Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Household encyclopedias and everyday knowledge in early modern Japan.

November 27, 2013 - 12:15-13:15

East Asian Lunch Seminar

Lecturer: Steffen Remvik, IKOS
A certain type of household encyclopedias, collectively referred to as setsuyōshū, were incredibly popular in early modern Japan. The first setsuyōshū emerged late in the fifteenth century and was a kind of dictionary used for looking up Chinese characters through their Japanese readings. In the early modern period, along with the commercialization of print, the setsuyōshū genre went through some significant changes. Apart from being dictionaries, as they still continued to be, many editions started to also include encyclopedic information on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from astrology to etiquette and from maps to poetry. Alongside this expansion in content, the genre also expands in distribution, both geographically and socially. The genre was in fact aimed specifically at a popular audience, not just the elite. Considering this, is it reasonable to see the information contained within the setsuyōshūas a representation of contemporary common knowledge? What does the various kinds of information in the setsuyōshū tell us about early modern Japan? These are some of the questions that will be adressed in this presentation.

Steffen Remvik is a PhD candidate at IKOS, where he works on a project called “A history of setsuyōshū: the development of popular knowledge and the new social imaginary in early modern Japan”.


The seminar is open for everybody: students, teachers and people from society at large. Bring your lunchbox, and we’ll supply some (non-alcoholic) drinks.

Venue: 12th floor, Niels Treschows hus, Dept. of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo

Household encyclopedias and everyday knowledge in early modern Japan.


November 27, 2013