Creativity Initiative’s International Symposium “The Book in Transition, the East and the West”
December 25, 2017
On Saturday, December 9, an international symposium titled “The Book in Transition, the East and the West” was held in the East Research Building on Mita Campus. The symposium was organized by “The Creation of an Integrated Database for Bibliographical and Visual Analyses of Early Printing in Europe” project under the Keio University Global Research Institute’s Creativity Initiative.
In the first part of the symposium, two keynote speeches were given on the history of early printing in Eastern and Western cultures. The first was by Dr. Paul Needham (Scheide Library, Princeton University Library) titled “The Gutenberg Bible Family: Cousins, Children, and Grandchildren,” which was followed by “The Early Period of Japanese Books in Moveable Type: Relationships between Manuscript and Print” given by Professor Takahiro Sasaki (Institute of Oriental Classics, Keio University). Illustrated by examples from various sources, Dr. Needham portrayed how the Gutenberg Bible, which started the Printing Revolution in the West, became the origin of a new lineage of bibles while inheriting the traditions of the bibles that had come before it, as well as the influence it had on future generations. Professor Sasaki considered the characteristics that can be seen in old Japanese movable-type printing from comparisons of actual books that not only included publications from Korea and China, but also books printed in Japan by the Jesuits, putting the spotlight on the complex relationships seen in the history of printing.
In the second part of the symposium, seven researchers from around the globe presented case studies on books from the late medieval to early modern period. In the third part, a free discussion was held with the speakers and participants, and there was a lively exchange of opinions and ideas. Professor Takami Matsuda of the Faculty of Letters, who is also the deputy leader of the Creativity Initiative, gave the closing remarks and brought the symposium to a close.
Although all of the presentations on the day were given in English, over 70 individuals participated in the event. Furthermore, with the cooperation of Mr. Kenji Yagi of the “Atelier du parchemin (Youhishi-koubou),” an interactive exhibition titled the “Transition of Book Production” was set up within the venue.