Dr. Yoichi Isahaya

post-doctoral fellow of the ERC Project “Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia”


Short biography:

I am a post-doctoral fellow of the ERC Project “Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, currently revising my dissertation, the Dialogue Concerning Two Astral Sciences: Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, a Sage of Cathay, and Their Chinese Calendar in the Zīj-i Īlkhānī (c. 1272 CE), for publication. My current research project, under the supervision of Michal Biran, is to find, calibrate and assess a wide range of “Chinese knowledge” and its donors in the Ilkhanid dynasty (ca. 1256–after 1335), as it appears in Persian sources.


My dissertation was submitted to the University of Tokyo in 2015. In it, I scrutinized an actual phase of cross-cultural dialogue between the Muslim polymath Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (1201–1274) and a “sage of Cathay” by focusing on the Chinese calendar in Ṭūsī’s Zīj-i Īlkhānī [Ilkhanid Astronomical Handbook] (ca. 1272). Throughout the analysis, I elucidated a two-way exchange of astral sciences in Mongol Eurasia and their roots in the east-west dialogue in the Tang-Abbasid period. The dissertation also includes a full edition and translation of the Chinese calendar, thereby bridging the gulf between minute philological analysis and big-picture historical thinking.


Now, I am organizing a Persian reading group to read a Persian chronicle, the so-called Tārīkh-i Waṣṣāf [The History of Waṣṣāf]. It was written by an early fourteenth-century Ilkhanid historian, dealing with much of the period of Mongol rule in the Middle East. The group is divided into two classes according to their experience: For veterans, reading the main text; for beginners, reading its simplified version (taḥrīr). Anyone who is interested in reading the text with us will be highly welcome!



List of publications:


Articles and Book Chapters

  1. Yoichi Isahaya. “Sino-Iranica in Pax Mongolica: The Elusive Participation of Syriac-Rite Christians in the Ilkhanid Translation Project.” In Marco Polo and the Silk Road (10th-14th Centuries), edited by Rong X. Beijing: Peking University Press, Forthcoming.
  2. Yoichi Isahaya & Mitsuaki Endo. “Persian Transcription of Yuan Chinese in the History of China of the Jāmi‘ al-Tawārīkh (Ms. Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayı, Hazine 1654).” The Economic Review 9 (forthcoming).
  3. Mitsuaki Endo & Yoichi Isahaya. “Yuan Phonology as Reflected in Persian Transcription in the Zīj-i Īlkhānī.” The Economic Review 8 (2016): 1–38.
  4. Yoichi Isahaya. “History of Science and Global History: Generating Puzzles to Reconsider Time, Space and a Science.” Journal of History of Science, Japan 53 (2014): 99–105 (in Japanese).
  5. Yoichi Isahaya. “The Tārīkh-i Qitā in the Zīj-i Īlkhānī: the Chinese Calendar in Persian.” SCIAMVS: Sources and Commentaries in Exact Sciences 14 (2013): 149–258.
  6. Yoichi Isahaya. “Gravity of Modernity: Reactions to the “New Astronomy” in Iran and Japan.” In Translation, History and Arts: New Horizons in Asian Interdisciplinary Humanities Research, edited by Ji M. & Ukai A., 27–47. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013 [translated into Persian by Pouyan Rezvani in Miras-e Elmi-ye Eslam va Iran 2/2 (2014): 72–90].
  7. Yoichi Isahaya. “Vicissitudes of Nourūz: Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Historical Time Scales.” In Secularization, Religion and the States, edited by Haneda M., 63–74. Tokyo: UTCP, 2010.
  8. Yoichi Isahaya. “History and Provenance of the “Chinese” Calendar in the Zīj-i Īlkhānī.” Tarikh-e Elm: Iranian Journal for the History of Science 8 (2009): 19–44.
  9. Yoichi Isahaya. “Tarikh-i Khita wa Uyghur in Ulugh Beg's Zij: A Note on the Origin and Title of the Chinese Calendar Described in the Zij.” Mirzo Ulughbeg and His Contribution to the Development of the World Science (Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference), 169–177. Tashkent: “Fan” Publishing House, 2009.
  10. Yoichi Isahaya. “The Modification of the Twelve-Animal Cycle in the Cultural Sphere of Literary Persian: A Consideration of the Twelve-Animal Cycle of the Timurid Period.” The Shirin: The Journal of History 91/3 (2008): 42–73 (in Japanese).

Translation, Reviews and Others

  1. Nasrollah Pourjavady, Yoichi Isahaya (trans.), “Izutsu’s Interest in Iranian Mystical Philosophy.” In Towards a Philosophy of Co-Existence: A Dialogue with Iran-Islam (2), Journal of International Philosophy, Extra Issue 7 (2016): 68–77 (in Japanese).
  2. Yoichi Isahaya. “Review: Stephan Blake, Time in Early Modern Islam: Calendar, Ceremony and Chronology in the Safavid, Mughal, and Ottoman Empires.” Nazariyat: Journal for the History of Islamic Philosophy and Sciences 2/3 (2015): 199–203 [Turkish version: Nazariyat İslâm Felsefe ve Bilim Tarihi Araştırmaları Dergisi 2/3 (2015): 193–197].
  3. Yoichi Isahaya. “Review: Hirotoshi Shimo, The Political Structure of the Mongol Empire.” Inner Asian Studies 29 (2014): 135–145 (in Japanese).
  4. Brian Spooner & William L. Hanaway, Yoichi Isahaya (trans.). “Siyaq: Numerical Notation and Numeracy in the Persianate World.” In The Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics, edited by E. Robson & J. Stedall, trans. & ed. by K. Saito, N. Miura & K. Miyake, 383–401. Tokyo: Kyoritsu Shyuppan (in Japanese).
  5. David Nicolle, Kazuhiro Shimizu (sup. trans.), Megumi Okamoto, Yoichi Isahaya, Norifumi Daito, Mutsumi Hamazaki (trans.), Historical Atlas of the Islamic World. Tokyo: Akashi Syoten, 2014 (in Japanese).
  6. Yoichi Isahaya, “A Phase of Studies on the History of Central Asia in Iran: Focus on Journals Published at the Majles Library.” JACAS Bulletin 8 (2012): 43–56. (in Japanese).
  7. Yoichi Isahaya, “New Astronomy in Iran.” News Letter (Institute for the History of Science). 1/3 (2010): 3–4.
  8. Pouyan Rezvani & Yoichi Isahaya, “Report on a Book Currently Translated History of Cultural Interaction in Celestial Divination.” News Letter 1/2 (June & July 2011): 19–20 (in Persian).
  9. Yoichi Isahaya & Pouyan Rezvani, “Review: Michio YANO, History of Cultural Interaction in Celestial Divination.” Science and Technology 51 (second series, vol. 5, no. 3) (1390/2011): 62–67 (in Persian).