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New of Pom and Song The English and Japanese. 英和対訳新体運動歌 [Eiwa Taiyaku Shintai Undoka]. Tokyo, 1887 [Meiji 20]. Small octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; [2],32,[2]pp. A bit used, rather good copy for such a vulnerable thing. A christmas gift inscription on the front to 'Father' dated Dec 16, 1887. Au$1200

A pioneering Japanese foray into English poetry and poetry in English which I can't find anywhere but the National Diet Library. Elsewhere I found two references to this. One is Basil Chamberlain's 'Things Japanese', the other 'Japan for a Week' by Alexander M. Thompson who clearly never saw this booklet but, misreading Chamberlain, requotes a poem from 'Things Japanese' which isn't in this. Chamberlain, in the chapter 'English as She is Japped' quotes two poems without explicitly stating they are from this; they aren't. Did he see the book? What is here is a mix of what seem to be poems by English and Japanese writers, things that are more aphorisms and morals than poems and an intriguing excerpt from Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade. This isn't a production for western tourists or export of the pretty sort that became popular through the 1890's. This is a modest first step of the Japanese setting out - as they did with all things western - to learn, encompass and digest a new form.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 世界商売往来補遺 [Sekai Shobai Orai Hoi]. Tokyo 1873 [Meiji 6]. 180x120mm publisher's wrapper, missing the title label; 23 double folded leaves; one double page and numerous small illustrations throughout. A rather good copy. Au$275

Hashizume made a specialty of handbooks and vocabularies introducing the Japanese to the notion of international trade trade and western languages in the early Meiji period. In 1871 he published a handy Japanese-English vocabulary of world trade for Japanese merchants dealing with westerners and in 1873 followed up with two companion works. This one, as I understand it, concentrates on sales.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 世界商売往来 [Sekai Shobai Orai - literally World Trade Traffic]. Tokyo 1873 [Meiji 6]. 180x120mm publisher's wrapper (title label gone, titled in manuscript on the front cover); 26 double folded leaves; one full page and numerous small illustrations throughout. Au$325

Second edition? - first published in 1871 - of this handy bilingual vocabulary of world trade giving the English, with Japanese explanations, of a wide range of terms, place names, goods, and so on. Hashizume, who specialised in handbooks on trade and on foreign languages, produced, I think, three of these guides for merchants with similar titles. This is the first and the next two supplement this.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 世界商売往来 [Sekai Shobai Orai - literally World Trade Traffic]. Tokyo 1871? 180x120mm publisher's wrapper (title label with a small chip); 26 double folded leaves; one full page colour and numerous small colour illustrations throughout, a half-page plain illustration inside the front cover. Clearly a read copy, with some small blotches and smudges but still rather good. Au$750

First edition it seems of this delightful and handy bilingual vocabulary of world trade giving the English, with Japanese explanations, of a wide range of terms, place names, goods, and so on. I've seen a couple of copies of the second edition, 1873, not in colour. Neither can I find a record of a colour copy of any edition. Waseda University illustrates a copy of the 1871 edition with the half page illustration inside the front cover in colour but not anything else. Clearly even workaday Japanese books like this can be intricate enough to please any French bibliophile. Hashizume, who specialised in handbooks on trade and on foreign languages, produced, I think, three of these guides for merchants with similar titles. This is the first and the next two supplement this.


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VAN DER PYL, R. [Reinier van der Pijl]. 英吉利會話篇 [Igirisu Kaiwahen] Conversation of English Language; for those, who begin to learn the English. Third edition. Numadz, Watanabe 1871 (Meiji 4). 183x122mm publisher's wrapper with printed label (wrapper discoloured); title leaf and 50pp. Several annotations and corrections in pencil and ink. A nice copy. Au$350

I would elect this a pioneering piece of Chindogu (Japanese unuseless inventions) but that phrase books have a long history of being nonsensical. You may wonder at the lack of parallel Japanese translations in this and suspect that, illogical as it would be, a companion volume exists but it's all weirder than that. No Japanese-English version ever existed. This evolved out of a Dutch guide for learners of English, 'Gemeenzame Leerwijs ...', that was already out of date by the time it was reprinted in Japan in 1857. But it made sense that scholars of things Dutch could use it as a bridge to the fresh urgency of learning English. By the beginning of Meiji learning English was ever more important and Dutch obsolete so naturally enough the Dutch half is dumped and we are left with a series of quaint, stilted, often incorrect, exchanges of little use to anyone in Japan in the seventies. I don't know how much van der Pijl is to blame and how much is local corruption. Nevertheless, three editions and the annotations show that this was used, carefully used. Waseda University helpfully illustrates its copy, likewise, but not identically, dutifully annotated, which all goes a long way toward explaining the Japanese approach to English for the next century or so.


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Tameto Abe. 英学捷徑七ッ以呂波 [Eigaku shokei nanatsu iroha]. Tokyo : Harimaya Kiemon, 1867 (Keio 3). 18x12cm publisher's wrapper with title label (midly used); 18 double folded leaves (ie 36pp). Signs of use, an ink smudge across one leaf; still rather good. Au$400

A neat manual for learning to write the English alphabet - it is specifically English rather than generic western - which is read western style: it opens right to left.


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Masakata Ishibashi. 英語箋 [Eigosen]. Tokyo [Bankyukau c1870?]. Two volumes (18x12cm) publisher's wrappers, title labels mostly gone. Some worming at each end of volume one, unsightly on a couple of leaves but not serious. Pleasingly used, with some annotations in red, some pencilled notes and a bored-student kabuki face brush drawn at the end of the first volume. Au$375

A comparatively substantial English Japanese vocabulary and conversation book which like many of their first such manuals I suspect is based on some outdated, possibly Dutch model. There seems no other explanation for the long chat about what can only be the Napoleonic wars. The expected errors are sweetly amusing of course but I think I can see two completely different kinds of errors - those that come from phonetic transcription and those that come from copying alien writing. In more than one case I suspect the woodcutter gave up and aimed at a swirl that held the spirit of the word he had to copy. Waseda University illustrates their copies of an 1861 edition, an 1872 edition and an undated edition. This most closely resembles the 1872 edition but there are several differences.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 続々世界商売往来 [Zokuzoku Sekai Shobai Orai]. Tokyo 1873? 180x120mm publisher's wrapper with title label (a bit used); 26 double folded leaves; one double page illustration and several small illustrations through the text, title page framed in a blue barrel. A nice copy. Au$350

First edition? of this handy bilingual vocabulary of world trade giving the English, with Japanese explanations, of a wide range of terms, quantities, goods, professions, and so on. Hashizume, who specialised in handbooks on trade and on foreign languages, produced, I think, maybe four of these guides for merchants with similar titles; the first in 1871 following it up with at least two more in 1873. There are more than three but the variants in copies ostensibly of the same book make it all a bit confusing. Curious about this one is that the English text has been cut in wood, it isn't type. There are several endearing spelling mistakes, mishapen or reversed letters and odd truncations but more puzzling than these are some of the chosen terms for Japanese traders to learn. Sublemate of mercary [sic] makes some sense, as do gloziers, hornessmakers and portruit-painters - but how often did anyone have to discuss velocipedes and grave-diggers?


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 續編世界商賣往來 [Zokuhen Sekai Shobai Orai]. Tokyo, Gankinya Seikichi 1872 (Meiji 5). 180x120mm publisher's wrapper without title label (cover marked); 26 double folded leaves; one double page illustration and several small illustrations through the text, title page framed in blue Fairbanks standing scales. Mildly used. Au$350

First edition I think of this handy bilingual vocabulary of world trade giving the English, with Japanese explanations, of a wide range of terms, quantities, goods, professions, and so on. I used to think the bibliography of Hashizume's handbooks on foreign trade was straightforward - three, the first in 1871 following it up with two more in 1873. Since then I've discovered variants and variants of variants. This book isn't 'Zokuzoku Sekai Shobai Orai' as I first thought. The contents are completely different. Zokuzoku begins with foreign measures of quantity, this begins with foreign currencies. Like that the English text has been cut in wood, it isn't type. There are some endearing spelling mistakes, mishapen or reversed letters and odd truncations - fewer than in the later book - but more puzzling than these are some of the chosen terms for Japanese traders to learn. The tools of trade for printers and binders are included, which makes sense - as do fruit and vegetables - but how many merchants dealt in camels and leopards?


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Heidosai Shujin & Ryuu Joshi. 世界一覧 [Sekai Ichiran]. Tokyo, Izumiya Ichibee 1872 [Meiji 5]. Two volumes 235x155mm, publisher's wrappers with title labels (a label apparently removed from the bottom of the first wrapper); 48;52pp on double folded leaves and a double page colour world map, smaller woodcut maps and illustrations throughout. A rather good pair. Au$850

A beguiling book, both as a digest of the world and as an essay in digesting exotic western typefaces and scripts; in digesting all things western really, from language to image. Curious that by 1872 Japan had plenty of pictures of the outside world to study and while the maps seem pretty accurate the views are still like imaginings worked up from descriptions. The pyramids seem to be in a jungle - perhaps the artist couldn't imagine desert and thought his model incomplete - and poor Paris, without an Eiffel Tower to centre on, is just a railway works yard. Is the text an adaptation from Chinese? I can't find any such reference and I can't find another copy of this outside the National Diet Library.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 続々世界商売往来 [Zokuzoku Sekai Shobai Orai]. Tokyo 1873? 180x120mm publisher's wrapper with title label (a bit used); 26 double folded leaves; one double page illustration and several small illustrations through the text, title page framed in a blue barrel. A nice copy. Au$350

First edition? of this handy bilingual vocabulary of world trade giving the English, with Japanese explanations, of a wide range of terms, quantities, goods, professions, and so on. Hashizume, who specialised in handbooks on trade and on foreign languages, produced, I think, maybe four of these guides for merchants with similar titles; the first in 1871 following it up with at least two more in 1873. There are more than three but the variants in copies ostensibly of the same book make it all a bit confusing. Curious about this one is that the English text has been cut in wood, it isn't type. There are several endearing spelling mistakes, mishapen or reversed letters and odd truncations but more puzzling than these are some of the chosen terms for Japanese traders to learn. Sublemate of mercary [sic] makes some sense, as do gloziers, hornessmakers and portruit-painters - but how often did anyone have to discuss velocipedes and grave-diggers?


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Otsuki Genkan. 西音發微 [Seion Hatsubi]. n.p. [182-?] 26x18cm original wrapper; 3;31;7 double folded leaves (ie 82pp). Some worming, only of moment on a couple of leaves where a couple of characters are obliterated. In a modern chitzu. Au$275

An extraordinarily exact manuscript copy of this pioneering study of western pronunciation by one of the more eminent scholars of Dutch studies. The Seion Hatsubi was published somewhere around 1826 and this is obviously contemporary. Our copyist has skipped the publisher's advertisements at the ends but has otherwise done a job that needs more than a cursory glance to discern from the printed book, even to the extent of reproducing the seals at the beginning and end of the preface. There is a fine tradition of manuscript copies of rare or supressed books in Japan but this is the most exact facsimile I've seen. There is an inscription and small seal inside the back cover that may well identify the transcriber but I can't read it.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 世界商売往来 [Sekai Shobai Orai - literally World Trade Traffic]. Tokyo, Seikichi 1871 [Meiji 4]. 180x120mm publisher's wrapper (a bit rumpled); 26 double folded leaves; one full page and numerous small illustrations throughout. Title page on yellow with a man operating some mysterious, to me, mechanism. Au$385

First edition of this handy bilingual vocabulary of world trade giving the English, with Japanese explanations, of a wide range of terms, quantities, goods, professions, and so on. I used to think the bibliography of Hashizume's handbooks on foreign trade was straightforward: three, this, the first in 1871 following it up with two more in 1873. Since then I've discovered variants and variants of variants. There are some of the expected amusing errors in spelling and typography but far fewer than in the later books.


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英字訓蒙図解 [Eiji Kunmo Zukai or Ei Kuno Zukai depending on the transcriber]. Kyoto, Ogawa Kinsuke 1871 (Meiji 4). 225x155mm publisher's wrapper with title label; woodblock illustrations throughout. Some worming and a marginal stain, neat repairs to the first few margins. A very decent copy with its colour illustrated outer wrapper, this smudged and rumpled but complete and untorn. Au$750

A rare and most appealing illustrated introduction to English. To an extent unseen in any other non-western culture faced with the colonial ambitions of the west the Japanese controlled their own re-education. They were not showered with unwanted primers by missionaries and other pious businessmen. They produced, printed and determinedly digested their own, using whatever sources they could find, the occasional hired expert and their imagination. The more I look at books like these, which were assiduously studied, the more I wonder how anyone learnt any English. How many Japanese went to their graves calling a camera a desk and hoping for an opportunity to introduce 'pluckant' into conversation? Leaving aside errors, books like these make no sense as tools to me but tens, hundreds of thousands of Japanese students set out with these as guides on the road of bunmei kaika - government sponsored enlightenment and civilization - and got there way faster than anyone should have. In fact the more I think about it the more I wonder how anyone learns any language.


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OKAMOTO, K.S. [Konseki]. Ancient and Modern Various Usages of Tokio Japan. 古今百風吾妻餘波. Tokyo, Morito 1885. 23x15cm publisher's wrapper with printed title label (wrapper somewhat grubby, label chipped and another old label on the front); 62 double folded leaves, colour woodblock illustrations throughout, one double page, three full page. Used but a most acceptable copy. Au$850

A beguiling and puzzling book. Is it a souvenir for tourists? a primer for westerners learning Japanese? a primer for Japanese learning English? It could be any or all of these. Apart from some hats, and despite the title, there are few signs of the modern world. So, obviously it's for tourists. But why is so much of the text, all the explanatory stuff, in Japanese? The sections on "Celebreted Article and Food" and "Names of Cake" are unillustrated Japanese text. And why are those hats there? So it isn't for tourists. Then why so old world? Is it for Japanese readers as a reminder of what they might lose in the rush to modernise? The opponents of westernisation - and there were plenty - didn't usually write books like these and Okamoto published an "Elementary Spelling Book" a couple of years after this. And why are those hats there? My guess is that it is an attempt to be all things to everyone but those hats still worry me.


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和西十體以呂波 [Wasei Jutai Iroha]. Tokyo, Yoshidaya Bunzaburo 1871 [Meiji 4]. 165x63mm, publisher's wrapper with title label (rumpled and forgivably grubby); 30pp accordian folding. Used but a more than decent copy. Au$475

A nifty little pocket book - that opens right to left like western books - teaching how to write English letters but not in English. This teaches how to write Japanese phonetically with the English or romanised alphabet - what was to become romaji. The Portugese missionaries had formulated a romanised system so that missionaries could instruct their Japanese victims without having to learn how to read Japanese but once they were tossed out of Japan such a system was quickly forgotten. It was only with the Meiji restoration and orders from the top that modernisation must follow that making Japanese intelligible to westerners became a desirable skill. At the end are numbers, the twelve animals of the zodiac - more or less, unfamiliar characters and spelling defeated the writer or block cutter on a few - and the seasons and points of the compass. This seems rare, both in and outside Japan. OCLC finds no copies and my searches of Japanese libraries finds only one copy - in the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.


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Hashizume Kan'ichi. 大日本國盡 英字三體 [Dai Nihon Kunizukushi - Eiji Santai]. Tokyo, Wan'ya Keihe 1871 [Meiji 4]. 18x13cm publisher's wrapper (a bit used, label missing); 36pp on 18 double folded leaves; opening right to left. Au$300

A writing guide teaching how to read and write the English alphabet in its three guises but not in English. One of the earlier attempts at formulating what is now Romaji; Hashizume here standardizes Japanese place names into phonetic transliteration. The Portugese missionaries had formulated a romanised system so that missionaries could instruct their Japanese victims without having to learn how to read Japanese but once they were tossed out of Japan such a system was quickly forgotten. It was only with the Meiji restoration and orders from the top that modernisation must follow that making Japanese intelligible to westerners became a desirable skill. Worldcat finds a couple of copies in Japan, none outside.


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Yamamoto G.S. [Tadashi]. The Conversations for Officers and Merchants, of the Japanese and English. 英和文章會話篇 [Eiwa Bunsho Kaiwahen]. Osaka, S.H. Okajima 1887. Small octavo (16x12cm) publisher's roan backed decorated boards (rubbed); [10],173,[1],[2 colophon]pp. Title page printed in red and black within a gold frame. Rear endpaper removed, rather good and fresh inside. Au$600

A pleasing little book with the usual amount of baffling and useless conversational gambits plus an emphasis on social niceties - dinners, drinking, dancing and so forth - and business. Worldcat finds only the NDL copy and so can I.


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英和早学字引便覧 English, Japanesh, Small Dictionary; [Eiwa haya-gaku jibiki Binran]. Tokyo, Osaka? 1872 (Meiji 5). 16x6cm publisher's wrapper with title label; illustrated title in English on red paper, 30pp accordian folding, first page printed in blue. Owner's inscriptions on the covers. A pleasing copy, a most pleasing book. Au$300

Perfect for the narrowest pocket, or sleeve maybe. The explanatory Japanese with each of the 509 entries is tiny and clear. Osaka Women's University has a copy and that's all I could find anywhere. The NDL database lists it only on microfilm as part of a collection of English studies titles issued in the seventies.


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