Readers as sons-in-law

Available on SHARP's "Translations" page right now: Peter Kornicki's translation [PDF] of a Hamada Keisuke 濱田啓介 article on Bakin and his market. As Kornicki explains in his introduction [PDF]:

Professor Hamada wrote this article at the age of 23 while a graduate student at Kyoto University and it rapidly achieved the status of a classic article. Its significance lies in its insistence, startling at the time, on the fundamental importance of appreciating the market place in which commercial fiction was produced in Japan.

A great quote in the paper from Kyōden on kashihon'ya, for-profit book lenders:

The publishers are the parents, those who are kind enough to read the books are the son-in-law and the kashihon'ya are the go-betweens. ... The son-in-law who reads the books tends not to like them but the kashihon'ya use their go-between language to say "I have got just the girl for you", making the best out of a bad job and persuading him, and so it is that an unpromising girl meets with a suitable son-in-law. This is entirely due to the persuasion of the go-between kashihon'ya whom we rely upon.

It's worth noting that kashihon'ya were an important part of the Japanese literary market well into the postwar period, and even today chains like Tsutaya rent out comic books along with DVDs and CDs.

Popularity factor: 2



> The publisher of Hakkenden won’t give up: now that Hakkenden is finished he is asking me to write Kyūgyūden. … The publisher of Konpirabune rishō no tomozuna came last [the publisher] Nishimuraya Yohachi asked me to write a women’s version of The romance of the three kingdoms but I talked him out of it and wrote Kanso magaimitate gundan.


> The references to “women’s versions” are not to versions written for women readers but to retellings of familiar stories with female characters substituted for men, so a “women’s version of Chūshingura” would replace the forty-seven samurai of the famous story with forty-seven women. PK.

I knew Edo period thrived in fanfic but it's cool to know that they already had the genderswap subgenre. The publisher's visionary proposal would eventually come to life in the form of a "visual novel" porn game.


Oh, yeah, they were genderswapping all over the place. Like, books of the 50 greatest sumo wrestlers as played by the current 50 most popular oyama... I don't know if that exact book existed but it would have fit in perfectly fine with what I have seen.

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur

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