By Giles Richter et al.


I.  Dates
II.  Times
III.  Weights and Measures
IV.  Money and Prices
V.  Statistics

BASIC INFORMATION IN ENGLISH: Herschel Webb, Research in Japanese Sources, chs. 2-3; Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan articles by Herschel Webb on "calendar, dates, and time" (I:229-232) and "weights and measures" (VIII:239-240).


Uchida Masao, Nihon rekijitsu genten. Yûzankaku, 1975.
Call no.: CE 15 .U23 1975
M/S: IX-3; IHJ: 1562

Uchida based this on the classic outdated first attempt, the Sansei sôran (M/S: IX-4), correcting its many errors. Gives nengô date, cyclical date and date in lunar calendar, and equivalent Western dates, 445-1872. Remember that for basic year/month/day searches, pay attention only to the first three columns.

Paul Yachita Tsuchihashi, Japanese Chronological Tables from A.D. 601 to 1872. Sophia University, 1952.
Call no.: CE61 .J3 T8 1952g
M/S: IX-1; IHJ: 0224

A slender 128-page paperback, this is the desktop reference for converting dates to the Western calendar. Although this is really all you need to carry out date conversions, 601-1872, it seems to be long out of print.


Earl Miner, ed., Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature. Princeton University Press, 1985.
Call no.: REF PL726.1 .M495

Part VII (pp. 399-414) gives a useful summary of the traditional system of time in Japan, but with some misleading errors. In particular, the futeijihô is described as "nonstandard reckoning," which should rather be called "temporal time."

Iwanami kogo jiten. Iwanami Shoten, 1974.
IHJ: 1369
Call no: REF PL675 .063 1982

The appendix of this or in fact any other dictionary of classical Japanese provides a basic chart for approximating hours of the day.


Webb (see first entry above) will suffice for the basic explanation. If you are looking for a more detailed description, see:

Sekai daihyakka jiten. 35 vols. Heibonsha, 1988
Call no: AE 35.2 .S49 1988

Kokushi daijiten. Yoshikawa Kôbunkan, 1979 ff
Call no.: DS833 .K64

Detailed explanations can be found in these two standard large reference works under the general entry "doryôkô" and under entries for specific units of weights or measures, including descriptions of historical variations. Be aware that variations do occur depending on locality and time, and that the subject endlessly is complicated. For the case of China, a simple table detailing basic changes in weights and measures by historical period can be found in the back of the Kadokawa kanwa chûjiten (REF PL681 .C5 K3 1967).


Katsu, Kokichi, Musui's Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai, trans. Teruko Craig (Univ. of Arizona Press, 1988).
Call no: DS881.5 .K285 A3 1988

Appendix Two (pp. 173-174) gives a brief but practical summary of monetary values and sample prices for the late Tokugawa period.

E.S. Crawcour and Kozo Yamamura, "Tokugawa Monetary System: 1787-1868," in Economic Development and Cultural Change, part I, July 1970, pp. 489-519.
Call no.: Business Serials E

Includes tables of mean price and standard deviation for rice (a unit of currency), silver, and gold during this period. Also provides price indices in Kyoto, with miso prices from 1781 through the end of the Edo period.

Nedanshi nenpyô, Asahi Shinbunsha, 1988.
Call no.: HB 235 .J3 N43 1988

Although not strictly intended for scholarly applications, this book includes tables of the Tokyo retail price index, from soba to tricycles, as well as national consumer price index and wholesale price index, price of rice, price of land, etc., from 1868-1982.


Nihon tôkei sakuin. Nichigai Associates, 1975.
Call no.: Z7554 .J3 N53 1975

This is a comprehensive index to sources for a wide range of statistical surveys by public groups. It covers 540 different works, and lists a total of 24,079 statistical tables.

Tôkei jôhô sôsakuin. Nihon tôkei kyôkai.
Call no.: Z7554 .J3 T635 1988

Published every three years, this is basically a regular update of the Nihon tôkei sakuin of 1975 (previous entry).

Nihon chôki tôkei sôran. Nihon Tôkei Kyôkai, 1987-8.
Call no.: HC462.7 .N475 1987 v.1-6
IHJ: 1116

This handy bilingual index covers a wide range of data for a period of 120 years, from 1868 to 1967. Explanations are in English and Japanese, except for the index, which is only in Japanese. It is also helpful for finding translations of statistical categories. The data covers a diversity of fields, including population, social trends, prices, and so forth. The work is divided into five volumes: I. Land and population; II-IV. Economy; V. Society and culture.

Nihon Teikoku tôkei nenkan (1882-1941) 59 vols. Ripurintosha, 1962-67.
Call no.: Lehman 351 J27 1889
IHJ: 1115

For more detailed information, these are the original annual government statistics annuals from which Nihon chôki tôkei sôran (above) was compiled.

Nihon toshi nenkan
Call no.: HA 1831 .N44

The "municipal yearbook of Japan," provides statistics by city, beginning 1930-43, 1949-present. Issues before 1982 are shelved 318.6059 T57.

Nihon arumanakku: Gendai Nihon o shiru sôgô deeta banku. Kyôikusha, 1984.
Call no.: HA 4621 .N53
IHJ: 1118

Very useful for checking more contemporary statistics, with details such as number of votes acquired by a party in national election broken down by town.

Nippon: A charted survey of Japan (in English). 1936, 1955, 1957.
Call no.: DS 801 .N62

This English version is eclectic, interesting to survey, but not likely to serve you in search of specific statistical information.

Return to Table of Contents
Return to Home