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Hayashi Tadaichi. 少年帝都復興双六 [Shonen Teito Fukko Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Nihon Shonen January 1924 (Taisho 13). Colour printed broadside 55x79cm. Folded, some small holes and tears repaired; a pretty good copy. Au$400

Have you seen a better piece of visionary urban planning? This sugoroku - racing game - accompanied the New Year issue of Nihon Shonen (Japanese Boy) and what better way to mark the new year than rebuilding the freshly devastated Tokyo along utopian lines? The title more or less translates as Boy's Reconstruction of the Imperial Capital and I'd move there in a flash. This has been thought out. Public transport is a marvel with canals, aerial cable cars and trains tearing round the city and on and off ferries; the airport is sensibly at flight level, which must save enormous amounts of fuel; I think the floating palace is an overnight shuttle to America. Public health and safety is well considered: the fire brigade operates from a tower with a water cannon that can reach across the city to extinguish fires and the hospital will come to you, no matter the terrain. Culture and sport are catered for and the traditional at heart will be comforted to see industry over on the wrong side of the tracks, well away from the houses on the hill, where it belongs. Two essential Tokyo survivors are the start and finish: Tokyo railway station and the imperial palace. I don't approve of the alarm on the clock tower but no-one can be unimpressed by the solar heating plant. Boy or not, this is the town for me.


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Ishii Usaburo. 新撰大匠雛形大全 [Shinsen Taisho Hinagata Taizen]. Osaka, Seikado 1897 [Meiji 30]. Six volumes small quarto by size, publisher's embossed wrappers with title labels; illustrations throughout, a couple folding - all lithographed. The cover surfaces well grazed by insects, excellent inside; a rather good set. Au$850

First edition of this excellent builder/architect's pattern book - it was reprinted in 1910 - published just at the time when there was both a cultural argument and a government led reaction against the wholesale importation of western architecture into Japan. This particular book bridges the confrontation between a nationalistic return to ancient temple forms and the fervour for modernisation. Two thirds of this book is traditional Japanese design, structure and carpentry but the last two volumes introduce western building designs and, in the details, western building methods. Here nuts, bolts and metal brackets replace traditional carpentry and forms in masonry are described. In the last volume are a series of profiles of mouldings, architectural hardware and fairly elaborate gates, fences and entries in western styles. At this time architecture itself was an innovation - the first generation of trained architects were beginning to replace the craftsman, until then designer and builder. But the Imperial Palace, despite the Emperor's push for modernity for the country, was not built to the designs of any of the western or western trained architects who submitted designs; it was built by the Imperial Carpenter, who went on to teach many of these young, new architects then, in turn, responsible for the resurgence of Japanese historicism.


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Kon Wajiro. 新版大東京案内 [Shinpan Dai Tokyo Annai]. Tokyo, Chuo Koronsha 1929 (Showa 4). Octavo publisher's illustrated boards and slipcase (wear and a couple of chips from the slipcase, rubbing and surface loss to some of the spine of the book - probably a label removed); 380pp and four double page maps, illustrations throughout, several full page. Text block pretty much detached from the covers. Not the best but certainly not the worst copy of this graphically smart but badly made book. Au$100

A new guide to a new Tokyo by the founder of modernology. This is not a guide to carry round, the flimsy construction puts paid to that if you try. Tokyo is divided into culture, purpose and theme more than districts. It comes out of the years spent documenting Tokyo and its people after the 1923 earthquake - what is now called urban ethnology - and work done with other designers and architects shaping the new Tokyo. It is sort of an adjunct and a preface to the Modernologio books to come in the next few years.


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Frank Lloyd Wright. Sugawara Eizo. 新橋演舞場 [Shinbashi Enbujo - Shinbashi Theatre]. Tokyo, Koyosha 1926 (Taisho 15) Small quarto publisher's decorated white boards blocked in gilt and red, printed card slipcase (this with some not so serious wear); [2],10pp and 71 plates (plans and photo plates, two colour plates with mosaic designs). Covers a bit smudged, a few pages with some browning or spotting; a very good copy of a smart book in a hardly sensible binding. Au$950

This could be called 'Frank Lloyd Wright's Tokyo Theatre' for it is, top to toe, Wright at his most Japanese. Even the red and gold design on the cover is pure Wright. Wright did design a never-built theatre while in Tokyo so, despite his aversion to sharing credit, or fees, perhaps he had some satisfaction in seeing the theatre of his colleague and acolyte Sugawara Eizo realised so exactly in his own image. Following the colour plates of mosaic designs are measured drawings and plans and photo views of the exterior and interior, where Wright is particularly rampant, with satisfying detail. The theatre lasted longer than Wright's Imperial Hotel by a few years - it was rebuilt in 1982 - but this monograph seems to be the only real record that survives. As no drawings or plans for Wright's Ginza theatre are known to survive, this is as close as we get to his ambitions for a Japanese theatre. OCLC finds two locations outside Japan, neither are architecture or design libraries, and a search of umpteen likely catalogues found no more.


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City Planning. Xinjing or Shinkyo (Changchun) - Manchukuo. 國都新京建設の全貌 [Kokuto Shinkyo Kensetsu no Zenbo]. Shinkyo, Manshukoku Kokumuin Kokuto Kensetsukyoku 1936. Colour printed sheet 54x78cm with colour bird's eye view and panorama on one side; colour plan, smaller b/w photo illustrations and text on the other. Folded as issued, minor signs of use. Au$750

In many ways the new capital of Manchukuo was - is - a planner's dream. Here was an empire building militaristic government wanting to both experiment with all that had been learned about city planning and show the west that not only could they do it, but do it better. Changchun, a hybrid Chinese-Russian-Japanese railway town, was appointed the new capital, it was renamed, a five year plan for a new city was drawn up under the guidance of Professor Riki (or Toshikata) Sano in 1932, a quick compromise with a competing plan was made, and building was underway in early 1933. Local interests (ie the Chinese and Manchu population) and business were allowed notional input but the brief was clear: social theory, technology and architecture that made for an efficient colonial capital could be put into place, local self-interest could not. Of course it was not so simple. This was to be a pan-Asian showcase, superior to western, especially colonial western, models, not equal. Confucianism, traditional ritual and Asian racial harmony were to be a central part of the city. What more could any urbanist ask for? Students of the plan might like to start with Yishi Liu's 2011 doctoral thesis, 'Competing Visions of the Modern;' where Griffin's Canberra plan and Griffin's diagrams for road classification are illustrated beside Xinjing's. By 1936 - when our view of the future city was produced - a lot was still dust and open space but, by the gods, whatever else they learnt from Burley Griffin's Canberra - and it was a lot - about planning a city, they certainly learnt how not to build a city. What they already knew is what all architects know - by instinct? - to redraw plans to fit what has been built and what is likely to be built. This is, I think, the third or fourth and last of such views of the new city. There were similar prints in 1933, maybe in 34, and 35. The city was declared open in 1937. I'm yet to see the first two but the changes between 1935 and 1936 are noteworthy. The plan is much the same, mildy shrunk, and some buildings in our imaginary bird's eye view may reflect actual building but what becomes clear is that ambition has been scaled back to come closer to what they thought could exist next year. City blocks of large scale housing are now more sparse clumps of bungalows; elaborate Sino-Japanese modernism is plain modernism.


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City Planning. Xinjing or Shinkyo (Changchun) - Manchukuo. 國都建設の全貌 [Kokuto Kensetsu no Zenbo]. Shinkyo, Manshukoku Kokumuin Kokuto Kensetsukyoku 1935. Colour printed sheet 54x78cm with colour bird's eye view on one side; colour plan, smaller b/w photo illustrations and text on the other. Folded as issued, minor signs of use. Official looking stamp dated 4.6.18 (June 18 1935). Au$750

In many ways the new capital of Manchukuo was - is - a planner's dream. Here was an empire building militaristic government wanting to both experiment with all that had been learned about city planning and show the west that not only could they do it, but do it better. Changchun, a hybrid Chinese-Russian-Japanese railway town, was appointed the new capital, it was renamed, a five year plan for a new city was drawn up under the guidance of Professor Riki (or Toshikata) Sano in 1932, a quick compromise with a competing plan was made, and building was underway in early 1933. Local interests (ie the Chinese and Manchu population) and business were allowed notional input but the brief was clear: social theory, technology and architecture that made for an efficient colonial capital could be put into place, local self-interest could not. Of course it was not so simple. This was to be a pan-Asian showcase, superior to western, especially colonial western, models, not equal. Confucianism, traditional ritual and Asian racial harmony were to be a central part of the city. What more could any urbanist ask for? Students of the plan might like to start with Yishi Liu's 2011 doctoral thesis, 'Competing Visions of the Modern;' where Griffin's Canberra plan and Griffin's diagrams for road classification are illustrated beside Xinjing's. By 1935 - when our view of the future city was produced - a lot was still dust and open space but, by the gods, whatever else they learnt from Burley Griffin's Canberra - and it was a lot - about planning a city, they certainly learnt how not to build a city.


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Yokosuka. 横須賀港一覧絵図 [Yokosuka-ko Ichiran Ezu]. Tokyo, Matsunosuke Nishimura1879 (Meiji 12). Engraved broadside 38x52cm. Folded as issued, with the original coloured wrapper (fukoro) - somewhat grubby and used but complete. A remarkably good copy. Au$600

Ideal for the detail fanatic: not much is missed and most of it is neatly labelled. This is the new Yokosuka naval base and shipyards where Japan's first modern warships were produced.


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Kon Wajiro & Yoshida Kenkichi. モデルノロヂオ - 考現学 [Moderunorojio - Kogengaku]. Tokyo, Shun'yudo 1930 (Showa 5). Large octavo publisher's decorated cloth blocked in white, red and black, with a somewhat frayed and used dustwrapper with some old repairs; 361pp, illustrations throughout, a few photo or colour plates. Mild browning, a rather good copy. Au$1100

Second printing apparently, printed five days after the first according to the colophon. Who would have thought? Still, this is an extraordinary book; the gospel of Modernology and hard enough to find in decent condition, let alone with dustwrapper. Kon and Yoshida have compiled an encyclopaedia, surely unsurpassed, of the people of Tokyo, fit to provoke unseemly enthusiasm in theoreticians and urban planners ever since. I gather that Kon's thesis is that those who do the planning, designing and building know nothing of what people actually do, what they own and how they use those things - how they live and who they are.


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