The oldest historical work existing in Japan is the Kojiki. The Kojiki is a three volume set with the first volume dedicated to Japanese mythology, the second to the dynasties of emperors Jinmu through Oujin, and the third marks the reigns of emperors Nintoku through Suiko. The books were arranged by Hieda no Are and Oo no Yasumaro in 712 for the emperor Tenmu. Eight years later, in 720, Oo no Yasumaro and Toneri Shinnou finished a thirty volume work called Nihon Shoki. This book, through its chronology of emperors from memorable history, was an attempt to vindicate the role of the emperor as the political authority. Nihon Shoki has been edited and reissued many times. Here are a few of the titles: Shoku Nihongi (797), Kogo Shuui (c. 807), Nihon Kouki (840), and Shoku Nihon Kouki (869).
More on the history of Japanese literature next week.