Library and Information Science Society Home → English page

三田図書館・情報学会誌論文(論文ID LIS026203)

Some Consideration of Aratame-In System for Kusazoshi in Edo Era
No.26, p.203-217

This study is concerned with “Aratame-I” system in popular publcation in the Edo era in Japan. The Aratame-In was a kind of censorship seal in approving the publication of populer books, such as Kusazoshi, Ukiyoe and so on. The publish control was made by utilzing the Aratame-In by Tokugawa Government. In this study, a trial has been made on the clarification of the current state of affairs about this censorship.

About 1200 Kusazoshi books in the Central Library of Keio University have been investigated, in which whether the Aratame-In was sealed. As the resulte of the investigation, it has been found that the application of the Aratame-In was gradually changed through Edo era and it was parted into the following three periods.

(1) From the 1st year of Kansei-period (1788--1800) to the 3rd yesr of Bunka (1804--18173): The censorship was done by the monthly “Gyoj” (a kind of representative) in “Jihon-Soshi-Toiy” (a kind of popular publications' seller guild). The Aratame-In was concentrated on limited book sellers. they were Nishimuraya Yohachi and Murata Jirobei.

(2) From the 4th year of Bunka to just befor the reformation of Tenpo-period (1830--43): “Eiri-Yomihon-Aratame-Kakari-Kimoiri-Nanush”, the officer for censorship, was additionally appointed by the Government. In this period, the monthly Gyoji firstly censord followed by being censored by Kimoiri-Nanushi. Although the double censorship was made, the Aratame-In was scarcely found in any Kusazoshi books.

(3) After the Tenpo period (1830--1843): The monthly Nanushi censored directly. After the 4th year of Kaei (1848--1853), however, the examiner was again changed to monthly Gyoji.

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that the Aratame-In was found in all of Sharaku's Ukiyoe which were published by the book seller Tsutaya Juzabro during the 6th to 7th year of Kansei (1789--1800).