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52 - Picture books: from akahon to kibyōshi and gōkan

from Part IV - The Edo period (1600–1867)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Haruo Shirane
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Tomi Suzuki
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
David Lurie
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
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Summary

The book titled Mazu yonde Mikuni Kojoro was something fairly new: it was a gokan, the last in a series of genres combining pictures and prose that were produced in Edo from the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth century. The genres, including akahon, kurohon, aohon, kibyoshi, and gokan, together fall under the general heading of kusa-zoshi. The category of kusa-zoshi comprises genres of fiction that were produced in Edo from the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries. Kusa-zoshi always combined pictures and text on the same page, with the text appearing either at the top of the page, in some early akahon, or in the negative space in the pictures. Gokan occasionally included pictorial spreads with little or no writing on the one hand, or pages completely filled with writing on the other. The main texts in all forms of kusazo-shi would usually be printed in hiragana, so that the writing was legible even to the minimally educated.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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