Books and Boats: Sino-Japanese Relations and Cultural Transmission in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Hardback: $65.00
ISBN-13: 9781937385132
Published: March 2012
Paperback: $35.00
ISBN-13: 9781937385125
Published: March 2012
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Additional Information

200 pages
  • About the Book
  • This volume looks in detail at trade between the Qing dynasty and the Edo shogunate primarily in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. While touching on all manner of items traded, from where, to where, and the like, Oba Osamu particularly focuses on the importation of Chinese books to Japan. This entails a detailed discussion and analysis of the censorship procedures for detecting works with any sort of Christian content—strictly forbidden—and the punishments meted out to the guilty importers. Ōba also looks at the families responsible for inspecting books—it became a hereditary post—and the Chinese interpreters attached to the Nagasaki Magistrates office.

    According to Professor Fogel, “[Oba] . . . asks: How did Japanese of the late-Tokugawa and early-Meiji eras learn about the West? In fact, with certain exceptions, their major texts on Western affairs were classical Chinese texts (Kanbun), often translations of Western books made by European missionaries together with their Qing collaborators. Oba’s attention to this central importance of classical Chinese texts was the crowning achievement of his career, and it has earned him extraordinary praise from both Japanese and Chinese historians.”

  • About the Author(s)
    • Oba Osamu, Author

    • Joshua A. Fogel, Translator

      Joshua A. Fogel is professor of history at York University in Toronto.
  • Supporting Resources