COVER TEXT ILLUSTRATION

   A reader of history planned by Konakamura Yoshikata and Ochiai Naobumi, rising scholars of Japanese literature, in order to teach history of Japan to children at home and nurture their sense of loyalty and filial piety.

  Konakamura and Ochiai had been planning to publish a series of history books. Encouraged by the issue of Imperial Rescript on Education, they offered the plan to Hakubun-Kan. Considering Japan's social and educational situation, Hakubun-Kan decided to publish the series in parallel with Shônen Bungaku [Juvenile Literature] series. Therefore, at the beginning of the book, it carries the Imperial Rescript on Education in red print.

  Two stories are collected in Vol. One: the life of an Imperial Prince Yamato Takeru no Mikoto who since his teens fought from west to east by the Emperor's command; and the story of Soga brothers who finally avenge their father's death. Both stories are described in tones full of admiration. Many dots alongside the characters emphasize the authors' enthusiasm.

  Takahashi Gorô responded negatively to the book arguing that it was written in an out-of-date style and the stories were "unsuitable for modern ideas." Others responded favorably. When Vol. Two appeared, even Takahashi admired it as an appropriate book, which shows the increasing nationalistic trend in Japanese society.

  The series was completed in twelve volumes in October 1891. Thereafter historic story books for children became very popular along with the military expanse of Japan in the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War.

  The cover picture was changed and the Imperial Rescript on Education was omitted from the third reprint. In 1897 twelve volumes were bound together into three volumes, each bearing a different title. The one including the original Vol. One reached its 34th printing in 1915.