The Tôyô Bunko Publications

Series C, Volume VIII.





Editor's Foreword.

 The original of the Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih 元朝祕史 (A Secret History of the Mongols) was compiled during the reigns of T'ai-tsu 太祖︀ and T'ai-tsung 太宗 of the Yüan dynasty. It was first written in the Mongolian language by the use of Uigur characters. At the beginning of the Ming dynasty, the court caused the writing to be retranscribed into Chinese ideographs. The new book contained the original text transliterated into Chinese characters, and a somewhat free literary Chinese translation as well as a colloquial Chinese translation of each word in the original. It was published under the title “Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih.” The copies preserved, however, were so scarce that few men knew about it. Its first introduction into Japan dates from about 1901 or 1902 when WÊN of the T'ing-shih 文廷式 Ch'ing dynasty presented Dr. NAITÔ 內藤 and Dr. NAKA 那珂 with a MS. copy from the one in his possession.

 On receiving this copy, Dr. NAKA was overjoyed as he anticipated its great value in his study of Mongolian history. But the work being in the Mongolian language transliterated into Chinese ideographs, it was imperative that one should possess an accurate knowledge of Mongolian in order to appreciate its real value. To his great regret, in those days there were almost none in Japan who were versed in the language. In spite of his repeated eager appeal to younger scholars to study Mongolian, they all hesitated, unable to bring themselves to undertake the study. Consequently, the professor finally determined to put the difficult task upon himself and was assiduously engaged in it. Now there were extremely few in reference-books the field. The Mongolian-Russian-French dictionary by KOWALEVSKY or the Mongolian-Russian dictionary by GOLSTUNSKY had not yet been introduced to Japan. Only SCHMIDT's grammar and dictionary containing only a very limited vocabulary were available. So the difficulty Dr. NAKA encountered was enormous. With his unrivalled enthusiasm and diligence, he at length mastered the Mongolian language and succeeded [633]in appreciating the real value of the Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih. His translation of the work into Japanese dated from this time, and after several years of tremendous assiduity, completed it in 1907. This was his Chingis-khan-jitsuroku 成吉思汗實錄.

 The chief characteristic of the Chingis-khan-jitsuroku consists in the various vocabularies and styles of the past and present, which Dr. NAKA cleverly mixed and compromised in translating the original text word by word in strict accordance with the context and grammar of the original. His utmost care, painstaking and efforts in trying accurately to express the meaning of each original word, to preserve the sentiment of the original, and to give full play to the sprit of the original document may readily be observed in his choice of each word translated, in his manner of composition, and in his artistic sentiment pervading the whole text. It also accounts for his adopting a unique style somewhat unfamiliar to the reader. Indeed, Dr. NAKA, thoroughly acquainted with Japanese literature of the past and present, versed in the classics and modern literature of China, and appreciating the essence of the Mongolian language, was the only scholar qualified for this task. Moreover, it may be seen that his was of a most disinterested scholastic conscience. It goes without saying that this made a new epoch in the study of Mongolian history in the country and an immense contribution in the progress of Orientalism. When the book was first published, however, the public scarcely realized its real value, even among scholars, few appreciated Dr. NAKA's labour and achievement. This serves to prove that thirty years ago the level of our culture was not very high and the study of science was not of so high degree. The present editor sincerely regretted it, and, on behalf of the academic world, hoped that the time would soon come when Dr. NAKA's supreme achievement would be recognized.

 It was under these circumstances that Dr. NAKA'S Japanese translation of the Yüan-cha'o-pi-shih was completed. However, the Mongolian language of the book, unlike the original which was represented by Uigur characters, being one transliterated into Chinese ideographs, it was impossible to assert the absolute accuracy of this book in giving the original words and sounds. Hence the necessity of transliterating the text back to accurate Mongolian. Not until then could be established the real value of A Serect History of the Mongols. It was indeed Nr. DAKA, Dr. Naka himself that, feeling this necessity, contemplated undertaking the task. Unfortunately, however, before embarking himself in the work, he passed away. The present editor who devoted himself to the study of Mongolian history and the Mongolian language, suffered the greatest loss the in death of Dr. NAKA and secretly pledged himself, in pursuance of the deceased doctor's will, to consider it his own duty to accomplish the task. Only more urgent scholarly matters demanding immediate attention intervened, and a number of years elapsed before he, spending a few years at the work, succeeded in finishing it roughly in the 6th year of the Taishô era (1917). The first draft of the present book was thus made.

 The draft was revised and supplemented several times for more than twenty years and the time has at last come to publish the book for the first time. editor, Though the of course, regards it, not as a perfect work, but as one having a great deal to be corrected by other scholars, he is somewhat satisfied with himself recalling his determination a number of years ago to undertake Dr. NAKA's unfinished task.

 In spite of the fact that the value of the Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih as a foundamental material in the study of the founding of Mongolian state was long ago noticed by CH'IEN Ta-hsin 錢大昕 and others, there was no printed copy available of the work when Dr. NAKA's Chingis-khan-jitsuroku was published. But the following year (the 34th year of Kuang-hsü 光緖) saw the publication of a new edition by YEH Tê-hui 葉德輝, which came to attract the attention of scholars in the East and West. The original text on which the edition by YEH Tê-hui was based probably the MS. copy possessed by WÊN T'ing-shih as has already been pointed out by CH'ÊN Yüan 陳垣. The edition has some omissions and errors. The edition included in the third series of the Ssǔ-pu-ts'ung-k'an


四部叢刊 published in 1936 seems to retain more of the real character of the original. Now, in China, it is true, a book by CH'ÊN Yüan entitled Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih-i-yin-yung-tzǔ-k'ao 元朝祕史譯音用字攷 came out in 1934, but it seems that no one has yet attempted to retransliterate the book into Mongolian language. This was attempted over fifty years ago by POZDNIEFF, famous Russian mongolist.It was very unfortunate, however, that his work was not completed, and even more so that copies of the book in which a part of his work was published were so few that they are no more available. In recent years, HAENISCH again determined to accomplish it, and he succeeded in publishing a part in 1931 and the translation of the whole in 1937. PELLIOT, though reported also to be engaged in the same work, it seems, has not yet published his translation. Recently in Japan, Manchoukou, and Mongolia various retransliterations of the text have been issued. For example, Môbun-genchô-hishi or Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih in Mongolian, Vol. I compiled by Mr. HATTORI Shirô 服部四郞 has lately been published while BÜKəKəSIG 卜和克什克 and KESIGBATU have sent out the whole or part of the book in modern Mongolian. But these are by no means an attempt at the exact retranslation of the Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih into Mongolian in the time when the original text was written ; the translators seem to have had other objects. Mr. KAMIYA Kôhei 神︀谷衡平, Professor of the Tôkyô Foreign Language School, and MERSE, a Dakhurian, are also reported to have completed a translation. It may be added here that Mr. KOBAYASHI Takashirô 小林高四郞 has translated the book into modern Japanese under the title Môko-no-hishi 蒙古の祕史 (A Secret History of Mongolia). The writter is overjoyed that the Yüan-ch'ao-pishih should have thus revealed its whole visage to the scholastic circles of the world and made itself known extensively to the various nations of Eastern Asia, which indicates the progress of culture and also of the enhancement of our national prestige. In view of the fact that such translations are widely circulated especially in Japan, and Dr. NAKA'S Chingis-khan-jitsuroku was not noticed at all while he lived, one will be amazed at the marked advance of our culture and progress of science in the more than thirty years that have elapsed since. The completion of the present translation left over by Dr. NAKA may be considered a boon of the progress of culture and one of the blessings of the prosperous reign.

 In conclusion, the editor would like to express his thanks to the late Professor DEMURA Ryôichi 出村良一 and Assistant Professor TAKEUCHI Ikunosuke 竹內幾之助 of the Tôkyô Foreign Language School who have for years cooperated with the editor in revising the manuscript. It is much to be lamented that the promising Professor DEMURA suddenly suffered a premature death. Thanks are due to Messrs. WADA Sei 和田 淸, ISHIDA Mikinosuke 石田幹之助 and IWAI Hirosato 岩井大慧 who have so kindly and assiduously been engaged in compiling indexes. The Tôyô Bunko must also be mentioned here for considerable help it has rendered in making this work possible.

SHIRATORI Kurakichi.

Feb. 11, 1942.


Publisher's Explanations.

 This book, based on the Yüan-ch'ao-pi-shih published by YEH Tê-hui 葉德輝 and reproduced so faithfully after it that even its leaf numbers have been followed, consists of the Mongolian text transliterated into Chinese ideographs and of the romanized transliteration of the most probable sounds in the original given on the left-hand side of the Mongolian text.

 As it is evident that leaf 35 of Bk. 8 of the YEH edition should follow leaf 37 of the same Bk., the order has been rectified, leaf 36 of the YEH version being put at leaf 36, leaf 37 at leaf 36, and leaf 35 at leaf 37. Though lines 3-4, leaf 17b, Bk. 9, coincide with lines 1-2, leaf 19a, the same Bk., the former has been struck off as, because of the absence of a general translation. it must no doubt be a strayed section. By the way, these emendations had already been pointed out by Dr. NAKA who had consulted the edition by WÊN T'ing-shih on which the YEH edition was founded. The edition in the Ssǔ-pu-ts'ung-k'an does not contain these defects.

 The YEH edition adopts such signs as reproduced here. (Ex. 1).

​(太祖︀)名​​成吉思​ ​皇帝的​中᠋中᠋罕訥​ ​根源​​忽札兀舌᠋兒​
(EX. 1. BK. 1, 1a)

A double side-line is attached to a personal name,and a single one to each word, for the purpose of indicating the relations between words. The present book has struck off these signs as the romanized transliteration clarifies the relations between words.

 Parentheses in the text indicate emendations or supplements. Some emendations rendered by means of omisslon, however, could not be indicated in the text; they will be pointed out in the indexes to be published in the future.

 When such a sign as 中 or 舌 attached to the left-hand shoulder of the Chinese transliteration is revised, it has been found technically impossible to print it in parentheses. Such emendations will also be pointed out in the index to be published in near future.

 Though this does not occur in the original text, the sign-is inserted between two words closely related to each other in meaning or grammatically.

 This book has unified the use of the notations indicating the personal names, using 人名 for a man's name, 婦人名 for a woman's name, 兒名 for a child's name, and 女名 for a girl's name, respectively. And as for mei 每 in tsa-mei 咱每 (we) and an-mei 俺每 (we), it has been struck off because tsa 咱 and an 俺 already signify the plural number. They all read 咱 and 俺. The particle i in the Mongolian language is represented by 宜 or 宜, and in by 囙 or 因, but only 冝 and 因 have been adopted here.

 In representing an original sound in the Mongolian language, the system generally adopted in transliterating literary Mongolian has been used The provisions for transliterating the original sounds into Chinese ideographs are as follows:

 The seven Mongolian vowels: a, e, i, o, u, ö, ü are divided into three genders--male, female, and neuter:

Male vowels (posterior vowels) a, o, u,
Female vowels (anterior vowels) e, ö, ü,
Neuter vowels (anterior vowels) i,

 As every one knows, the general rule is not to use a male and a female vowel in one word ; if the initial vowel is a male, the vowels occurring after it in the word should be male ; likewise in the case of the initial female vowel; but in the case of the initial neuter vowel either a male or a female may follow in the word.

 Though a consonant is neuter in Mongolian a q or γ sound may occur only with a male vowel, and a k or g sound only with a female vowel. In differentiating a q or γ sound from a k or g sound. the original text placed the sign 中 on the left- hand shoulder of the Chinese ideograph representing the sound. (Ex. 2)

​狗名​中᠋合撒舌᠋兒​​Qasar​ ​狗​​那中᠋孩​​noγai​
(EX. 2. BK. 2, 1/a)

It may be supposed that as a q or γ sound in Mongolian contained a breathing h sound which did not exist in the Chinese language of that time and was heard to be a middle sound located [630]between g and h. In the case of a word of a male vowel, no 中 sign precedes a neuter vowel i, it being pronounced, not qi or γi, but ki or gi. So a γ sound preceding the particle -i is converted to a g sound.

 An h sound occuring at the initial part of a word, which has almost disappeared now-a-days is never accompanied by the sign 中 in a word containing a male vowel.

 As the consonant r has never existed in Chinese, the original text indicated the r sound by the sign 舌 placed on the left-hand shoulder of a Chinese ideograph :representing an l sound. (Ex. 3)

​上​​迭額舌᠋列​​deġere​ ​天​​騰格舌᠋理​​teṅgeri​
(EX. 3. BK. 1,1a)

 By the way, the g or γ sound occurring between two vowels is a sort of semi-vowel to be variously pronounced with a weak half-voiced g, w or y sound according to the quality of the following vowel.

 Consonants not accompanied by a vowel, such as l, m, s,d, γ and g are respectively indicated by a smaller-typed 勒, 木, 思, 惕,黑, or 克. (Ex. 4) As no Chinese ideograph represents a consonant only, a smaller-typed ideograph was adopted for the purpose. Only r and s occurring at the end of a word are indicated respectively by large-typed 舌᠋兒 and 思.

(EX. 4. BK. 1, 1a)

 In romanizing the text, special care has been taken in the following points. As a rule, an aspirated sound of a Chinese ideograph has been converted with a voiceless sound, and a not aspirated sound of a Chinese ideograph with a voiced sound. For example, t'a 塔 and č'a 察 have been transcribed into ta and ča, ta 答 and ča 札 into da and ža. But 圖舌᠋兒, 突舌᠋兒, 禿舌᠋兒 途舌᠋兒, 都舌᠋兒, particles in the dative case, have been converted, in accordance with Mongolian grammar, regardless of the nature of the Chinese ideograph, with a voiceless -tur (-tür) after consonants r, s, d, γ, g, and b, and with a -dur (dür) after other consonants and vowels. This measure has been taken because the grammar in those days is not yet known definitely.

 Particles in the dative and the instrumental case were were several, several, and were inflected according to the nature of the final sound of the preceeding noun or its meaning. Though the inflection of particles and their relation with nouns involve problems yet to be solved, the present book has represented -iyan (-iyen), the particle in the dative case and -iyar (-iyer), the particle in the instrumental case in the traditional grammar, respectively with -yan (-yen) and -yar (-yer). An leaf instance from 32b, Bk. 1, is reproduced here.


 In Mongolian, as a rule, a long vowel does not exist. Only when two similar vowels occur together, or when two vowels only are indicated as a result of a γ̇ or g sound before or after rendered voiceless, the second vowel is marked as if it were a long vowel with a sign-over it. For instance, as na-ya 納牙 in Bk. 7 must be converted into Najaγ̇a on account of the phrase na-ya-a 納牙阿 in Bk. 5, it has been rendered Najā.

 K'un 昆 *güm in the phrase Sang-k'un 桑昆 *sengum on leaf 26a, Bk. 5, may be considered to have ended in an n sound like gün. For some definite reason, however, it has been rendered with an m.

 The title “Onyaku-Môbun-Genchô-hishi 音譯蒙文元朝祕史 (Yüan- ch'ao-pi-shih in Romanized Mongolian)” was chosen by Dr. SHIRATORI, but while this book was going through the he press, was unfortunately taken ill and passed away. He was unable to attend to reading the proofs and other matters concerning this work. It must be mentioned that, should this book contain any error or omission, only those who have been engaged in preparing the publication are responsible for it.

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