Since seismicity in Japan is fairly high, Japanese interest in historical seismicity can be traced back to the nineth century, only a few centuries after the formation of the ancient ruling state. A 1000 years later, 2 years earlier than the modern seismological society was founded, the research on historical seismology started in Japan in 1878. By the accumulation for the recent 140 years, the present Japanese seismologists can read many historical materials without reading cursive scripts. We have a convenient access to the historical information related to earthquakes, in the modern characters of 27,759 pages. We now have 214 epicenters of historical earthquakes from 599 ad to 1872. Among them, 134 events in the early modern period were assigned hypocentral depths and proper magnitudes. The intensity data of 8700 places by those events were estimated. These precise intensity data enabled us to compare the detailed source areas of pairs of repeated historical earthquakes, such as the 1703 Genroku earthquake with the 1923 Kanto earthquake, and the 1707 Hoei earthquake with the summation of the 1854 Ansei Tokai and Ansei Nankai earthquakes. It is revealed that the focal area of the former larger event cannot completely include those of the latter smaller earthquakes, although those were believed to be typical sets of characteristic interplate earthquakes at the Sagami trough and at the Nankai trough. Research on historical earthquakes is very important to assess the seismic hazard in the future. We still have one-fifth events of the early modern period to be analyzed in detail. The compilation of places experienced high intensities in the modern events is also necessary. For the ancient and medieval periods, many equivocal events are still left. The further advance of the interdisciplinary research on historical seismology is necessary.