Brian Steininger - Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, Princeton University
The proliferation of power centers in Japan’s thirteenth and fourteenth centuries brought a corresponding boom in cultural activity, which has left an outsized footprint in the extant manuscript corpus. One of the most important centers for the collection and reproduction of books at this time was the Kanazawa Library, established near the shogunate headquarters in Kamakura. This library was unique in the success and scale of its acquisitions, but in fact shows significant continuities with larger patterns of book circulation among the military households of eastern Japan. Why did shogunate figures such as Hōjō Sanetoki and Adachi Yasumori devote such energy to collecting books, particularly canonical Chinese classics? How did they assemble their libraries? By answering these questions, this lecture suggests methods for examining medieval textual culture as an integrated network.