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Japan in print [electronic resource] : information and nation in the early modern period /
Mary Elizabeth Berry.
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c2006.
description
xvii, 325 p. : ill., maps.
ISBN
0520237668 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c2006.
isbn
0520237668 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8842348
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 291-308) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Anyone interested in the history of media and communications should read Beth Berry's extraordinary book. Learned, lucid, and lively, it has much to teach students of premodern societies in Europe and elsewhere."--Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History, Princeton University "InJapan in Print, Mary Elizabeth Berry crisply condenses a remarkable amount of primary research on difficult and little-known materials, and it interprets those materials in a highly original framework. The scholarship is superb, and the writing is as masterful as the research. Anyone interested in East Asian cultural production will find this compelling reading."--KÄren E. Wigen, author ofThe Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920 "This is a very important book, not only for its insights into a vast body of previously overlooked texts, but also for its methodology. While historians have known that early modern Japan produced maps, for example, no one has heretofore compared them to their medieval predecessors or examined them for what they say about an emerging Japanese cartographic imagination. This is a highly original work, and it will change the field."--Anne Walthall, author ofThe Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration
Flap Copy
"Anyone interested in the history of media and communications should read Beth Berry's extraordinary book. Learned, lucid, and lively, it has much to teach students of premodern societies in Europe and elsewhere."--Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History, Princeton University "In Japan in Print , Mary Elizabeth Berry crisply condenses a remarkable amount of primary research on difficult and little-known materials, and it interprets those materials in a highly original framework. The scholarship is superb, and the writing is as masterful as the research. Anyone interested in East Asian cultural production will find this compelling reading."--Kären E. Wigen, author of The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920 "This is a very important book, not only for its insights into a vast body of previously overlooked texts, but also for its methodology. While historians have known that early modern Japan produced maps, for example, no one has heretofore compared them to their medieval predecessors or examined them for what they say about an emerging Japanese cartographic imagination. This is a highly original work, and it will change the field."--Anne Walthall, author of The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-10-01:
Berry (Univ. of California at Berkeley) has produced a superb work of highly original scholarship on the explosion of printed matter in 17th-century Japan, which represented a revolution in knowledge separating early modern Japan from all previous time. This is what Berry terms the "library of public information"--information on every aspect of society that was compiled and made available to the Japanese public through commercially printed texts such as maps, gazetteers, family encyclopedias, urban directories, travel guides, official personnel rosters, dictionaries, almanacs, shopping guides, and information manuals of every conceivable subject. The author shows that important social and political processes drove this information revolution; it also came to presume a high standard of cultural literacy in the general Japanese audience. Thus, in the Tokugawa period there appeared for the first time in Japanese history a large reading public that shared common frames of reference and a common body of knowledge. Profusely illustrated with reproductions from contemporary books and gazetteers, this fascinating book on an important subject exhibits the highest level of scholarship and is written in a very lucid and lively style. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels. M. D. Ericson University of Maryland University College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2006
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Summaries
Main Description
An important work examining what the author terms "the library of public information" marked by the intersection of four key developments in 17th-century Japanese history: information gathering, the rise of commercial publishing, the self-awareness of society, and national formation.
Main Description
A quiet revolution in knowledge separated the early modern period in Japan from all previous time. After 1600, self-appointed investigators used the model of the land and cartographic surveys of the newly unified state to observe and order subjects such as agronomy, medicine, gastronomy, commerce, travel, and entertainment. They subsequently circulated their findings through a variety of commercially printed texts: maps, gazetteers, family encyclopedias, urban directories, travel guides, official personnel rosters, and instruction manuals for everything from farming to lovemaking. In this original and gracefully written book, Mary Elizabeth Berry considers the social processes that drove the information explosion of the 1600s. Inviting readers to examine the contours and meanings of this transformation, Berry provides a fascinating account of the conversion of the public from an object of state surveillance into a subject of self-knowledge. Japan in Print shows how, as investigators collected and disseminated richly diverse data, they came to presume in their audience a standard of cultural literacy that changed anonymous consumers into an "us" bound by common frames of reference. This shared space of knowledge made society visible to itself and in the process subverted notions of status hierarchy. Berry demonstrates that the new public texts projected a national collectivity characterized by universal access to markets, mobility, sociability, and self-fashioning.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Acknowledgments
A Traveling Clerk Goes to the Bookstores
The Library of Public Information
Maps Are Strange
Blood Right and Merit
The Freedom of the City
Cultural Custody, Cultural Literacy
Nation
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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