“Rare” Books in Tokugawa Japan

A talk with Jingyi Li, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Arizona.

We are often under the impression that books from early modern and pre-modern periods are treasures that must be treated with great caution and locked away in museums and archives—rare books. In the time of these books, however, they were a part of everyday life, especially in the Tokugawa period (1600-1868) when commercial printing was highly advanced. Woodblock-printed books provided information and knowledge for various fields,from medicine to clothing, from ghost tales to love stories, from calendar to tools and objects, etc.

Jingyi LiIn this talk, we will learn about different printing styles, book formats, and the way books were distributed in the Tokugawa period. More importantly, we will learn to view materials from early modern times in their original context and treat historical representation according to their contents rather than modern-day value.

❖ February 23, 2022 @4:15 pm | Hollander 241 and Zoom