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39 - Publishing and the book in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

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

In the context of premodern Japan, "printing" means woodblock printing, or xylography, a technology that originated in China in the seventh century. Woodblock printing was the norm throughout the Edo period, but in the second half of the sixteenth century typography reached Japan from two very different sources and enjoyed several decades of success. The simplicity of xylography made it possible for haikai enthusiasts to have their poems printed privately and thus the poems of many local groups in the provinces, and in particular of many women poets, have been preserved in print. Commercial publishing began in Kyoto in the early years of the seventeenth century and was dominated at least until the end of the century. By the 1660s the book trade had established itself in the three main cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo, although for the seventeenth century many of the booksellers of Osaka and Edo were little more than branches or agents of Kyoto firms.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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