Sorimachi Shigeo

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  • Born: 1901/8/28
  • Died: 1991/9/4
  • Japanese: 反町 茂雄 (Sorimachi Shigeo)

Sorimachi Shigeo was a 20th century scholar of book history, and book dealer.

Originally from Niigata prefecture, he attended Tokyo Imperial University. He first began working for Isseidô Bookstore in the Kanda district of Tokyo in 1927. Five years later, he established his own operation, Kôbunshô (弘文荘), selling books by catalog (without a storefront).

Through his efforts in the book world, he helped uncover a number of manuscripts and other old books which had not been known to be extant, including a copy of Matsuo Bashô's Kai ôi, and a copy of the Tameie version of Tosa nikki. A 1671 handscroll painting in the University of Hawaii's Sakamaki-Hawley Collection, the oldest known scroll depicting the street procession of a Ryukyuan embassy to Edo, also bears his seal.[1]

Sorimachi also wrote a number of works on book history, including Nihon no kotenseki ("Old Books of Japan") and Ichi koshoshi no omoide ("Memories of One Old Bookshop").

Sorimachi died in 1991 at the age of 90.


  1. Yokoyama Manabu, Ryûkyûkoku shisetsu tôjô gyôretsu emaki wo yomu, in Kurushima Hiroshi (ed.), Egakareta gyôretsu (University of Tokyo Press, 2015), 172.