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The Japanese Contribution: The Kawaraban

Posted by: | September 12, 2011 | No Comment |

Japan and the history of print journalism aren’t two topics that people often think about together. And truthfully, I have no idea how they impact each other, either. But I studied Japanese in high school so I figured I’d volunteer to blog about the Japanese contribution.

Much of our timeline has concentrated on Europe and the Americas. Most of the Asian influence has been from China except the kawaraban.

The timeline states that in 1615, “Newssheets printed from engraved ink tiles – called ‘kawaraban,’ which means ‘title sheets’ – begin to appear in Japan, filled with gossip, scandal and sensationalism.”

When I google-image-searched kawaraban I didn’t receive too many hits. But here is one example:


A picture of a kawaraban courtesy of Wikipedia/the National Archives of Japan.

The important things to remember about this Japanese contribution to the history of print journalism are that they appeared in 1615 and were named after how they were made. I hope to learn more about the Japanese contribution as we continue with the timeline.

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