Yasue, Akio
EAJRS Conservation/Preservation Working Group. Preservation consultant

The Kirishitan-ban and the Japan-Europe cultural interchange

In 1590, Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano introduced the Western printing technology to Japan with which the Kirishitan-ban or the Jesuit press publication was issued as the first movable metal type printing there. Several tens of tittles were published from 1591 until the promulgation of the edict of 1614 against professing Christianity.

Although the Kirishitan-ban itself is the outcome of the Japan-Europe relation, several important cultural interchanges between them have progressed since then with it.

Many Kirishitan-ban books were shipped to the West as the first European arrival of Japanese books. Many books were prized as precious while some were used to study Japanese language.

Much later in 19th century, two titles of the Kirishitan-ban, the Japanese grammar book written in Portugal and the Japanese-Portugal dictionary, were translated into French. The French translation of Kirishitan-ban had become the essential tools to study Japanese language in modern Europe. At about the same time, having recognized its cultural and historical importance, Earnest Satow, famous English diplomat and Japanologist, issued in 1888 a Kirishitan-ban bibliography entitled Jesuit mission press in Japan 1591-1610, which contained 14 Kirishitan-ban titles.

The introduction of the Satow’s bibliography in the end of the 19th century n Japan evoked the study of the Kirishitan-ban there. Japanese scholars have carried out research projects on the Kirishitan-ban over more than a hundred of years. It would be worth noting that in the course of visiting the library and archives collections in Europe, Japanese scholars discovered some new irreplaceable Kirishitan-ban books there.

In my presentation I will review the Japan-Europe cultural interchange related to Kirishitan-ban over the last 4 centuries and examine the significance of ‘books’ in that interchange.

キリシタン版と日欧文化交流

1590年、イエズス会宣教師ヴァリニャーノが西洋印刷技術を日本に導入した。それを用いた日本最初の活版印刷物がキリシタン版で、同版はキリスト教禁教令布告の1614年まで、日本で数十種、発行された。

キリシタン版発行は欧州からの技術移転で、それ自体、日欧交流の賜物だが、同版を巡り、その後、幾重にも亘る日欧文化交流が進展した。

まず、印刷されたキリシタン版は16世紀末~17世紀初めにかけて欧州に数多く舶載され、珍重された。それらは欧州に渡来した最初の日本書籍である。欧州渡来日本書籍は、カトリック司祭シドッティ(1668-1714)のケースのように、ローマで日本語習得に活用された例もある。

他方、19世紀に同版中の『日本文典』『日葡辞書』が仏訳され、黎明期欧州日本学の重要な礎となった。また、『日葡辞書』訳者のレオン・パジェスは『日本書誌』(1859)を著したが、同書誌は在欧キリシタン版12種を収載している。次いでアーネスト・サトウが詳細な『キリシタン版書誌』(1888)を著した。

19世紀末日本に伝来したサトウ『キリシタン版書誌』は、日本における本格的キリシタン版研究の出発点をなす。その後、日本で同研究が隆盛し今日に至るが、その途上、欧州その他で数々のキリシタン版書籍を新発見してきている。

発表では、上記の如き過去4世紀間のキリシタン版を巡る日欧文化交流を概観し、かつ文化交流における「書物」の意義について考察する。