Japan’s “Last Living Ninja” Infiltrates the Cotsen Children’s Library in “The Art of Ninjutsu: Tiger Scroll”

by Tara McGowan

From frontispiece of Manga no Ninjutsu Manyū: Shōnen Shōjo Manga Tokuhon (A madcap cartoon tour of ninjutsu: a cartoon reader for boys and girls). / Kodomo otogi kai. Tōkyō: Shunkōdō, 1933. (Cohn200806)

Fig. 1: Detail of children battling from frontispiece of Manga no Ninjutsu Manyū: Shōnen Shōjo Manga Tokuhon (A madcap cartoon tour of ninjutsu: a cartoon reader for boys and girls). / Kodomo otogi kai. Tōkyō: Shunkōdō, 1933. (Cohn200806)

May 5th is Children’s Day (子供の日), a national holiday in Japan and a time when parents pray that their offspring will grow in strength and vitality, often symbolized even today by references to the samurai warriors of feudal times. The holiday is also referred to as Shōbu no sekku (Iris Festival) because shōbu (菖蒲—iris) bloom at this time of year and were thought to have medicinal properties. The word with different kanji is a homophone for shōbu (尚武—fighting spirit). On Children’s Day, girls and boys in Japan fold samurai helmets and roll up swords out of newspapers to play at battling (Fig. 1). Considering Japan’s militaristic past and tensions around violence in the media these days, this aspect of Children’s Day might seem alarming to some, but samurai warriors were not just associated with violence. Samurai continue to be admired for the strength of their spiritual/mental and physical discipline, and this is particularly true of the ninja, or “shadow warrior.”

Fig.2

Fig. 2: Sarutobi Sasuke. In Goketsu kagami (Paragon of heroism) / Enomoto, Matsunosuke. Osaka: Enomoto Shoten, 1917. (Cotsen 55052)

Few characters have caught popular attention around the globe as wildly as the ninja. Naturally, this fascination has the longest history in Japan, where ninjas have been stock characters in popular literature and cartoons since at least the early 1900s when Sekka Sanjin published “Sanada’s Three Heroes: Ninja Master Sarutobi Sasuke” (Sanada san-yūshi ninjutsu meijin Sarutobi Sasuke) (1914). Sarutobi means “jumping monkey,” and in 2016–the year of the monkey–it is important to note that the connection between monkeys and ninjas is not coincidental. According to legend, Sarutobi Sasuke—much like Tarzan—was brought up by monkeys, which accounts for his supernatural powers and unrivaled dexterity. In this 1917 picture book for children, titled “Paragon of Heroism” (Gōketsu kagami), we see him deep in meditation in the midst of a ninjutsu (ninja arts) power struggle (Fig. 2).

Fig. 3: Sarutobi Sasuke as Mickey Mouse. In Sanzoku seibatsu ikusa manga (Subjugation of bandits: manga comic) / Sugaya Yohe. Tokyo: Hiyoshido Honten, 1936. (Cotsen 55401)

Fig. 3: Sarutobi Sasuke as Mickey Mouse. In Sanzoku seibatsu ikusa manga (Subjugation of bandits: manga comic) / Sugaya Yohe. Tokyo: Hiyoshido Honten, 1936. (Cotsen 55401)

In this Japanese cartoon from 1936, entitled “Cartoon Battle to Subjugate the Bandits” (Sanzoku seibatsu ikusa manga), we see Sarutobi Sasuke again, this time using his magical ninjutsu to transform himself into a familiar “American mouse” (Fig. 3) The leader of the bandits—also a powerful ninja—combats Sasuke’s Mickey by turning into a giant cartoon cat, and the competition escalates until the bandit leader turns himself into an eagle, only to be shot by accident by one of his own retainers.

Exaggerated shape-shifting abilities are also the hallmark of this cartoon from 1933 called “A Madcap Cartoon Tour of Ninjutsu” (Manga no ninjutsu manyū) where a young ninja-in-training is taken on a series of adventures with a tanuki (raccoon dog), flying through the air on a hand-made ninja airplane (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Ninjutsu airplane. In Manga no Ninjutsu Manyū: Shōnen Shōjo Manga Tokuhon (A madcap cartoon tour of ninjutsu: a cartoon reader for boys and girls) / Kodomo otogi kai. Tōkyō: Shunkōdō, 1933. (Cohn200806)

Fig. 4: Ninjutsu airplane. In Manga no Ninjutsu Manyū: Shōnen Shōjo Manga Tokuhon (A madcap cartoon tour of ninjutsu: a cartoon reader for boys and girls) / Kodomo otogi kai. Tōkyō: Shunkōdō, 1933. (Cohn200806)

Fig. 5: Meeting the Monkey King.

Fig. 5: Meeting the Monkey King.

Eventually, they run into the Monkey King, who challenges them with various powerful ninjutsu techniques, like creating balls of fire out of thin air and clipping off the summits of distant mountains (Fig. 5).

Fig. 6: Ninjutsu tora no maki / Fujita Seiko. [Tōkyō]: [Hōbunsha], 1955.

Fig. 6: Ninjutsu tora no maki / Fujita Seiko. [Tōkyō]: [Hōbunsha], 1955.

With so much fantastical literature for children, depicting ninjas cavorting with characters from folktale and legend, it is easy to forget that there were actual, living and breathing ninjas in Japan’s not-so-distant past, but a recent acquisition in the Cotsen Children’s Library reminds us that ninjutsu was a serious and even scientific endeavor. The “Art of Ninjutsu: Tiger Scroll” (Ninjutsu tora no maki), written by Fujita Seiko, 14th Head Master of the Koga School of Ninja training, was published in emaki (picture-scroll) format as a supplement to the popular youth magazine “Baseball Boys” (Yakyū Shōnen) (Volume 9, April 1955) (Fig. 6). Fujita claimed to be the last living ninja in Japan, and the scroll format creates the sensation for young readers of opening a message from a “real” ninja from Japan’s feudal past.

At the outset, Fujita issues a warning to always be mindful of the fact that ninjutsu was designed for military detective work, or espionage, not for fighting or robbing people. Fujita is considered by some to be the last “real” ninja in the sense that the Japanese military government hired him as a martial arts instructor and strategist during World War II. Having published many books on the history of martial arts, Fujita is also recognized as a scholar, and, at his death, he bequeathed his extensive library to the city of Odawara. Fujita believed that ninjas were born, not made, so he never found anyone worthy of training as his successor. Nevertheless, he often wrote for popular audiences, and in “Tiger Scroll,” he displays his notoriously contradictory character by, on the one hand, attempting to dispel the exaggerated myths and legends of ninja lore, while on the other, capitalizing on the popular mystique.

Fig. 7: Sarutobi Sasuke’s escape in a moat.

It is easy to imagine the readers of Baseball Boys on Children’s Day in 1955 relishing all the practical tips Fujita offers for developing “real” ninjutsu techniques in their own backyards. He introduces the arts of the ninja by explaining that they are based on the five elements: water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. The first chapter of the scroll focuses on the water arts: “How to use water to disappear, how to walk on water, and how to stay concealed under the water.” Fujita shows how Sarutobi Sasuke, whom he treats as a historical figure, escaped from Tokugawa Ieyasu’s guards by creating a diversion with water in a pot nearby and then hiding submerged in the moat (Fig. 7).

Fig. 8: Floating geta.

He also reveals that there is no magic involved in walking on water if you have specially designed floating geta sandals (Fig. 8).

In the second chapter, he explains that, in addition to the “public arts” (表の術) of the five elements, there are the five “hidden arts” (裏の術) of humans, birds, mammals, insects, and fish. Fujita recommends having several live snakes, mice, and toads on hand for the right occasion. For instance, a castle guard might be getting sleepy by 2:00 am. When the ninja notices the guard yawning or rubbing his eyes, he knows it is the perfect time to let a mouse loose between the sliding doors. While the guard is preoccupied with chasing after the mouse, the ninja can get in to steal important documents or even the head of an unsuspecting daimyo (samurai lord). Drawing on popular culture, Fujita points out that Nikki Danjo—hero of theater and film—failed when he attempted the mouse arts so he had to resort to the fire arts, using firecrackers and gunpowder to distract his pursuers. Later in the scroll, he also includes under “fire arts” using the sun’s rays to blind ones pursuer, or, when that is not possible, having mirrors at hand to reflect the sun into their eyes.

Having just warned his audience that ninjutsu should not be used as an excuse for stealing, Fujita proceeds to explain how the legendary thief Nezumi Kozo Jirokichi—Mouse-boy Jirokichi (so named because of his ability to mimic mouse squeaks)—was challenged by a government official to steal his sword from his house without getting caught. As it turned out, the government official was moonlighting by making hair combs, and Jirokichi was able to mimic the rhythmical sound of the comb-carving, which also works to make people sleepy, to sneak in and steel the sword right out from under the official’s nose. When useful sounds do not present themselves, however, Fujita also mentions that it is possible to induce a deep sleep with a sprinkle of roasted wolf spider or silkworm powder.

Fig. 9: Projecting a giant toad.

My personal favorite art of the ninja is the manner in which you can use the shadow cast by a small toad placed strategically next to a lamp to create the impression of a giant toad (Fig. 9). There is also the trick of letting a snake go in the maids’ quarters so that the samurai on guard will have to investigate the source of their screams, and the ninja can get by their defenses. By the 1950s, it was unlikely that there were too many maids’ quarters available, but no doubt Fujita’s readers readily translated this trick to their sisters’ bedrooms! He concludes the section with the comment that there are also arts of insects, which involve impersonating centipedes, butterflies, and spiders, but for these arts he offers no explanation.

In the next chapter, he discusses how to use the sounds of grasses and trees to suggest to one’s pursuer that one is going in the opposite direction from what one actually intends, and then there are ways to hide in a hole in the ground and then release snakes and birds to reassure one’s pursuers that no one is actually there. The plant arts and soil arts also involve various forms of camouflage, which, as Fujita points out is no different from what the soldiers use in the military today when they want to blend into their surroundings.

Fig. 10: Priest Fudenbō.

Fig. 10: Priest Fudenbō.

In the second half of the scroll, Fujita shifts into various aspects of physical training that give the impression of flying. These include scaling the top of a five-storied pagoda by climbing quickly as a squirrel up a nearby pine tree and jumping to the roof of the pagoda from one of its branches or running up the wall and to the ceiling so fast that your pursuer can’t even see your legs move and then falling gracefully to your feet. The priest Fudenbō of Shiga Prefecture was famous for this ability, but Fujita claims that with practice, anyone can achieve this technique (Fig. 10). Ninjas are said to be able to jump up to 5 or 6 meters, and this feat is also achieved by a regular training regime. The method Fujita prescribes is to start with 2-meter high hemp or flax plants and by tying them together creating a high level to jump up on. If one practices every day, one won’t notice that the flax plants keep growing a little higher every day and before you know it, you will be jumping the full 6 meters!

Fig. 11: Ninja crab walk.

Fig. 11: Ninja crab walk.

In addition to flying like a squirrel, there are techniques for doubling the distance one walks in a day by walking like a crab. Fujita claims that this sideways walking technique, once perfected, allows the legs to stretch twice the distance of walking forwards, and it has the added benefit of allowing one to walk in and out of narrow passageways (Fig. 11).

Ninjas are also said to have hands like knives. This is achieved by intense training, initially forcing their hands up to their wrists and their feet up to their ankles in sand, then progressing to mud, and finally to soil. According to Fujita, this training also builds the muscles on hands and feet necessary for climbing nimbly across the ceiling like a gecko. Climbing across ceilings like a gecko can’t be easy when carrying the various costumes and paraphernalia Fujita recommends ninjas have at hand for all eventualities. For instance, ninjas typically wear special two-toned clothing to appear, when necessary, like more than one person, and some ninjas carry several women’s masks with them to pass as different women.

Fig. 12: Walking across a wet sliding door.

Fig. 12: Walking across a wet sliding door.

Fujita insists that not everyone is born to be a ninja. To achieve ninja credentials, students of the craft need to train themselves to hold their breath for up to ten minutes under water, walk across wet paper over sliding doors without leaving a mark, and practice shallow breathing by sticking cotton to the ends of their noses and keeping it still (Fig. 12). It involves both intense physical and spiritual training, which leads Fujita to his concluding remarks about the use of mudras and incantations (Fig. 13).

Fig. 13: Mudras used in ninjutsu.

Fig. 13: Mudras used in ninjutsu.

Everyone knows that when Sarutobi Sasuke disappears or transforms, he does a mudra with his hands and says some magic words (see Fig. 2), but Fujita explains that this is not actually magic. The mudra and incantation are used to focus the mind. In fact, Fujita argues that ninja training is not about magic at all. It just takes rigorous training and knowledge of science that is beyond the ken of regular people. Come to think of it, that is not unlike how magicians in the West describe their magic when sharing their secrets. The only difference is that magicians are usually talking about sleight-of-hand, whereas Fujita is describing sleight of the whole body!

Fig. 14: Origami newspaper kabuto helmets and other Children's Day decorations. Contributed by the author.

Fig. 14: Origami newspaper kabuto helmets and other Children’s Day decorations. Contributed by the author.

Of course, as tantalizing as all these techniques may sound, many of them take extensive training and are downright dangerous. Although Fujita does not provide any such caveats, I would suggest that a responsible adult should be present when attempting any of the foregoing suggestions. For those of us who weren’t born to be ninjas and can’t hold our breaths for ten minutes, jump 6 meters, or climb across the ceiling like a gecko, there is always the old standby of folding paper samurai helmets and rolling up newspapers into swords to play at fighting (Fig. 14). I invite you to develop your fighting spirit by transforming into samurai warriors this Children’s Day with these handy instructions for making origami kabuto (helmets). Happy battling!

Monkey Craze

a Monkey King performer on the street of New York City

A handsome Monkey King on the street of New York City. The soft-spoken performer, whose name I neglected to ask, was from Wenzhou, a coastal city in the province of Zhejiang, China. Photo taken on January 3, 2016.

The Monkey King Cannot Somersault out of Buddha's Palm

Front: [The Monkey King Cannot Somersault out of Buddha’s Palm] An amulet based on the legend of Monkey’s fight again Buddha. Made by the “lost wax method” of casting in brass, 32 mm. Acquired in Bangkok, Thailand. Curtesy of Tara McGowan, Japanese Metadata Assistant at Cotsen, and Kaja McGowan, the Director of the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University.

The lunar new year of 2016, or the Year of the Monkey according to Chinese zodiac, kicked off on Monday, February 8th. This new year is perhaps the most beloved of all to the Chinese, even more popular than the Year of the Dragon, mainly because the humanoid animal ties to the Monkey King, a folklore character and supernatural being that has fascinated the Chinese for centuries. The Monkey’s story was loosely based on the pilgrimage of Xuanzang (玄奘), a monk who took the Silk Road in the early Tang dynasty to obtain original Buddhist scriptures from India. In folk imagination as well as in Journey to the West (西游记, hereafter Journey), a Chinese novel published in the sixteenth century, Monkey is a rebel-turned disciple and escort of a fictionalized Xuanzang, who is destined to conquer eighty-one ordeals before attaining Buddhahood. Hero and trickster rolled into one, brave and defiant, funny but flawed, Monkey has been a perennial source of inspiration for every medium and format of literature, art, and entertainment ranging from shadow plays to children’s literature to video games. Journey has also circulated widely in Japan and other East and Southeast Asian countries. To celebrate the Year of the Monkey, we gingerly awakened more than a dozen monkeys from the stacks of the Cotsen Children’s Library and invite them to greet the world–gingerly, because, if you are familiar with Journey, Monkey is known to wreak havoc when rubbed the wrong way.

Monkey King From the Chinese Collection

The Illustrated and Annotated Journey to the West

The Illustrated and Annotated Journey to the West (繪圖加批西遊記). 上海: 共和書局, 1919. 8 volumes. (Cotsen 75021)

Monkey (lower left) as depicted in an illustrated version of the Journey published in the early Republic of China. Other figures in the picture include his master Xuanzang, his fellow disciples Pigsy and Sandy, Emperor Taizong of Tang, and Chancellor Wei Zheng.

Journey to the West

Journey to the West (西遊記). China, [1920s?] Hanging scrolls. (Cotsen 72805)

One panel from a set of hanging scrolls illustrates a scene from Chapter 3 of Journey, “The Four Seas and Thousand Mountains All Bow to Submit.” Wild beasts and demon kings come to pay homage to Monkey, after he successfully obtains weapons for his monkey kingdom. Their outfits closely resemble costume of traditional Chinese opera.

Little Friends 1956

Little Friends (小朋友). 1956, no. 6. Cover art by Ye Jun (叶軍) and Dong Tianye (董天野). (Cotsen 153026)

First launched in Shanghai in 1922, Little Friends is the longest-running children’s magazine in China. The cover of this issue depicts the legendary battle between Monkey and Erlang, a deity.

Drawing for Young People (少年儿童图画). Volume 7. 上海: 少年儿童出版社, 1963. "The Show is On!" by Yao Zhongyu. (Cotsen 63786)

Drawing for Young People (少年儿童图画). Volume 7. 上海: 少年儿童出版社, 1963. “The Show is On!” by Yao Zhongyu. (Cotsen 63786)

A picture in a fine arts textbook for the fourth grade in elementary school. Two children play puppet theatre on a make-shift stage, admired by a loyal audience that is their toys. Monkey, the main character of the show, wears a facial mask in the signature style of Peking Opera.

The Diary of Lei Feng

The Diary of Lei Feng (雷鋒日記). 北京: 解放軍文艺社, 1963. (Cotsen N-000034)

The heroic Monkey even found his way into another hero’s diary. Lei Feng (1940-1962) was a soldier of the People’s Liberation Army of China and, after his death from an accident, was characterized as a selfless Communist for the entire nation to emulate. In his posthumously published diary, Lei commented on Monkey Thrice Subdues the White-Bone Demon, a movie he watched in February 1962. He analyzed each character in the political context of Communism-Imperialism conflicts and concluded that a feisty and sharp-eyed Monkey has a lot to teach about fighting revisionist enemies.

Sun Wukong Wreaks Havoc in the Atomic World (孙悟空大闹原子世界) / Guo Yishi (郭以实); illustrated by Yan Shanchun (阎善春). 上海: 少年儿童出版社, 1980. (Cotsen 42623)

Sun Wukong Wreaks Havoc in the Atomic World (孙悟空大闹原子世界) / Guo Yishi (郭以实); illustrated by Yan Shanchun (阎善春). 上海: 少年儿童出版社, 1980. (Cotsen 42623)

Will his ancient magic power keep Monkey invincible in a futuristic world driven by atomic science? We shall find out from this science fiction published in post-Cultural Revolution China, after its new leader Deng Xiaoping navigated the nation away from class struggle and emphasized science and technology as forces of productivity.

Seventy-two Transformations (七十二变) / by Su Gang (苏刚). 成都: 四川人民出版社, 1980. 14 leaves. (Cotsen B-000003)

Seventy-two Transformations (七十二变) / by Su Gang (苏刚). 成都: 四川人民出版社, 1980. 14 leaves. (Cotsen B-000003)

This split-page book is based on one of Monkey’s famous powers: transformation. He would have been an A+ student if he were in Professor McGonagall’s Transfiguration class, because he excels in freely transforming himself into any age, gender, species, object, and size. During the treacherous pilgrimage, Monkey has to resort to his transformation skills often to save everybody’s skin. Each of the 14 leaves of the book is divided into three parts: head, upper body, and lower body. The preface informs young readers that, instead of the proverbial 72 transformations that Monkey is known to be capable of, this book allows him to achieve 2,744 types of shapeshifting. Is that true? You do the math.

Sun Wukong (孙悟空). 1985, no. 2. 北京: 中国电影出版社. (Cotsen 90239)

Sun Wukong (孙悟空). 1985, no. 2. 北京: 中国电影出版社. (Cotsen 90239)

That Monkey’s name “SUN Wukong” was adopted by a children’s magazine as its title attests his enduring charm. Launched by the China Film Press thirty-six years ago in 1980, another year of the Monkey, SUN Wukong was a bimonthly pictorial magazine devoted to animated films and comic strips. Its main offering was animated spin-offs printed in full color, which must have been welcomed during much of the 1980s, when household ownership of television sets in China was so low that many Chinese used to gather at a neighbor’s house to watch TV. The magazine title on its cover is the brush calligraphy of SONG Qingling (宋庆龄, 1893-1981), the widow of President SUN Yat-sen and a leader of children’s literacy and welfare issues in China. Cotsen’s copy of the magazine was formerly part of the collection of an elementary school library in Beijing.

Journey to the West: Wukong Takes in Bajie (西游记: 悟空降八戒). [1980s] 11 sheets. (Cotsen 92466)

Journey to the West: Wukong Takes in Bajie (西游记: 悟空降八戒). [1980s] 11 sheets. (Cotsen 92466)

The episode in which Monkey takes in Pigsy as his fellow disciple is the subject matter of a set of ten postcards issued by the Nanjing Post Office in the 1980s. Cotsen’s holding is the original art work, which was outlined in pen and colored. The visual style of Monkey and Pigsy are vaguely reminiscent of shadow puppets.

Little Friends (小朋友). 1985, no. 10. "Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys Visit Japan," papercutting by Kuromiya Masae (黒宮正栄). (Cotsen 153026)

Little Friends (小朋友). 1985, no. 10. “Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys Visit Japan,” papercutting by Kuromiya Masae (黒宮正栄). (Cotsen 153026)

As a segue into Monkey in the Japanese collection, this last picture was created by a Japanese papercutting artist but published in the Little Friends magazine in China. Two amiable-looking monkeys fly towards Mount Fuji through a sky that rains cherry blossom petals. The image refers to an exhibition of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys sent from China to Japan as part of animal diplomacy. A subtle reference to the Monkey King–traveling by riding a cloud is another of Monkey’s famous skills–sweetens the message of Sino-Japanese friendship, because it implies that these monkey ambassadors would be warmly received in Japan, just like the legend of Monkey had become part of Japanese popular culture. The two countries experienced a honeymoon period during the 1980s, when Chinese public memory of Japanese war crimes remained dormant and Japan’s wartime atrocities and responsibilities had not begun to dominate public discourse on Sino-Japanese relations.

Monkey King From the Japanese Collection

Shelves and shelves of Monkey King stories or editions and adaptations of Journey to the West in the Cotsen Children's Library. Photo taken from Cotsen's Japanese section.

Shelves and shelves of Monkey King stories or editions and adaptations of Journey to the West in the Cotsen Children’s Library. Photo taken from Cotsen’s Japanese section.

The earliest Japanese translations of Journey in the Cotsen Children’s Library were dated in the 1780s. Monkey’s story has inspired illustrated editions, retellings, sequels, playing cards, sugoroku games, and media adaptations in Japan.

Journey to the West

Journey to the West (繪本西遊記初編) / translated by Kutsuki Sanjin (口木山人); illustrated by Ōhara Tōya (大原東野). [大坂]: 前川文榮堂, [1806?]. (Cotsen 90024)

Xuanzang, Monkey, and Pigsy as imagined in one of the earliest illustrated Japanese editions of Journey.

Journey to the West (西遊記) / by Nakagawa Ryūgai (中川史英); illustrated by Yoshimoto Yuki (吉本有機). 東京: 富里昇進堂發行, 1910. (Cotsen 99402)

Journey to the West (西遊記) / by Nakagawa Ryūgai (中川史英); illustrated by Yoshimoto Yuki (吉本有機). 東京: 富里昇進堂發行, 1910. (Cotsen 99402)

A picture book version of Journey. This page portrays the battle between Monkey and Princess Iron Fan. In what seems like a prescient adoption of DNA cloning technology, Monkey produces copies of himself from his own hair to outnumber enemies in desperate situations.

Sun Wukong's Journey to the West: A Sugoroku Game (孫悟空西遊記雙六) / illustrated by Tani Senba (谷洗馬). 東京: 日本飛行研究會, 1920. (Cotsen 153579)

Sun Wukong’s Journey to the West: A Sugoroku Game (孫悟空西遊記雙六) / illustrated by Tani Senba (谷洗馬). 東京: 日本飛行研究會, 1920. (Cotsen 153579)

A sugoroku gameboard based on Journey, beginning with how Monkey assumes leadership by discovering a hidden cave behind a waterfall for his fellow monkeys and ending with a visit he pays to the moon palace.

Xuanzang’s Work

Tripiṭaka. Sūtrapiṭaka. Prajñāpāramitā(大般若波羅蜜多經). Volume 429 / translated by Xuanzang. China, 1117. (Scheide Library 3.1.16)

It wouldn’t be complete to end this post without mentioning the Buddhist canons that had spurred Xuanzang’s trek to India. Princeton University Library houses multiple editions of Tripiṭaka. Sūtrapiṭaka. Prajñāpāramitā(大般若波羅蜜多經), which Xuanzang is attributed to have translated from Sanskrit into Chinese. The earliest three volumes held at Princeton were printed between AD 1112 and AD 1310 during the Song dynasty (East Asian Library and William H. Scheide Library). Volume 358 of the scripture, copied in brush pen on a scroll by a Japanese monk in AD 1259, has been shared at the Princeton University Digital Library.