Article ID: CBB737130212

Making and Using Scientific Instruments in Japan: How Scholars and Craftsmen Cooperated, 1781–1853 (April 2021)


Hashimoto, Takehiko (Author)

Technology and Culture
Volume: 62
Issue: 2
Pages: 401-422

Publication Date: April 2021
Edition Details: Special Issue: Technology Is Global: The Useful and Reliable Knowledge Debate
Language: English

This article examines five separate but interrelated cases concerning scientific instruments in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japan. Instruments like telescopes and clocks were not typically traded goods on the early modern Japanese market, but their use and production show us the inventive activities carried out in later Edo Japan. The first two cases highlight academic activities in Osaka, where scholars, in collaboration with craftsmen, made and used instruments in order to study Western natural sciences. Their activities were possible thanks to wealthy merchants, who promoted the active circulation of things and information. The three other cases are ingenious craftsmen who demonstrate the importance of their contact with academic intellectuals for making and elaborating optical and mechanical instruments. An analysis of their career paths reveals to what extent the goals and outcomes of their inventive activities were constrained and promoted by their social and occupational standing in the feudal society.

Associated with

Article Dagmar Schäfer; Simona Valeriani (April 2021) Technology Is Global: The Useful & Reliable Knowledge Debate. Technology and Culture (pp. 327-347). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Nakamura, Tsuko
Arch, Jakobina
Terrence Jackson
Kunihisa 訓久 Kubamoto 株本
Mathias Vigouroux
Frumer, Yulia
科学史研究 Kagakusi Kenkyu (History of Science)
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
HOST: Journal of History of Science and Technology
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
University of Hawaiʻi Press
Iowa State University
University of Washington Press
Presses Universitaires du Septentrion
Columbia University
Princeton University
Scientific apparatus and instruments
East Asia, civilization and culture
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Nagaoka, Hantarō
Gennai, Hiraga
Time Periods
Edo period (Japan, 1603-1868)
19th century
18th century
17th century
Meiji period (Japan, 1868-1910)
16th century
Nagasaki (Japan)
Pacific Ocean
United States

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