Wataru Ichinohe

Wataru Ichinohe

I am an associate professor at Keio University's Institute of Oriental Classics (SHIDO-BUNKO). I'm one of the educators on the FutureLearn course, "Japanese Culture Through Rare Books."

Location Tokyo, Japan


  • Of course, Hyakumantou-Darani is a publication. The text printed there is part of the Buddhist scriptures that have been transmitted from India. Therefore, the author of the text is not Japanese. Ōjōyōshū was the earliest publication written by the Japanese.

  • Unfortunately, Keio University does not own Kirishitan-ban. As you mentioned, as Christianity was forbidden in the Edo period, many of Kirishitan-ban seems to have been burned. Therefore, the remaining Kirishitan-ban is very rare. In Japan, Sophia university and Tenri Central Library collect them.

    If you want to know more information, I encourage you to...

  • You point out correctly. For example, popular novels published in the form of Chūhon were often recycled paper of poor quality. Of course, not only social prestige but economic cost would have been involved in that choice.

  • The work of the first Japanese publication is "ōjōyōshū" written by Gemshin. Eikan's wrote Ōjōjūin is next. Thanks to your remarks, I noticed that the translation of English is not a bit accurate. Thank you.

  • Thank you for the question. As you mentioned, long novels caught in the late Edo period. As Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji, a novel written in the form of text written around the illustrations is called Kusazoshi草双紙. Kusazoshi that was published in the late Edo period often had many volumes. (just like today's manga).

  • I can’t answer the details about exactly when cursive scripts are used for print books. However, I estimate as follows. In the Edo period, the shogunate had decided to use cursive scripts called "Oieryu御家流" for public documents. For that reason, the proportion of cursive writing used in publications in the Edo period was high, and it was always used for books...

  • Copyrights as protecting the author's rights did not exist in pre-modern Japan. Publishers were profitable simply by printing the books and selling it. Pre-modern Japanese publishers did not owed the obligation publicly to distribute profits to authors. Also, in the case of publishing a classic, consideration for copyright is not necessary, as the author is...

  • For example, Hōzōin(宝蔵院) in Kyoto still prints Buddhist scriptures using woodblocks made in 1669.
    Please look at the following websites.

  • Thank you for your question. The Chinese characters used for written language are almost the same between Japan and China. But many points such as grammar and vocabulary are different. Japanese monks have read Buddhist scriptures translated into Chinese. Japan has learned much from China, such as letters, culture, morality, social institutions. Therefore, in...

  • That's right. She is reading Vol. 3 of Ehon taikōki(絵本太閤記). Ehon taikōki is a biographical novel about Toyotomi Hideyoshi published in 1797-1802.

    See also

  • The answer is yes. It was like the University Press in the present-day. Kōfukuji published various woodblock printing books from the 11th century to the 19th century. It seems that there has been a change in the manner of the printing workshop every era. Perhaps, in the latter half of the Edo era, it seems that more outsourcing to external publishers than...

  • You are correct. However, this illustration is not Wamyō ruijūshō. It is an illustration on Owari meishozue尾張名所図会 published in 1844, depicting the precincts of Simpukuji temple.

    Owari meishozue (@ waseda university)

  • Robert, mathematics in the temples, as you say, is Japanese mathematics in the Edo period so-called Wasan和算. In Terakoya the teacher did not teach Wasan. At Terakoya the teacher taught only basic calculation methods such as addition, subtraction and division. Wasan was sophisticated because it was for math lovers. Wasan's enthusiasts placed wood boards called...

  • Thanks for your comments.
    Unfortunately, I don’t know if a detailed biography of Hokiichi written in English exists. But I found a short biography on page4 of this PDF.

    His detailed biography I would like to recommend most is "The story of Hanawa Hokiichi物語塙保己一" written by Mori Senzo森銑三. It...

  • As you said, the bookshop in the Edo period was also an editor and they were doing negotiations with authors. The owner of the book store himself wrote a book or hired a ghostwriter in some cases.
    Namely, bookshops in the Edo period covered a wide range of business related to books.
    If you want more information, I also recommend you to read Professor Peter...

  • Nonomiya-san, thanks for your good question! Since I could not explain the bookshops/publisher of the Edo era in detail in this course, I supplement it.
    The main role of the bookshops was two, publishing and selling books. In the Edo period, there were bookshops that only publish, sell only, or both. Therefore, some bookshops purchase and sell publications...

  • Oh, please don’t be sorry! I do not mind at all. Thanks for your comments.

  • I apologize to you. It is my bad habit to talk fast. Please download the PDF if it is difficult to hear.

  • You are correct.
    See also:
    Printing block in Edo...

  • Thanks for your comments. I think, there was a difference depending on social class in that era. Temple schools that common people attend are coeducational and educates basic knowledge necessary for living such as reading, writing and arithmetic. When they wanted to acquire cultures that are more advanced and not directly related to life (learning waka poetry...

  • Thanks for your comments. These illustrations are printed in multicolor, and they are all original. Harunobu Suzuki(鈴木春信) innovated Nishikie(錦絵multicolor printings) in 1765. Since then, multicolor printed books became common. However, in china, there was a multi-color printed book at an earlier time(1633).
    look at this...

  • They are ownership mark. Once a person or institution that has been Holding this book has stamped.

  • Thank you for your comments. In Kamakura and Nara era, book about mathematics was not published yet. However, when it comes to the Edo period, Japanese mathematics (和算Wa-san) will appear. And books on math was published a lot.
    See also thses sites....