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Eirakuya Toshiro

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  • Japanese: 永楽屋東四郎 (Eirakuya Tôshirô)

Eirakuya Tôshirô was the name of a series of book publishers based in Nagoya. Though a long lineage stretching from the 1770s until well into the Meiji period, they are perhaps most famous for the publication of Hokusai manga and other works illustrated by the famous ukiyo-e master Katsushika Hokusai.

The first to hold the name Eirakuya Tôshirô and to begin the publishing business was a gôyô shônin in service to the Nagoya han school Meirindô named Katano Naosato (片野直郷), who lived from 1741 to 1795/10/22. He first began publishing under the name Eiraku-ya in 1775, calling his shop Tôhekidô (東壁堂). His early publications included writings by Confucian scholars and other retainers of the domain.

After receiving official recognition from the booksellers' guild (nakama) of Nagoya in 1794, Eirakuya gained a more fully established position. He or his successor then also began collaborating with the prominent Edo-based publisher Tsutaya Jûzaburô, and later opened branch shops in Edo, and in Ôgaki city in Mino province.

Eirakuya was granted membership in the Edo booksellers' guild (tonya) in the 1830s. The second Eirakuya Tôshirô, also known as Katano Yoshinaga (善長) died in 1836. He was succeeded by Katano Yoshinori (善教), who was succeeded in turn by a different Katano Yoshinori (善功). They published a wide variety of books, including kokugaku works by Motoori Norinaga, poetry collections by figures such as Yokoi Yayû and Inoue Shirô, and the illustrated volumes of Hokusai manga.

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