Organized Panel Session
Chinese books streamed into Japan through Nagasaki in large quantities throughout the Edo period. This talk examines the early modern Japanese market for these works, both in their original Chinese editions (known as tōhon in Japanese) and in Japanese reprint editions (wakokubon). The process of importation is followed from selection and arrival in Nagasaki, the fixing of initial prices, various forms of auction, and resale to end consumers. Surviving data allows prices and profit margins to be estimated at each stage of the process, as well as analysis across genres. Although it emerges that original editions became increasingly affordable compared to reprints, particularly in the nineteenth century, there are notable exceptions and considerable variance. Examples are drawn from a range of texts, including, where information survives, works of Chinese fiction of particular literary significance.