The Japanese Early-Modern Publishing Market Unveiled: A Survey of Edo-Period Booksellers’ Catalogues

In: East Asian Publishing and Society
Laura Moretti c/o Emmanuel College Cambridge CB2 3AP UK

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This article explores an under-researched area of the Japanese early-modern (1603-1867) publishing history, by examining the catalogues called shojaku mokuroku. First, it analyses the publication history, the editorial process and the contents of these catalogues. By doing so, it offers a new definition of shojaku mokuroku, it reflects upon the growth and the variety which characterize the production of Kyoto publishers/booksellers and proves to what extent these publishers constituted a self-conscious, self-promoting, business-driven unified body. Second, by considering the order that was given to books in shojaku mokuroku, it explores what this order reveals about the publishing market in early-modern Japan and shows revealing differences with widely-held views on Japanese early-modern literature. Third, it investigates how these catalogues were used in the Edo period across the country and reflects upon what the circulation of these catalogues tell us about the circulation of books outside urban centres.

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