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During the Tokugawa Era, Japanese literacy was high, and townspeople especially enjoyed illustrated storybooks. Private commercial publishers flourished, and bookstores—some of which rented books to customers—spread in urban and rural communities.

Though Portuguese missionaries and Koreans introduced movable type to Japan during the 16th century, Japanese printers went back to woodblock printing during the years of seclusion from the West. Typically, a page of text was handwritten by a calligrapher, while an artist drew a design or illustration.

Top: Buying books/Goldfarb-Plug-In
Right: Reading/Goldfarb-Plug-In

Reading a book

On the Tokaido Road
View scenes from the Tokaido Road

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