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Accepted Paper:

Quarrelling over a few sketches - The dispute over publishing Bunpô soga  

Author:

Christian Dunkel (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will analyse a dispute between two publishers of Edo and Nagoya over the publication of an illustrated book, the Bunpô soga, its background, settlement and the aftermath. I hope to thereby contribute to the understanding of the idea of copyright in the second half of the Edo-period.

Paper long abstract:

Previous research on the publication history of Bunpô soga 文鳳麁画 (Rough sketches of Bunpô, published in 1800) has shown that at an early stage the printing blocks and remaining unsold copies of the book changed hands from the original publisher Fûgetsudô Magosuke to Eirakuya Tôshirô both being Nagoya based bookseller-publishers. At the latest in 1814 Eirakuya advertised the book as a publication of his own in a block-holder's catalogue (zôhan mokuroku 蔵版目録) and continued to market the book in various editions as a steady seller for more than sixty years right into the Meiji-period.

This leaves one with the question of why Fûgetsudô who remained in business until the early Meiji years would give up his rights to this potentially successful publication?

Documentary evidence from the records of the publisher's guilds in Kyoto and Osaka strongly suggests that the reason for that lay in a dispute with the Edo publisher Suwaraya Ichibê. He had filed in the first half of the year 1800 a complaint with the guilds that the Bunpô soga would violate the rights on his Ryaku gashiki 畧画式 (1795) and Jinbutsu ryaku gashiki 人物畧画式 (1799). The guilds reacted by issuing an order to their members in the seventh month in Osaka and sometime between the fifth and ninth month in Kyoto to cease sale of the book (uridome 売止).

But how then did Eirakuya manage to resume production and sale of the title - apparently unchallenged - after only a few years had passed?

By closely analysing this incident the paper tries to gain a deeper understanding of the workings of disputes between publishers and between publishers and guilds and thereby to add to the understanding of the idea of copyright in the second half of the Edo-period.

Panel LitPre16
The concept of copyright in early-modern Japan