Ritsuryō Translation Project

The Ritsuryō Translation Project, a study group working under the auspices of the Project for Premodern Japan Studies in the History Department of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has as its goal to gather together and post on its website English translations of the Yōrō Ritsuryō Code (compiled 720s, promulgated 757). Several members of the group are also working on new translations of specific sections of the Yōrō administrative code (ryō). Professor Joan Piggott, Director of the Project for Premodern Japan Studies, is the convener of the group, which is made up of scholars at USC, across North America, and in Japan. Members of the group have been meeting regularly in Tokyo and at USC since 2010, and publishing new annotated translations of the Code in modern Japanese and English in academic journals since 2013.

Participants include:

Yoshie Akiko
Ijuin Yoko
Karl Friday
Joan Piggott
Bettine Birge


Hosted Translations

Piggott, Sōniryō (Laws on Monks and Nuns)

Friday, Gunbōryō (The Statute on Military Defense)

Related Publications

Yoshie, Ijūin and Piggott. "日本令にみるジェンダー──その(1)戸令──Gender in the Japanese Administrative Code Part 1: Laws on Residence Units" (pdf, in Japanese and English) (off-site link)

Ijūin, Yoshie and Piggot. "日本令にみるジェンダー —その(2)後宮職員令(上)— —Gender in the Japanese Administrative Code: Laws on Officials in the Back Palace(1)," Senshū shigaku 55 (November 2013). (pdf, in Japanese and English)

Ijūin, Yoshie and Piggot. "日本令にみるジェンダー —その(3)後宮職員令(下)— —Gender in the Japanese Administrative Code: Laws on Officials in the Back Palace(2)," Senshū shigaku 57 (November 2014). (pdf, in Japanese and English)

Ijūin, Yoshie and Piggot. "日本令にみるジェンダー —戸令・後宮職員令— —Gender in the Japanese Administrative Code: Comprehensive Glossary," Senshū shigaku 57 (November 2015). (pdf, in Japanese and English)

Related Materials

Translation of Yoshie, "Family, Marriage and the Law in Classical Japan—an Analysis of Gender in the Ritsuryō Codes on Residence Units" (presented at USC, 2013)

Translation of Ijūin, "Women in the Bureaucratic Structure in Classical Japan, as Seen in the Laws on Officials of the Back Palace, and Historiography Thereon" (Presented at USC, 2013)

Resources: in English

George Sansom, "Early Japanese Law and Administration" Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan Vols. 9, 11 (1934)

Glossary from Richard J. Miller, Japan's First Bureaucracy China-Japan Program, Cornell University (1979)

"Ryo no gige" from Sources of Japanese Tradition (partial English translation)

Resources: Related Primary Sources

Tōshi kaden 藤氏家伝
Scroll down the list of records to #16 for Toshi kaden. There are links to other records as well, including the Gangōji engi (#17 ).

Shoku Nihongi 続日本紀
The menu lists the record by scrolls: shoku1 to shoku40. The text encoding for this index page is not set automatically—to ensure the kanji show up properly, you may need to set your web browser's text encoding to Japanese (Shift_JIS). (This is often under the "View" menu.)

Nihon koki 日本後記
Nihon koki covers the years 792 to 833, and may be helpful now that we are moving into the 9th C. The text at this link includes corresponding records from Ruijū kokushi 類聚国史, compiled by Sugawara no Michizane. (As above, you may need to set your browser's text encoding, although it often shows up correctly.)