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  • Other Names: 光悦本 (Kouetsu bon)
  • Japanese: 嵯峨本 (Saga bon)

Saga-bon were among the first books to be printed (rather than written out or copied by hand) in Japan. They were produced by Hon'ami Kôetsu, with the patronage of Suminokura Ryôi, in the last years of the 16th century, and the first years of the 17th.

Saga-bon are distinctive among Japanese printed books in that they were made using wooden movable type blocks, in contrast to the metal type used in Korea and Europe, and in contrast to the full-page woodblocks which would come to dominate printing in 17th-19th century Japan. Moveable type in Japan - both in metal and wood - was used for a few decades in the 1590s-1630s, but died out afterwards. Saga-bon are also distinctive among movable type books in that, rather than carving separate blocks for separate characters, Saga-bon often made use of blocks which contained multiple characters, connected by ligatures, giving the illusion of text which flowed calligraphically from one character to the next.


  • Nakashima Takashi, Ogawa Yasuhiko, Unno Keisuke, lectures, Wahon Literacies symposium/workshop, UCLA & UC Santa Barbara, 31 Aug to 4 Sept, 2015.[1]