Printed With Movable Type; “Gen’na Chokuhan”

GOMIZUNOO, Emperor (reigned 1611-29).  Kocho ruien [A Library of Chinese Classics by Courtly Scholars].  By Shaoyu Jiang [in Japanese: Ko-Shogu].  78 parts plus table of contents bound in 15 vols. (full collation supplied in the Hyde catalogue).  Large 8vo (286 x 215 mm.), paper wrappers, new stitching.  [Japan]: Chokuban or Chokuhan [privately published by the Emperor’s order], 1621.

First edition and a fine set of one of the very few surviving “imperial editions” printed with movable type in Japan.  This enormous publication, by far the largest of the eight surviving “chokuhan” (imperial printings) and the only surviving “gen’na chokuhan” (imperial printing during the reign of Emperor Gomizunoo) is of very great rarity.  The production of this large work was a very complex and difficult project, employing the recently imported technology of movable type from Korea.

At the time of the writing of the Hyde sale catalogue, it was believed that the present work was printed with copper type; the latest research has suggested that wooden type was used but there is no definitive conclusion.


Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.