Aiming for the Printing Culture Studies

The role played by printing
thus far

Ever since its opening the Printing Museum, Tokyo, has widely publicized the role that printing has played in our lives, mainly through its exhibiting activities. The content of these have not concentrated merely on the technical aspects of the rapid advances that printing has made, but have raised the essential question of "what exactly is printing?" In other words the Museum's content is the result of pursuing the cultural side of printing—its social and historical aspects. Now, after 20 years of activities we still position this as our mission.

In the present day, we live in a world in which modes of communication change at a dizzying speed. This is due to the fact that we are entering an era of dramatic change owing to digital technologies, a revolution that outstrips even that of the information revolution sparked in the 15th century by Gutenberg's letterpress printing.

What is
the Printing Culture Studies?

It is because we are now in such an era of change in printing media that we at the Museum believe the present day is a vital historical point. The reason that the Museum is autonomously working to create "The Printing Culture Studies" is because we regard it as essential to systemize all the cultural achievements of printing that have such a long history. "The Printing Culture Studies" involves taking a new look, from the perspective of the scale of civilization's history, at the hitherto properly unexamined relationships between printing and mankind. It also adds the examination of the actions of mankind and society that have been connected to this relationship.

The Museum will continue to tackle this challenge in order to provide an important pointer in the pursuit of the present and future course of information media, and to make the study of printing culture a useful new academic area in the development of communications.