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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsHere I will talk about illustrated books. Prof. Ichinohe explained about printed books, so Here I will concentrate on printed picture books. With the introduction of movable type printing technology from Europe and from Korea at the end of the 16th century, movable type began in earnest in Japan too. The diffusion of these printed book exerted a strong influence on Japanese publishing, but there are some subtle differences to keep in mind. Let us start with these books [5] produced under the influence of books in Chinese from the Korean peninsula. As you can see, there is a border around the text.

Skip to 1 minute and 7 secondsThis border was called kyōkaku, you can also see the grid of columns between the lines of text, and it is standard in kanji-based books. At the opposite end of the spectrum were the books in the local script, the kana. This is an example [2], and as you can see, there is no border. In 1608 the first illustrated movable type edition of the Tales of Ise (Ise monogatari) was published. There is no border around the text portion, but there is one around the plates. This [3] is a different, slightly later book but it is a similar example. As you can see, there is no border around the text but there is one around the images.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 secondsThe images are were colored by hand and the whole genre is known as tanroku-bon (red and green books) after the pigments used for coloring. These books always have a border around the images but not around the text. Next, this book [4] here is titled Sanjūrokunin utaawase (Poetry Contests of the Thirty-six Immortal Poets). Suminokura Soan (1571-1632), the man behind the series of luxurious printed books known as Saga-bon (Saga books), the first of which was the Tales of Ise we have just looked at, is thought to have been involved in its publication. It contains portraits of famous poets next to their most representative poems.

Skip to 3 minutes and 12 secondsThis kind of pictures are known as kasen-e (pictures of famous poets) and were popular since the 12th century. Traditionally these pictures did not feature a border but they do in this book we are looking at. So there seems to be a connection between the print medium and the use of the border. There is no definitive explanation as to why illustrations in printed books feature the border and those in handwritten ones do not. One intriguing possibility is that it was as a result of Western influence. Illustrations in Western books tend to feature a border. The way some of them had green and red added to them by hand also resembles the way color was applied on plates in Japan.

Skip to 4 minutes and 24 secondsSo Western influence is a distinct possibility. And so we have roughly outlined how illustrations became a common presence in Japanese printed books, but it is important to keep in mind that this occurred because of the popularity of handwritten illustrated books before them. Moving back to the border, originally it was only used for images, but as time went on, it also began to be used around the text, as in this example [1]. Why? Without the border, a printed book looks very similar to a manuscript. It is possible that early printed kana books, which do not feature the border, were meant to look like manuscripts. By contrast, books that featured a border around the text sort of flaunted their "printedness".

Skip to 6 minutes and 2 secondsIn other words, though they began life as passable replica of handwritten books gradually printed books came to be accepted as a legitimate medium in their own right. Illustrations may have played an important role in making the border around the text acceptable. If we look at this book we already saw earlier, we see that there is no border around the text, but there is one around the image. However, the image is slightly smaller than the text and there is a certain unbalance between the two pages. But as the border began to be used for both text and images, as in this example, it gradually became standard to use frames of equal size for the two.

Skip to 7 minutes and 23 secondsThis book here, it doesn’t have any illustrations, and this one are two printed versions of the same text, the Aki no yo no nagamonogatari (Tale of a Long Autumn night). They were published about 100 years apart from each other and they show just how much publishing conventions changed during this period of time. Finally, let us look at an example of a book both going against and exploiting the trend of the times. If we look inside, it is a printed book but there is no border around the text and neither is there one around the images. If we added color to the images it would look virtually identical to the illustrated handwritten Nara ehon that we saw earlier.

Skip to 8 minutes and 38 secondsIn other words, this was made as a replica of a Nara ehon. In order to make it look just like a handwritten book the borders were omitted. Although technically possible, by this point borderless printing was extremely rare. Though these may seem like minor details, it is surprising how much we can learn by paying attention to the relationship between images and the border.




Saga-bon Ise monogatari 図1. 伊勢物語
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嵯峨本は活字による印刷が中心でしたが、『新古今集抄月詠和歌巻(しんこきんしゅうしょうげつえいわかかん)』(SEE ALSO参照)のように従来の木の板に彫る「整版(せいはん)」の技法による刊行物も存在しています。嵯峨本であることを疑う意見もあるものではありますが、『嵯峨本三十六人歌合』(図2)もその一つです。

*Saga-bon Sanjūrokkasen* 図2. 嵯峨本三十六歌仙
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これは、平安時代後期の12世紀から存在する、歌人の姿を描き、その代表作の和歌を書き添える「歌仙絵(かせんえ)」の伝統を受け継ぐものです。巻子装や冊子、あるいは色紙形式のものなど多くの作品が伝わっています(図3. 小倉山百人一首)が、それらには枠がないのに、この版本にはやはり枠があるのです。

Ogura hyakunin isshu 図3. 小倉山百人一首
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Shiji 図4. 史記
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Tawara Tōda monogatari 図5. 『俵藤太物語』
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Tsuru no sōshi 図6. 『鶴の草子』
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Issun bōshi 図7. 『一寸法師』〔御伽草子〕
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Books on the table

6. のせさる草子 5. 秋の夜長物語 4. 秋の夜長物語
3. つきしま 2. 三十六歌仙 1. 史記

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古書から読み解く日本の文化: 和本の世界

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