Popular Literacy in Early Modern Japan, by Richard Rubinger, is now available in paperback. The focus of Rubinger’s study of Japanese literacy is the least-studied (yet overwhelming majority) of the premodern population: the rural farming class. In this book-length historical exploration of the topic, the first in any language, Rubinger dispels the misconception that there are few materials available for the study of popular literacy in Japan. He analyzes a rich variety of untapped sources from the sixteenth century onward, drawing for the first time on material that allows him to measure literacy: signatures on apostasy oaths, diaries, agricultural manuals, home encyclopedias, rural poetry-contest entries, village election ballots, literacy surveys, and family account books.
August 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3124-0 / $24.00 (PAPER)