Professor Hiroki Kikuchi - Historiographical Institute, University of Tokyo
Professor Kikuchi will discuss pre-modern practices used by aristocratic clans and Buddhist lineages to limit the transmission of specialist texts to a small circle of relatives and disciples. The title phrase, “letting the copy out the window,” is a translation of the Japanese popular phrase 写本を窓外に出すべからず.
Professor Kikuchi will provide a brief history of the tradition of copying texts in Japan by focusing on certain cases, such as Buddhist commentaries and aristocratic court diaries. He will also discuss the copying project undertaken in the modern period by Yale professor and curator Asakawa Kan’ichi and the University of Tokyo Historiographical Institute. The manuscripts copied for this project were brought to Yale, and are now part of the Japanese Manuscript Collection in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, where Professor Kikuchi is currently conducting research as a Beinecke Fellow.