This paper discusses the use of and the demand for the books owned by domain schools in the early Meiji period, using the case of the Shinshu Takato Domain.
In 1874, the books owned by the domain school of the Shinshu Takato Domain were confiscated by the now-defunct Chikuma Prefecture, which mediated the dispute over the ownership of the books after Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures). However, some of the books were kept in the area thanks to the efforts by local people involved in education. This paper compared these books that were confiscated by the prefectural government, kept in Nagano Normal School, and then have been passed on to the library of the Shinshu University Faculty of Education as “Domain Library,” with the books that have been passed on to the local library of Takato-cho carrying the name of the domain school “Shintoku-kan,” and analyzed the characteristics of the Chinese classic books categorized according to the four-fold classification system as well as Japanese books based on whether they have kanbun kundoku (Japanese reading of Chinese characters) or not.
The results of the analysis showed that many of the books that remained in the area were history books and the majority of them have body texts with kun-yomi (native Japanese reading), while most of the Ming editions and Qing editions generally considered valuable books today as well as many of the book whose body texts do not have kun-yomi are included in the books confiscated by the prefectural government. Based on how the history books were kept in a systematic manner, it is believed that the local people had control over the choices and kept those books intentionally. In addition, the local people did not keep the books written by Sorai Ogyu and Shundai Dazai, who were from Kobunjigaku, the traditional school of Takato Domain, which suggests how the books kept in the domain school were used and what kind of demands there were in the early Meiji period.
It was revealed the people in Shinshu Takato chose the books they needed in the early meiji period, not because of scholarly tradition or rareness of the books, but because of the practical utility of the books, that is, they chose the books whose body texts have kun-yomi, which are easy for Japanese people to read, and the history books that allow us to learn concrete examples from facts. The books from the domain school are still used in the early Meiji period, which is probably why the people kept practical books in their community.
I would like to further explore the books from the perspective of the archive kept in the prefectural government and their connection with the educational system of the Meiji period.