An archive of documents, records, & files concerning a privately owned lending library (Osaki Kashihonya) and its sister publishing/printing house (Oku gun yamakita shorin), active in Kokufu son in the county of Oku gun (in today’s Okayama Prefecture). PUBLISHING HOUSE OSAKI SHISEIDO LENDING LIBRARY, OKAYAMA PREFECTURE PRINTING OFFICE.
An archive of documents, records, & files concerning a privately owned lending library (Osaki Kashihonya) and its sister publishing/printing house (Oku gun yamakita shorin), active in Kokufu son in the county of Oku gun (in today’s Okayama Prefecture).

Reading Tastes, Book Distribution, & the Business of Publishing
& Printing in the Meiji Period

An archive of documents, records, & files concerning a privately owned lending library (Osaki Kashihonya) and its sister publishing/printing house (Oku gun yamakita shorin), active in Kokufu son in the county of Oku gun (in today’s Okayama Prefecture).

Several thousand leaves. Various sizes & formats of notebooks. Ca. 40 notebooks & ledgers. Kokufu son: 1888-99.

A fascinating archive, consisting of ca. 40 notebooks and ledger books (some with cords for hanging on the wall), maintained by the Osaki Shiseido company, which owned the Osaki Kashihonya lending library and the Oku gun yamakita shorin publishing and printing house. The proprietor of Osaki Shiseido was Yasaburo Osaki; his company was active in the county of Oku gun, in what is today’s eastern Okayama Prefecture, selling and renting books to the public and schools throughout the region as well as printing for local and regional governmental departments.

The archive is remarkable: there is detailed information on the reading tastes of the region’s population, the textbook requirements for local schools’ curricula, and the actual business of an active printing and publishing house. The archive contains book-rental receipt books, inventory books, records of orders for books, records of books lent with names of borrowers, cash-receipt ledgers, sales ledgers with details of accounts receivable, invoices and promissory notes, account books, records of printing supplies purchased by Osaki, and several notebooks of records maintained by travelling representatives of the company.

Salesmen had six regular routes through the region, visiting towns such as Kubokai, Odomi, Saidaiji, Shirimi, Fukuoka, and Kagato. In this archive are record books maintained by the salesmen, with notes on customers and suppliers. These notebooks contain detailed information on fees for rental of books, dates of loans and returns, titles of books, names of borrowers and their locations, etc.

The Osaki Kashihonya was also a principal printer and supplier of educational books to the local schools of the region, and we find detailed accounts of titles, quantities, money owed by the governments, order books sent by Osaki to schools for teachers to make selections (present are three completed order books from a school for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades), etc.

There are extensive records of purchases of books by the Osaki lending library with information on prices and titles. The range of subjects is fascinating: tea ceremony books to history to literature to works on home remedies.

The printing and publishing division — the Oku gun yamakita shorin — was very active, and we find considerable documentation regarding purchases of papers, inks, and brushes, with names and addresses of suppliers and customers. The records of paper buying are particularly interesting, as the varieties of papers and their prices are given.

Some of the notebooks are considerably wormed, but legibility is unimpaired. The records for the year 1890 are not present.

Price: $17,500.00

Item ID: 7379