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The Publisher's Go-Between: Kashihonya in the Meiji Period

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

P. F. Kornicki
University of Tasmania


The publisher is the bride's parents, the readers are the bridegroom, and the kashihonya is the go-between.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1980

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1 A manuscript in Keiō University Library bearing the title Eiri yomihon gedai sakusha gakō shoshi mei mokushū, which I have not seen, contains the details of the kashihonya-gumi (guilds) as of the fifth month of 1808, and according to this there were 655 kashihonya in Edo altogether: Haruo, Suwa, Shuppan kotohajime (Mainichi shinbunsha, 1978), pp. 217–18.Google Scholar The figure for the Tenpō era comes from Terakado Seiken's Edo hanjōki, which was first published in 1832: Haruhiko, Asakura and Kikuji, Andō (eds), Edo hanjōki, 3 vols (Heibonsha, 19741976), II, 209.Google Scholar

2 Welch, Theodore F., Toshokan—Libraries in Japanese Society (London and Chicago, 1976), p. 31. According to Welch, there were at their peak some twenty thousand kashihonya of this type in post-war Japan.Google Scholar

3 See Tōkyōfu tōkeihyō for 1877 (p. 201), 1881 (p. 172), and 1882 (pp. 50 and 58 of the section devoted to commerce).Google Scholar

4 Jūō, Tsukahara (sc. Jūshien), ‘Edo jidai no nanbungaku’, Aoi, Nos 3 (07 1910), pp. 79, and 4 (08 1910), p. 12.Google Scholar

5 Takashi, Ishii, Katsu Kaishū (Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1974), pp. 221–2, states that more than twelve thousand samurai families left Edo for Sunpu in 1868.Google Scholar According to his own account, Tsukahara Jūshien was amongst them. For the reference to the repatriation order, which was apparently dated the seventh of the fourth month of 1868, see Shōzō, Imaizumi, Nagaoka no rekishi (Nojima shuppan, Sanjō, Niigata-ken, 1968), IV, 34.Google Scholar

6 Shōyō, Tsubouchi, ‘Ishingo no Tōkyō no kashihonya’, Shōyō senshū, 15 vols (Shunyōdō, 1926), XII, 186–7.Google Scholar

7 Kyōtofu tōkeihyō, 1880, p. 116. Many kashihonya stamped their books with a seal giving their name and location and it is now only through these that it is possible to gain any idea of how many kashihonya there were operating in any one place in the Tokugawa period. An account of the decline of kashihonya in the provinces in the late 1860s will have to wait until a comprehensive collection-of these seals has been amassed and it becomes possible to estimate the numbers of kashihonya there were in each area at the end of the Tokugawa period.Google Scholar

8 See Saitama-ken tōkeisho, 1887, p. 183Google Scholar, and Kinsaku, Yokoyama (ed.), Yokohama shōnin roku (Shōninrokusha, 1881), p. 24.Google Scholar

9 ‘Meiji shoki gesaku shuppan no dōkō’, in Ai, Maeda, Kindai dokusha no seiritsu (Yūseidō, 1973), p. 64.Google Scholar

10 Motosuke, Hironiwa, ‘Shinbun jūransho shōron’, Toshokan kai, XXV, Nos 3, pp. 84100, and 4, pp. 133–52 (10 and 12 1973), is the most thorough account of newspaper reading-rooms in Meiji Japan and is the source of much of what follows. Hironiwa draws attention to the comparatively high price of newspapers in the early Meiji period and argues that something on the lines of a reading-room, whether commercial or not, was essential if people with low incomes were to have access to the newspaper.Google Scholar

11 See Hironiwa, ‘Shinbun jūransho shōron’, I, 95–8, and Isakichi, Kutsukake, ‘Meiji no kashihonya’, in three parts, Nihon kosho tsūshin, Nos 321–3 (01 to 03 1971), I, 6. There is contemporary documentary evidence for newspaper reading-rooms in all the places mentioned, without exception in the form of newspaper articles and notices. No doubt others were established elsewhere that have not survived in any documentary form.Google Scholar

12 Maeda, , ‘Meiji shoki gesaku shuppan no dōkō’, pp. 64–5.Google Scholar

13 See Haruhiko, Asakura and Nobuko, Sakuma (eds), Meiji shoki: Santo shinkoku shomoku (Nihon kosho tsūshinsha, 1971)Google Scholar; this volume contains facsimile reprints of Boshin irai: Shinkoku shomoku benran (Tokyo, 1874)Google Scholar, Goishin irai: Kyōto shinkoku shomoku benran (Kyoto, 1874)Google Scholar, and Boshin irai: Shinkoku shomoku ichiran (Osaka, 1874).Google Scholar

14 Morse, E. S., Japan Day By Day (Kōbunsha, 1936), I, 120. Morse's sketch is on the same page.Google Scholar

15 See, for example, the illustration in Kyōden's Shiji no yukikai, which was first published in 1798, in Fūzoku zue shū, Nihon meicho zenshū, 13 (1926), p. 390.Google Scholar

16 Sanae, Takada, Hanpō mukashibanashi (Waseda daigaku shuppanbu, 1927), p. 20.Google Scholar For references in Bakin's correspondence to kashihonya dealing with yomihon, see Keisuke, Hamada, ‘Bakin ni okeru shoshi sakusha dokusha no mondai’, Kokugo kokubun, XXII, No. 4 (1953), pp. 28–9.Google ScholarThe imprints of kashihonya seals are to be found in most surviving yomihon. For example, copies in the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London of the following works by Bakin bear the seals of kashihonya from Edo, Niigata, Tsuruoka and other parts of Japan: Musō byōe kochō monogatari, Sanshichi zenden nanka no yume, Yumiharizuki and Kinsesetsu Bishōnenroku.Google Scholar

17 Maeda, , ‘Meiji shoki gesaku shuppan no dōkō’, p. 71 note 2, reproduces several such entries from Ueki's diary dating from the latter half of 1876, and appends a list of the books he read at that time. The self-styled creator of ninjōbon, Tamenaga Shunsui (1790–1843), makes references to kashihonya in a number of his works, and in his Shunshoku tatsumi no sono, which was first published in 1835, he describes them as his intermediaries, which calls to mind the words of Santō Kyōden in the passage quoted at the head of this article: Shunshoku umegoyomi (NKBT 64), p. 383.Google Scholar

18 See ‘Aeba Kōson shi no den’, Kokumin shinbun, 10 08 1890Google Scholar, and ‘Aeba Kōson’, Kindai bungaku kenkyū sōsho (Shōwa joshi daigaku kōyōkai, 1964), XXI, 17. For the high literary esteem Kōson shared with Sudō Nansui circa 1887, see Rohan Gakujin (sc. Kōda Rohan), ‘Meiji nijūnen zengo no nibunsei’, Waseda bungaku, No. 232 (06 1925), p. 5.Google Scholar

19 Ōgai zenshū, 38 vols (Iwanami shoten, 19721973), XVIII, 67.Google Scholar For kashihonya and manuscript books, see Yōzō, Konta, Edo no honyasan (Nihon hōsō shuppan kyōkai, 1977), pp. 157–60.Google Scholar

20 Kan'ichi, Kawakishi, ‘Haishis hōsetsu no kashihon o kinzu beki no gi’, Tokyo nichinichi shinbun, 4 03 1876, pp. 211–12.Google Scholar

21 For complementary accounts of Daisō, see ‘Kashihonya Daisō no kenkyū’, in Chokutarō, Andō, Kyōdo bunka ronshū (Nagoya, 1973)Google Scholar, Haruhiko, Asakura, Kashihonya Daisō, Kotsū mamehon 32 (Nihon kosho tsūshinsha, 1977)Google Scholar, and Shōyō, Tsubouchi, ‘Kashihonya Daisō’, Shōyō senshū, XII, 179–85 and 190–6.Google Scholar

22 For an example of this advertisement, see the inside front cover of the first volume of the copy of Bakin's Sanshichi zenden nanka no yume in the School of Oriental and African Studies.Google Scholar

23 Katai, Tayama, Tōkyō no sanjūnen (Ushio bunko, 1972), p. 30Google Scholar

24 Motosuke, Hironiwa, ‘Meiji no kashihonya to riyōsha—ikutsuka no denki nikki kara’, Kashihon bunka, No. 2 (05 1977), pp. 14.Google Scholar

25 Ibid., Kashihon bunka, No. 6 (September 1978), pp. 16–17, and No. 5 (May 1978), p. 4.

26 Kyōeki kashihonsha eisho mokuroku (1888), p. 1. The only surviving copy known to me is in the New York Public Library (RNB p.v.4), where it has been bound with a number of unrelated booklets in various languages. The Zenshōdō leaflet I have seen is in a copy of the 1910 (Osaka) edition of Ozaki Kōyō's Fūryū kyō ningyō in the possession of Professor Tosa Tōru.Google Scholar

27 Muhitsu, Nankatei (sc. Sugiyama Tomijirō), ‘Shosei fūzoku: Irohaya kashihonten’, in ten parts, Fūzoku gahō, Nos 227–43 (25 02 1901 to 2 01 1902), No. 230, pp. 41–2.Google Scholar

28 Ōgai zenshū, V, 113, and Hironiwa, , ‘Meiji no kashihonya to riyōsha’, Kashihon bunka, No. 6 (09 1978), p. 17.Google Scholar

29 The leaflet advertising the service available in Nagano is reproduced in Kashihon bunka, No. 5, p. 18. For the Irohaya's use of the postal system, see Muhitsu, Nankatei, ‘Irohaya kashihonten’, Fūzoku gahō, No. 235, p. 32.Google Scholar

30 My account of the Irohaya is based on that of Sugiyama Tomijirō, which was written well before the Irohaya closed: see note 27, above.Google Scholar

31 Ibid., No. 242, p. 30.

32 My description of the Kyōeki kashihonsha is based on Sugiyama's brief mention in Ibid., No. 229, the catalogue of English books at the Kyōeki (see note 26, above) and its prefatory remarks, and the account in Kutsukake, ‘Meiji no kashihonya’, II, 6.

33 Kutsukake, . ‘Meiii no kashihonya’, III, 45.Google Scholar

34 See Kokuritsu kokkai toshokan zō: Meiji ki kankō tosho mokuroku, 7 vols (19711976), IV, 456–79.Google Scholar For a fuller discussion of the repute of Tokugawa fiction in the Meiji period, see my ‘The Novels of Ozaki Kōyō: A Study of Selected Works with Special Reference to the Relationship between the Fiction of the Tokugawa and Early Meiji Periods’, unpublished D.Phil. thesis (University of Oxford, 1979), pp. 211–17.Google Scholar

35 Tokutomi Sohō (ed.), ‘Shomoku jisshu’, Kokumin no tomo, Nos 48 (22 04 1889), supplement, pp. 118, 49 (2 05 1889), pp. 30–2, and 54 (07 1889), pp. 282–3. Amongst the respondents were Tsubouchi Shōyō, Yoda Gakkai, Ozaki Kōyō and Yamada Bimyō.Google Scholar

36 Maeda, , ‘Meiji shoki gesaku shuppan no dōkō’, pp. 67–8.Google Scholar

37 For example, Ōoka jinseidan (1884), which deals with Ōoka Echizen no kami Tadasuke and the juridical acumen that brought him a measure of popular acclaim in the Tokugawa period. Before the Meiji Restoration, a number of works on this subject circulated in manuscript form, amongst them Ōoka jinseiroku and Ōoka seidan. The Eisensha was a prolific publisher of works of this kind in the early Meiji period: a copy in the Diet Library in Tokyo of Kinko jitsuroku: Enmeiin jikki, which was published in two volumes in 1884 by the Eisensha, contains a list of more than eighty such works already published by the company. For an incomplete list of Meiji reprints of these works, including many on Ōoka Tadasuke published by various establishments, see Kokuritsu kokkai toshokan zō: Meiji ki kankō tosho mokuroku, IV, 479–537.Google Scholar

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