The 81th Tobunken-ASNET seminar "The study of Shi Shuo Xin Yu Bu during the Edo period"

【Date】 Nov 7 (Thu), 2013, 17:00-18:00

【Venue】 Ground Floor, Tobunken

【Speaker】 Liu Chia-Hsin(Visiting Fellow)

【Title】 The study of Shi Shuo Xin Yu Bu during the Edo period


Shi Shuo Xin Yu 世說新語 became popularized in the Edo period 江戶時代 via civilian merchant ship between China and Japan as well as the improvement of typography. From 1694 to 1853, Shi Shuo Xin Yu (the Ming and Qing Dynasty versions 明清刊本) with their commentaries and pastiches spread to Japan prosperously. Shi Shuo Xin Yu Bu 世說新語補 (the version composed by Shizhen Wang 王世貞) was the most popular one in both official and private schools was printed out in a large amount. Japanese litterateurs had great enthusiasm on studying it then many local commentaries and pastiche suddenly come out. Even people started to add “Shi Shuo” 世說 into book name for better selling. This new trend totally changed the custom in Heian era 平安朝 that only the nobility can read “Shi Shuo Xin Yu” and use it in writings.
The followings are questions I try to answer. Why newly arrived Shi Shuo Xin Yu Bu brings about new situation and scholars enjoy it so much? The people who annotate Shi Shuo Xin Yu Bu are all famous Japanese sinologist and monks. Why they highly value this book and how they explain it with their own beliefs and ideology? How Tokugawa Shogunate 德川幕府 which establishing Zhuism 朱子學 as state religion and promoting education deals with this book while dogmatist greatly critic it? This article will investigate the publishing situation of commentaries of Shi Shuo Xin Yu Bu, then explain the major reasons lead to a upsurge of this book and its connection to Chinese literature and history education