Palavras-chave:History of publishing culture, Movable type printing technology, Woodblock printing, Manuscripts, Japanese historical books
There is a remarkably unique feature in the history of the Japanese printing technique. In the West, the invention of movable type printing pioneered by Johannes Gutenberg in mid-15th century changed the social position of books fundamentally and led to the decline of conventional manuscripts and woodblock printing. However, imported Western and Korean movable type printing techniques in Japan declined within half a century; the age of woodblock printing had returned. Japanese movable type printing increased in the first half of the 19th century, and woodblock printing disappeared in the Meiji period. This differs from West, in that the rise and fall of this technique of printing meant that the establishment of the technique did not take hold in Japan until substantially later than in the west. Another notable feature is that woodblock printing and movable type printing coexisted for some time. In Japan, it was not unusual to print the same texts by woodblock printing and movable type printing concurrently around the same period. This means that there was a unique culture utilizing the advantages and differences of both these printing techniques. Based on these factors, there are two salient features of Japanese printing history that have been discussed. 1. Why did movable type printing not become established quickly in Japan? The technical cost of making the movable types was onerous because there are many Kanji (Chinese characters) and Kana (Japanese syllabary characters including variants of hentaigana and continuous notation of remmen-tai) in Japanese. Moreover, simple and efficient printing orthography did not prevail because the traditional Japanese Kana writing used the complicated and inefficient writing systems of hentaigana and remmen-tai. Movable type printing did not become established because woodblock printing was much superior in reproducing and massproducing handwritten manuscripts of these styles. 2. Why did the period of coexistence between woodblock printing and the movable type printing continue for so long? Woodblock printing was the mainstream method in the Edo period, but movable type printing could use movable types repeatedly for small number of copies efficiently. In general, moveable type-printed books were of a lower quality, worse than woodblock printing and were used by people who did not see this as an issue. Therefore, publishers utilized the dvantages of the movable type, while the unique culture of woodblock printing prospered alongside movable type printing. The question of printing technique is not only a technical matter but also a linguistic that is closely dependent on Japanese characters, Japanese writing system, and Japanese culture.
Dados de financiamento
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Números do Financiamento JP17H02341;JP18K00608