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Scrolls to Cell Phones and Beyond – new exhibit

Scrolls to Cell Phones and Beyond: Publishing Technology and the Experience of the Written Text in Japan

DATES: September 6th, 2010 – December 10th, 2010
LOCATION: Sterling Memorial Library Corridor Exhibit Space (1st floor)

In many cultures throughout the centuries, publishing technology was used to produce texts. As publishing technologies and the medium of texts changed, production and distribution of texts also changed, impacting readership and the ways readers interacted with those texts. These technologies sometimes overlapped chronologically and were not mutually exclusive. For example, although Japanese woodblock scrolls are one of the earliest recorded uses of woodblock printing technology in the world, the practice of hand-copying manuscripts continued to be highly valued and printing technology did not become widespread until the Edo period. Like other countries, it is evident that Japanese readership throughout history has been influenced greatly by not only the manual copying of manuscripts on scrolls as a unique practice, but also the invention of typeset and woodblock printing techniques which promoted the standardization of texts. Physical features of books, such as formats, sizes, covers, and typography, contributed to the unique character of each literary artifact, suggesting the variety in readership. While industrial printing technologies increased readership, as well as promoted serialized stories in the field of literature, they also contributed to the uniqueness and character of reading objects. In recent years, new methods of textual creation, facilitated by the development of multimedia platforms for both creation and reception, such as the cellular phone, have brought an interactive dimension to readership.
This exhibit showcases the evolution of Japanese publishing technology and the experience of the written text. It is organized in conjunction with the annual conference for the Association of Japanese Literary Studies (AJLS) at Yale University, October 15-17, 2010, the theme of which is “technology”. Exhibited here are items ranging from valuable rare books to multimedia phenomena, all collected by the East Asia Library and other libraries at Yale University.

For more information about the East Asia Library at Yale, please go to: http://www.library.yale.edu/eastasian/ or contact the Curator of the exhibit at: east.asia.library@yale.edu or at (203) 432-1790.