are in fragmentary form. These are known as fudoki itsubun and there are around 100 fragments.

Collectively all of the above are called kofudoki (古風土記 – Old Fudoki) to differentiate them from modern day fudoki.

Content and Storage

In 713 governors of all provinces ordered to make a survery and record of the products, animals, plants, land conditions, name etymologies and oral traditions in their province, which was to be submitted to court.

It is thought the land survey was for taxation, whereas etymologies and oral traditions were to prepare for the compilation of the nihongi.

Local governmens kept the originals or drafts of these documents.

In 925AD the government asked for these original documents to be resubmitted, and so we find that the second time these documents were brought together some of their information found its was into the Engi Shiki.

In some of the fudoki itsubun there are possible prototypes of Urashima Tarō and Hagoromo. 2

Harima Fudoki

Hitachi Fudoki

Izumo Fudoki

    • Compiled by Miyake no Omi Kanatari and Izumo no Omi Hiroshima it consists of 11 Chapters in total. Originally compiled in 733AD.
    • Two complete myths can be found in this document found nowhere else. The Land Pulling Myth and Imaro and the Wani.
    • The document talks of a possible vine known as the ‘frosty kurodazura’ (霜黒葛) however no known modern equivelant is known.5

Tango Fudoki

    • Contains early versions of Urashima Taro.1

Unknown Fudoki

This serves to list information that is said to come from these documents.Though I do not know yet which particular document it is.


1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
3. Borgen, R. (1975) “The Origins of the Sugawara. A History of the Haji Family”. Monumenta Nipponica. Vol.30 No.4 pp.405-422
4. Littleton. C.S. (1995) “Yamato-takeru: An Arthurian Hero in Japanese Tradition”. Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 54, No.2, pp.259-274.
5. Carlqvist, A. (2010) “The Land Pulling Myth and Some Aspects of Historical Reality”. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 37, No.2, pp.185-222.
6. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.

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