The first Japanese book to be printed in the United States: the mystery of Ehon Ōshukubai (Philadelphia, 1855)

Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 4:30 pm
202 Jones
Program in East Asian Studies

How did a Japanese book come to be reprinted in Philadelphia in 1855? Before answering this question, I shall first explore the movement of Japanese books outside Japan during the Edo period, which has a surprisingly long history and dates from the 1620s if not earlier. The first Japanese books to reach the United States were probably those bought by participants in Perry’s expedition to Japan: where did they buy them and what did they buy? The partial copy of Ehon ōshukubai printed in 1855 with a guide to the Japanese language probably has its origins in the Perry expedition, and in this lecture I will show some of its remarkable features.

Peter Kornicki is the 2018-19 Jansen Lecturer at Princeton University. He retired in 2014 as Professor of Japanese after 30 years at the University of Cambridge. Most of his work has been on the cultural history of Japan, but since 2005 he has also been working on Korea and Vietnam and in 2018 completed a major study of the impact of Chinese textual culture on East Asia. He was awarded the Japan Foundation Special Prize in 1992 and the Yamagata Banto Prize in 2013; he is an elected member of the British Academy, the Accademia Ambrosiana (Milan), and Academia Europaea. He was President of the European Association for Japanese Studies in 1997-2000. Currently he is editor in chief of the journal East Asian Publishing and Society. He continues his research and lecturing activities relating to Japan and East Asia.

Event category: 

Upcoming Events

Food, Drink, and Performance: Sustenance in the Afterlife

Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 4:30 pm
Location: 106 McCormick Hall

A Study of Korean Language Teachers' Perception of the Professionalism of Teaching Korean

Lyrics Anew: Changzhou Chanting

Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 7:00 pm
Location: TBA

The Old Man and the Sea: Shinra Myōjin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian ‘Mediterranean'


Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 4:30 pm
Location: 202 Jones


Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 4:30 pm
Location: 202 Jones

The Making of a Paragon of Virtue: The Transnational Commemoration of Consul Sugihara’s 1940 Visas to Jews in Lithuania

"Vale poco” [of little value]- a Forgotten Spanish-Chinese Dictionary in a Manila archive

Did the Buddha Teach Sexual Consent?: Emergent Ethics after Abuse Allegations in an American Insight Organization


Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:30 pm
Location: 202 Jones