Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

7/1/2011 - 6/30/2012

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

A Market of Their Own: Books for Women in Early Modern Japan

FAIN: FA-56203-11

Jamie Lynn Newhard
Washington University (St. Louis, MO 63130-4862)

This project examines the situation of early modern Japanese women, particularly urban commoner women, through the prism of book history. Existing scholarship on women’s education focuses primarily on repressive moral tracts written by Confucian scholars, but bookseller-publishers marketed a wide range of other material to female audiences, from household encyclopedias to love letter writing manuals. By placing the history of commercial publishing at the center of the inquiry, viewing Confucian tracts as the products of a struggle to dominate a multifaceted marketplace of ideas and images, and construing women as readers and consumers rather than passive targets of indoctrination, this research contributes to a fuller, more nuanced understanding of both the world of commercial publishing and the lives of women in early modern Japan.