Varvara Firsova
Affiliation. Position

The library and reading history in Russia and Japan in 19th Century: comparative analysis

In the 19th century Japan and Russia were facing many political and cultural changes: the restoration of imperial rule in Japan and the abolition of serfdom in Russia in the 60s of the 19th century. These events greatly influenced further development of libraries and reading. This paper analyzes the following aspects:

1. Appearance of first public libraries in Russia and Japan. The first public library in Japan was opened in 1908, and over the next few years, their number reached about 400 libraries, but it is noteworthy that many libraries were commercial. The first official public library was opened in 1814, and it became the Imperial Public Library in Russia. However, in general, there was no large increase in the number of public libraries in subsequent years in Russia. This is probably due to the low percentage of the literate population.

2. Development of private libraries in two countries. Long before the appearance of public libraries in Russia and Japan, there was a large number of private libraries. In Japan, these were often purely commercial enterprises, but some book collectors made their books available to everyone. There were not so many commercial libraries in Russia, which is probably due to the relatively low demand for books.

3. Consideration of readers and published literature in the context of social and cultural situations in two countries. In the 19th century, the growth of readership among the common population attracts attention. However, the literature they read was significantly different.

The development of libraries in Russia and Japan has a number of similar features, but still more attention is drawn to the differences. Analysis of the differences in the development of libraries and reading culture can help better understand the cultural differences and similarities between Russia and Japan.