Yomihon (読本 yomi-hon, "reading books") is a type of Japanese book from the Edo period (1603–1867), that was influenced by Chinese vernacular novels such as Water Margin. Unlike other Japanese books of the period, they had few illustrations, and the emphasis was on the text. Often described as moralistic, the books also featured plot elements taken from Chinese and Japanese historical literature and records. The characters often included witches and fairy princesses. They were highly intellectual and were inaccessible to most readers.
Tsuga Teishō, Takebe Ayatari, and Okajima Kanzan were instrumental in developing the yomihon. Another early pioneer of the yomihon was Ueda Akinari, with his Ugetsu Monogatari and Harusame Monogatari. Kyokutei Bakin wrote the extremely popular fantasy/historical romance Nansō Satomi Hakkenden, in addition to other yomihon. Santō Kyōden wrote yomihon mostly set in the pleasure quarters until the Kansei edicts banned such works.
- Zolbrod, Leon (1966). "Yomihon: The Appearance of the Historical Novel in Late Eighteenth Century and Early Nineteenth Century Japan". Journal of East Asian Studies. 25 (3): 485–498. JSTOR 2052003.
- Washburn, Dennis (1990). "Ghostwriters and Literary Haunts. Subordinating Ethics to Art in Ugetsu Monogatari". Monumenta Nipponica. 45 (1): 39–74. JSTOR 2384497.
- Zolbrod, Leon M. (1966). "Takizawa Bakin, 1767-1848. A Restoration that Failed". Monumenta Nipponica. 22 (1/2): 1–46. JSTOR 2383404.
- Devitt, Jane (1979). "Santō Kyōden and The Yomihon". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 39 (2): 253–274. JSTOR 2718853.
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