The term "Gozanban" refers to the books published by Gozan (the Five Great Zen Temples in Kyoto) and other temples, which were affected by the active publication of books on Zen Buddhism in the age of the Sung and Yuan dynasties. While the Gozan in Kyoto were the center of publication, Zokutoan, of Kamakura Engaku-ji Temple, etc., also published books.
In the medieval period of Japan, Zen culture progressed and Gozan publications prospered as Chinese classical literature. Thus a publication culture emerged in association with the above. Because many books were reprinted versions of books imported from Sung and Yuan (Sung and Yuan editions), we can see the ancient style of wood-block printing in these books, and many of them are highly valued as materials by which to study the history of printing.
History of publication
1287: "Zenmon Hokun" (Zen Gate Jeweled Instructions) was published by Kencho-ji Temple.
In and after 1329: Jikusen Bonsen, a monk from Yuan, published "Shuigejushu" (Collection of Buddhist verses).
1340 - 1370's: Many Zen books were published by Myoha SHUNOKU and others.
"Engo Shinyo" (Teachings of Engo Kokugon edited by Shibun) (1341)
"Muchu Mondoshu" (Dialogues in a Dream) (1344)
"Keitoku Dentoroku" (The Record of the Transmission of the Lamp) (1348)
"Fukyohen" (Fu jiao bian) (1351)
"Zengen Shosenshu Tojo" (Commentary of the Ch'an-yuan-chu-ch'uan-chi tu-hsu) (1358)
"Hoshitsushu" (a collection of Iida Takesato's poems, essays and travelogues) (1359)
"Goto Egen" (a historical records of Chinese zen masters) (1368)
"Bukkan Zenji Goroku" (Teachings of Bushun Shiban) (1370)
"Bukko Kokushi Goroku" (Teachings of Bukko Kokushi) (1370)
"Sugyoroku" (Record of the Mirror of the Essential Teaching) (1371)
"Genko shakusho" (History of Buddhism of the Genko era) (1377)
"Shoso Sanron" (Three Treatises of Bodhidharma) (1387)
"Shoshitsu Rokumon" (a collection of six Zen essays)
In addition to the above, other foreign books such as "Rongo Analects," "Rongo Shikkai" (Commentaries on the Analects of Confucius), "Moshi Teigen" (Commentary of Mao shi (Classic Poetry, Book of Odes) by Tei Genshi) and "Daigaku Shoku" (Commentary of "Daigaku" (the Great Learning) written by Chu Hsi) were published. However, the publication of Gozanban gradually declined during 1394 and 1428, and no books were published after the Onin War.