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  • 3 hours per week

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  • Introductory level

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
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  • Kristian Jensen, 前・大英図書館収書・司書部長、現・欧州研究図書館議長
  • Karen Limper-Herz, 大英図書館 15・16世紀刊本部門・西洋ヘリテージ部門 リードキュレーター
  • Hamish Todd, 大英図書館東アジアコレクション責任者
  • Alessandro Bianchi, オックスフォード大学ボドリアン図書館、ボドリアン日本研究図書館長



The English version of this course is available.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Both Europe and Japan have a long history of books, going back more than one thousand years. They evolved independently of each other, but their paths crossed in the 16th century through the Jesuit missionaries who brought not only books but also the printing press itself to Japan. Can you imagine the impact of this cultural and technological encounter? Since this first encounter, books traveled far and wide in both directions, so far and wide, in fact, that Keio University now has a copy of the Gutenberg Bible while the British Library has the unique copy of one of the first book printed with an European printing press in Japan.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 seconds I am Takami Matsuda, the lead educator of the 3-week course that will explore how books travelled in both space and time, to different cultures and to different ages. You will travel with books and see how they bridged the East and the West, and brought the past into our hands. You will also receive an introduction to the comparative study of some of the early printed books in Japan and Europe. How similar or different are the European-type books printed in Japan in the 16th-century from their European counterparts? What traces can we find in the old books that can tell you about past readers and collectors?

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 seconds What are the physical features of the travel books that make them easy to carry on a journey? Finally, in travel fiction, how do illustrations help us imagine the places that we have never been to or can only visit in fantasy? To look for answers to such questions, specialists from Keio University and the British Library join together and collaborate, sharing with learners the experience of actually comparing features of historical books from Europe and Japan, using rare books from both institutions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 53 seconds You will receive a first-hand experience of the encounter with foreign books and through it a foreign culture in the way only books can realize. Please join us and see you at the course.


  • Week 1


    • はじめに


    • 東西の書物の物質性


    • 書物の比較:東洋と西洋

      キリシタン版をいくつか比べてみましょう! すべて日本語の本ですが、文字や装丁に違いがあります。

    • ディテールを見てみよう


    • 類似点を見てみよう


    • Week 1のまとめ


  • Week 2


    • 書物の旅


    • 海を渡った古典籍:コレクションとイデオロギー

      慶應義塾大学のインキュナブラについてや、1923年の関東大震災の際に英国学士院(British Academy)が東京大学に寄贈した豊富な貴重書についてもお話しします。

    • 移送された文化:アーネスト・サトウのコレクション


    • 断簡の移動

      書物は旅をする途中でその形を変えることがあります。 どのような変化があるのか、断簡をどうやって集めたのか、ヨーロッパと日本で見てみましょう。

    • Week2のまとめ


  • Week 3


    • 書物に痕跡を残す


    • 書物の携帯性、パラテクスト


    • 心の旅とビジュアル化される旅


    • エピローグ


When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain how books from different cultures interacted and promoted a cultural exchange between the East and the West.【異なる文化の本がどのように作用し、東洋と西洋の文化交流を促進したか説明できる。】
  • Summarise the role of Jesuit missionaries in exchanging book cultures between the East and the West in the 16th century.【キリシタン版が16世紀の東洋と西洋の書物文化の交流において果たした役割を要約できる。】
  • Compare the European-type books printed in Japan in the 16th-century and their European counterparts.【16世紀に日本で印刷されたヨーロッパの形式の本と、それに対応するヨーロッパで作られた本を比較できる。】
  • Identify the traces in the early books that can tell you about past readers and collectors.【過去の読者やコレクターのことを知ることができる、書物に残された痕跡を特定できる。】
  • Identify the similarities and differences in the physical features of the travel books that make them easy to carry on a journey.【旅に携帯しやすい本について、物理的特徴の共通点と相違点がわかる。】
  • Explore how illustrations in travel books (fiction and non-fiction) help the reader to imagine the places that they have never been to or can visit only in fantasy.【旅行記(フィクション・ノンフィクション)の挿絵が、読者が行ったことのない、または空想でしか訪れることのできない場所を想像するのにどのように役に立つかを調べることができる。】
  • Discuss the materiality of the books in the digital era.【デジタル時代における本のマテリアリティ(物質性)を議論できる。】

Who is the course for?



Who will you learn with?

I am a Professor at the Faculty of Letters, Keio University and the Director of Keio Museum Commons. I specialize in medieval English literature and book history.

I'm a Professor at Keio University's Institute of Oriental Classics. I'm the lead educator of the courses "Japanese Culture Through Rare Books" and "The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books".

I'm a Professor at Keio University. My research areas include medieval English literature and early printing. I'm now preparing a catalogue of 16th-century English books in Japanese libraries.

I am a Professor of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Keio University Faculty of Letters, and I am doing research of Japanese picture books and picture scrolls.

Who developed the course?

Keio University

Keio University is Japan’s first modern institution of higher learning, and since 1858 has established itself as a leader in Japan through its continued commitment to education, research and medicine.

  • Established

  • Location

    Tokyo, Japan
  • World ranking

    Top 200Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries.

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Fulfill your current learning need

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Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 19 Mar 2024

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Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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