Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. -

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List of Figures, Maps, and Tables

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pp. ix-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi- xii

This project has been a long time in preparation and there are many people and institutions that have assisted along the way. Most of the research was done during two years in Kyoto, Japan, while on sabbatical leave from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. During academic year...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In a political cartoon some years ago, a Bill Gates look-alike stands alongside an elevated highway and motions to a group of serious-minded businessmen in dark suits to follow him along the “information superhighway” into the future. At the...

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1 Literacy in Early Tokugawa Villages

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pp. 9-43

The origins of popular literacy in Japan are obscure. The beginnings of reading and writing among members of the provincial elite may be traced as far back as the ritsuryo state of the eighth century, when aristocratic families in the metropolis of Nara were building a bureaucratic centralized government on the Chinese...

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2 Signatures, Ciphers, and Seals

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pp. 44-79

The history of Japanese education does not suffer so much from lack of attention as from too much attention to particular areas. For instance, a great deal of work has been done on writing schools (terakoya or tenaraisho) , so much so that up to now the only...

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3 Rural Culture and the Rise of Provincial Literati in the Eighteenth Century

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pp. 80-112

The data on signatures and personal marks, however limited in scope, show that important distinctions with respect to literacy and learning among rural and small-town commoners were already evident in late medieval and early Tokugawa Japan. A highly skilled leadership class, supported by prominent local families, administered...

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4 The Expansion of Popular Literacy in the Nineteenth Century

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pp. 113-136

In the first half of the nineteenth century, popular literacy began to expand beyond the limited confines of the provincial leadership group, whose advanced skills have been outlined in previous chapters. Because of their high literacy, village leaders and provincial literati...

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5 Direct Measures of Popular Literacy in the Nineteenth Century

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pp. 137-161

The intent of this chapter is to go beyond school attendance records and analyze data on actual skills of lower-level farmers, middle- to lower-class urbanites, and rural women. Systematic national data for assessing literacy and illiteracy rates only become available in the 1890s and that material is described in the epilogue...

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Epilogue: Illiteracy in Meiji Japan

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pp. 162-196

At the end of his long and fact-filled book on the Kennedy assassination, Norman Mailer finally asked, “Did Oswald do it?” In response he stated that if one’s answer is to come out anything larger than an opinion, “it is necessary to contend with the question of evidence.” Realizing that the evidence in the case amounted to “a jungle of conflicting estimates,” Mailer arrived at a disheartening truth: the evidence itself would...

Appendix

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pp. 197-198

Notes

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pp. 199-218

Bibliography

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pp. 219-228

Index

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pp. 229-238