Trade catalogue poster. Hinomaru calendars. 美術カレンダー [Bijitsu Karenda]. Tokyo, Sotaku? 1927. 55x80cm broadsheet with colour poster on one side and monochrome text and illustrations on the other. Folded. sold

A catalogue of Hinomaru advertising 'art' calendars for 1928 in a form that puzzles me: if it's used as a poster then the catalogue vanishes. Surely the way to advertise advertising calendars is to issue an advertising calendar, no? But that would cost a fortune.
The plane - always on its way to the future - flies over a utopian low density industrial and rural society: businesses and customers who want to know exactly where and when they are in the next year.


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Kurofune Kawaraban. Perry and the Black Ships. アメリカ蒸気船之図 ... 海陸御固御役人附 [Amerika Jokisen no Zu ... Kairiku o Kata o Yakunin Fu]. n.p. [1854]. Woodcut 60x32cm on two sheets; folded. Au$1500

A most handsome portrait of Perry's steamship by an artist in no way hampered by being at some remove from the subject.
Kawaraban - illicit illustrated news sheets for the streets - were produced by the million for a couple of hundred years so of course few survive. They were produced for anything more interesting than the drop of a hat and the arrival of the Black Ships, the American squadron commanded by Perry, in 1853 and 54 eclipsed any and all tiresome earthquakes, fires, plagues, famines, murders and scandals. For most Japanese this was the same as a squadron of alien space ships arriving on earth now. These prints are the kurofune (black ship) kawaraban. There is an almost identical version of this but in that there is just one background ship, partly obscured by a flag.
Attached is the list of officials manning the defences.


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新型小紋中 (?) [Shingata Komon Chu?]. n.p. 1798? (Inscribed Kansei 10 on the back). 15x22cm wrappers labelled by hand; 36 double dark blue/indigo leaves with 72 patterns printed by stencil, most in white, six in a pinkish/mulberry colour. A remarkably good copy of a working book. There is an ink inscription inside the back cover that might have useful information but a brushed scrawl is beyond me. Au$1200

A charming sample book of new designs in fine patterns. Katazome, I think, applies to this type of indigo stencil textile pattern dyeing as well as to the larger, more illustrative designs.


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英語階梯 [Eigo Kaitei] An English Spelling-Book, with reading lessons, for beginners at the school Kaiseidzio in Yedo. First edition. Yedo. The 2. year of Kei-ou. (Tokyo, 1866). 18x12cm publisher's wrapper with printed label (grubby with a piece from a bottom corner and plenty of brushed scribble). Outside the condition is what a canny colleague called evocative; inside surprisingly good after that introduction. sold

The first English spelling book published in Japan according to Ishihara Chisato who announced in 1980 (『英 語 階 梯 』と Lindley Murray のス ペ リ ン グ ブ ッ ク に つ い て [Eigo Kaitei and Lindley Murray's Spelling Book] ) that it is a slightly modified version of Part I of Murray's 'An English Spelling Book' from a copy of the 45th edition (Baudry, Paris 1839) then owned by the Tokugawa government school.
With all of these handy lessons for beginners in a new language I wonder how any Japanese learnt enough English to hold a sensible conversation about anything.

Worldcat only found, for me, an 1867 reprint without the name of the school, at Kyoto.


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Wada Sanzo. 創作図案集 [Sosaku Zuanshu]. Tokyo, Kokumintosho 1925-26 (Taisho 14-15). 12 parts 39x28cm with 96 plates on light card in heavy card portfolios with printed labels. Four, five and sometimes six designs on each plate and all but a few in colour. Some browning and minor signs of use, a rather good set. sold

A complete set of the original edition (there is a 1977 reprint) of the 'creative design' collection put together by Wada Sanzo and starring himself, Terao Sakujiro, Yamada Shozo, Kinoshita Kuni, Nishino Hiroshi, Yamagata Komataro, Onishi Toyojiro, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. That this was a most successful pattern book/inspiration for design students is evident from the number of battered fragments that float round. Good complete sets are hard to find.
Worldcat finds only the BL set outside Japan but I notice that one US library didn't know they have a slab from the set: they list sixty something much trimmed plates titled as Japanese textile designs; it's the list of artists that give it away.


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Kuroda Masanori. 陶磁器意匠標本 [Tojiki Isho Hyohon]. Dainippon Ceramic Industry Association, 1895 (Meiji 28). 24x17cm publisher's decorated wrapper (a bit marked); 30 woodcut (and lithograph?) plates on 15 double leaves, 12 colour, the rest printed in black or blue. Rather good. Au$600

A scarce and intriguing pattern book of mostly fancy ceramics - what I'd call export stuff - issued by the industry association with enough plates detailing both form and decoration to be most useful. So who is for? A guide for the trade or for the customer? Maybe both. Given that two of the three copies I've traced were pretty revolting I'd guess trade.
Worldcat finds no copies outside Japan.


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Hikifuda specimen book. A publisher's sample book of specimen hikifuda. n.p. (Osaka?) 190-? 26x39cm; later makeshift card binding that appears to be from a printer; 76 colour lithographs. Definite signs of use, occasional tears but nothing too serious. Au$2750

These are rare. Specimen hikifuda do float around but this is because busy fingers have dismembered every sample book they can find. Here series and numbers are stamped on the back but are not consistent; still I found only three places where offsetting shows that a sample is missing, including the first plate.
Hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.
From what I can see, if you wanted fine, delicate printing you went to Kyoto; if you wanted commercial publishing on a huge scale you went to Tokyo; and if you wanted brash, vivid to the point of lurid, advertising you went to Osaka. This particular set is marked by the bold and busy colours, strongly marked borders, ornate design and occasional extra embossing. More expensive series than standard? I would have guessed most to be earlier but I found two dates: 1911 and 1915, and the aeroplanes are a give away.


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Specimen hikifuda. Hikifuda of a modern couple in an elaborate cockerell balloon basket above an exposition or fair; the brash young woman waving a Japanese flag. n.p. [190-?]. 36x25cm colour lithograph. Browning but pretty good. Au$300

Such overtly enthusiastic and active women are not so common in Japanese pictures. The navy ships in the bay make me think this marks one of Japan's victories - the 1904 war with Russia or the 1894 win against China. The fashions push the date back but Hikifuda artists didn't always worry about such details unless the target was fashion.
Hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.


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Jonathan Swift, Katayama Heisaburo and Okube Tsunekichi. 鵞瓈皤児回島記 [and] 大人國旅行 : 南洋漂流 [Garibarusu Shimameguri] and [Daijinkoku Ryoko : Nan'yo Hyoryu]. Tokyo, Inada Sahei & Shinkodo 1887 (Meiji 20). Two volumes, 19x13cm publisher's cloth backed illustrated boards; (a) seven lithograph plates. Minor signs of use, rather good. (b) four lithograph plates, one double page, one folding. Some nibbling from the paper on the front, no paper at all on the back. Still a remarkably good copy of a flimsy book made to be read to pieces. Au$3200

Second edition of the first book, first edition of the second. Gulliver's Travels, or the important bits of it. The adventures in Lilliput appeared in a Japanese version in 1880 with the vague promise of the next part. The second, the Brobdingnagian, came from a different translater in 1887, some six or seven months after the second edition of the first book. I don't think anything like a complete Gulliver appeared for a fair while after that, so the Japanese audience had to wait to read about Gulliver's trip to Japan. Which is usually a good thing. What Australian wants to watch the Simpson's Australian episode?
The illustrations to the Lilliputian adventures are copied from Thomas Morten's which first appeared in a Cassell edition in 1866 but though Morten provided heaps of models the Brobdingnagian illustrator went elsewhere. Where I'm not sure. I'd say the continent but I'm pretty sure these are not Grandville's, nor Gavarni's, nor Poirson's. The Japanese artist/lithographer is pretty good though.
Koon-ki Ho's 1991 essay on the utopian tradition in Japan (Japanese in Search of Happiness) suggests that Swift's "portrayal of the moral Brobdingnagians was influenced by the reports of China and Chinese available." and Yoko Inagi's 2014 well meaning if over egged thesis (The Evolution of Japanese Utopianism and How Akutagawa’s Dystopian Novella, Kappa ...) makes the point that Gulliver's Travels along with More's Utopia began life in Japan as political novels rather than fantastic adventures or satires. Gulliver followed much the same arc in Japan as it had in the west and by the 1920s was a children's book.
These are 'ball cover' (boru hyoshi, apparently a corruption of 'board') books - a signal of modernity and the Japanese equivalent of a yellowback: flimsy western style bindings with lithograph covers that rarely survive in such good shape.
I traced no copies of either edition of the first part outside Japan and one copy of the second part: UC Berkeley.


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Baitei Kinga. 演説振 : 即席品物 [Enzetsuburi : Sokuseki Shinamono]. Tokyo, Man'yukai 1888 (Meiji 21). 18x13cm publisher's colour illustrated lithographed cloth backed boards; one double page illustration, smaller illustrations through the text. Natural browning of the cheap paper. An excellent copy. Au$150

Yes, I bought this for the cover and condition without any idea of what it's about. Still don't but I think it's maybe a humourous book about speechification and spruiking.
From what I can figure out Baitei Kinga never took enough time from writing to have a life.


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The media is the message

War artists; Sino-Japanese war. Mizuno Toshikata. 大日本帝国萬々歳 : 成歓襲撃和軍大捷之図 [Dainipponteikoku banbanzai : Seikan Shugeki Wa-gun Taisho Nozu?]. Akiyama Buemon 1894 Woodcut triptych 33x70cm, the three sheets joined and laid down. A bit marked and grubby. Au$200

This is the first time, as far as I know, that war artists and journalists became stars of senso-e: war prints. I can't read the names of the two artists portrayed here but of course the best war artists never went near a war. I found no suggestion that Toshikata ever left his studio.


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Petticoat government

Feminist Sugoroku. Maeda Masujiro. 女天下双六 [Onna Tenko Sugoroku]. Osaka 1915 (Taisho 4). 53x77cm colour broadside. Natural browning of the paper, small holes and tears with some repairs. Au$1100

Rare and wonderful. Not the greatest copy maybe, but until someone sees a second copy we won't know. Onna Tenko - woman's world - can be translated as 'petticoat government' and graphic reversals of male and female was long a favourite tool of the anti-feminist anti-suffragists. Which has long made me wonder: the horror of men at having to fill women's roles and do women's tasks is surely the most persuasive argument for equality.
As unlikely as it seems in Japan in 1915 when women were forbidden any political activity, I'm almost convinced that the argument here is for women, why else would they have the arrogant, exasperated, indifferent, harsh, demanding expressions that they must see on men's faces every day.

As far as I can find, Maeda Masujiro is just a name on a couple of later samurai sugoroku that don't look a lot like this. This one seems to have a fair bit of Rakuten in it so I guess he grew into more burly he-man types.


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Smoca advertising. Kataoka Toshiro etc. スモカ広告作品集 第五輯 [Smoca Kokoku Sakuhinshu Daigoshu]. Osaka, Sumokasha 1937 (Showa 12). 22x15cm publisher's printed red wrapper; [8],176pp, illustrated throughout including two mounted colour plates. Minor signs of use and some browning; quite good. Au$400

The fifth of Smoca's compilations of their advertising, seven appeared between 1928 and 1941. Smoca's success - they are still going - was through clever advertising. From the start, in 1925, the company's founder, advertising man Kataoka Toshiro, hired the best artists and cartoonists.
The colour illustrations are two of Smoca's series of face and teeth posters - about the last and probably the two dullest after the weird and sometimes disturbing series issued over the previous decade.
Smoca, in case you wondered, was then a tooth powder for smokers.


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Proletarian Artists League. 第3回プロレタリア美術大展覧会目録 [Dai 3 kai Puroretaria Bijutsu Dai Tenran-kai Mokuroku]. Tokyo, Proletarian Artists League 1930 (Showa 5). 125x130mm illustrated wrapper; [2],28pp. Staples rusted, an excellent copy. Folded loose inside is one of the worker's tickets - a different thing from tickets for the general public. Apparently the number of visiting workers were counted and their opinions gathered as important criticism. Also a flyer duplicated from handwritten text. Both are in fine shape. sold

Catalogue of the Third Great Exhibition of Proletarian Art. The first two were in 1929 and the fourth and last in 1932, by which time is was getting unsafe to be a proletarian anything.
Hokkaido University mounted an exhibition about proletarian art in 2019 with an impressive array of fugitive printing and located the ticket and a couple of different leaflets but not the catalogue. I can't find a record of another.


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Hamada Masuji, Sugiura Hisui and others. 現代商業美術全集 [Gendai Shogyo Bijutsu Zenshu - The Complete Commercial Artist]. Tokyo, Ars 1928-30 (Showa 3 - 5). 24 volumes quarto, publisher's wrappers & printed card slipcases; thousands of illustrations, most colour. An outstanding set, five volumes still in their tissue wrappers - ie never opened - with the prospectus or advertisement for the series which unfolds to 39x54cm with details on one side and a colour collage on the other. Publisher's announcements loosely inserted in several volumes. sold

A complete set of the Shogyo Bijutsu, one of the great monuments of Japanese modernism. Largely the work of Hamada Masuji - credited with the invention of design as a profession in Japan - it is an encyclopaedic gathering of all that is new and exciting in Russia, Europe, Britain and America from art nouveau to bauhaus and constructivism, with futurism, expressionism, dada and everything else along the way lavishly mixed with Japanese responses to, and digestion of, these western ideas. Any number of exciting artists and designers contributed.
Each volume is devoted to a topic or related topics and commercial design here means more than it does to us. So as well as volumes on posters, advertisements, billboards, typography, and similar graphic arts (like bookbindings, magazine, brochure and catalogue covers, packaging, labels, trademarks and placards), there are volumes devoted to the architecture of the shop from the mightiest department store to the most chic Parisian shop window and the display within. Exterior and interior design, showcases and fittings - shops, restaurants, cinemas, even a barber shop or beauty parlour is laid out. One volume is devoted to lighting: neon lights, the lighting of commercial spaces and illuminated signs. Another volume is devoted to kiosks, pavilions and floats, festive decoration, facades, gateways and entrances, while the following volume continues into international exhibitions. Volume 22 is devoted to traditional Japanese shop signs and banners, a treat in itself, while volume 14 explores photography and humour in graphic art - so German photo-montage and French caricature share a volume.

*I am reusing old photos of what's inside these, I'm too lazy to take a whole new bunch of snaps.


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CLARKE, Marcus.. Long Odds. Melbourne, Clarson Massina 1869. octavo publisher's blue cloth blocked in gilt and black; eight wood engravings by Thomas Carrington. Minor blotches and smudges to the covers, signs of use, quite a good copy. Au$975

First edition of Clarke's first novel, previously serialised in his own 'Colonial Monthly' (a short lived venture). "A wretched tale of folly and baseness" but not quite a thriller in the modern sense - the murder, after all, happens near the end of the book. It would not be out of place though in a shelf of sensational novels. Clarke purposely avoided writing a novel set in Australia, preferring to explore what was to become a popular genre - the young colonial 'back home' - carving a new destiny out of the wilds of London and the counties.


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Borraginol poster. ボラギノール : ぢ痔に [Borraginal : Dji Ji Ni]. Osaka? Takeda (c1930?). Colour printed poster on light cotton (muslin? calico?), 117x86cm. Rumpled and some marks but rather fresh and bright. Au$200

As made clear, piles need make no inroads in a man's life, habits and comforts. Borraginol, a still made hemorrhoid treatment, was Japan's first scientific/chemical treatment developed in 1921 at Kyoto University. Posters printed on fabric - rather than banners or flags - must be pretty uncommon, no? So what was the purpose?


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Paper. Toyosha? 新発明 軽便紙 [Shin Hatsumei Keibenshi]. n.p. [Osaka?] [188-?]. 75x28cm woodcut with added colours. Piece from the top margin well away from the printing, a repaired tear; Quite good for a cheap, vulnerable bit of production. Au$150

I believe this to be an announcement for a new invention of a lightweight paper. I hope not the paper this is printed on which seems heavy and coarse to me. Probably not considering the easy grasp of our newspaper addict. I suspect the cigarettes will stay on that side of his mouth until his left eye looks as sore as the right does now. Then he will switch back. And I wouldn't be surprised to find this is the model for the previous poster, forty years younger.


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LOUDON, J.C. An Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture and Furniture; .. a new edition; London, Longman &c 1836. Stout octavo contemporary green gilt calf (edges a bit rubbed, a small and inoffensive flaw in the back hinge); xx,1138pp, hundreds of wood engraved illustrations and plans. Quite a handsome copy. Au$975

Probably the fourth edition, and probably much the same as the 'new edition' of 1835, both claiming numerous corrections and re-engraved plates. This refers to the original litho plates that had already disappeared from many copies of the first edition, replaced by wood engravings. Only the first edition had the imprint of Howe in Sydney and Melville in Hobart but nonetheless this book, in all its editions, was the most used architecture book in Australia during the middle of the 19th century.


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Hikifuda. 学用品 ... [Gakuyohin ...]. np [191-?]. Colour lithograph 26x38cm. A nice copy. Au$135

Presumably this hallucinatory hikifuda dates from around the first world war. At first I feared that the 'clay' of 'clay pigeons' had been lost in translation but these dopey looking young soldiers are concentrating rather than thick or stoned. The young men and animals of Japan are prepared.
Hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce. Here, I believe, the products on offer are school supplies.


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WEIR, Hugh C. Miss Madelyn Mack, Detective. Boston, Page 1914. Octavo publisher's cloth with mounted colour illustration which is also the colour frontispiece; four photo plates. Slightly damaged owner's label inside the front cover; an excellent, bright copy. Au$300

First edition of this film tie in. Miss Mack, played by Alice Joyce, had already solved at least two cases on film and the four photo plates are of Alice Joyce at work. Miss Mack is of course young, beautiful, and a triumphant model for determined and clever young women who want to make good despite all obstacles.


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Secession - Northern New South Wales. To the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, the petition of the undersigned inhabitant householders of the district of the Clarence and Richmond Rivers, in the colony of New South Wales ... n.p., dated in print Sept 1860. Foolscap sheet; two pages on blue paper. sold

A rankling problem for the inhabitants of northern New South Wales - and for most of Australia - the sense of being too far from the centre of power, influence and government spending. These petitioners felt they would do better as part of newly formed Queensland and ask that the colony's boundary be changed to include them. The locals continued resentful for some time and the move to join Queensland or form a new state altogether - there was a serious push for this in 1920 - resurfaced a few times.


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Yokohama. Handcoloured photo panorama of Yokahama. np c1890? Two albumen prints joined, 20x50cm, folded and mounted on an album leaf. Excellent clear prints with subtle colouring. Au$600

Yokohama became the western capital of Japan - westerners in Nagasaki were confined in numbers and location - and the Bluff - now Yamate - where the diplomats and wealthy built their mansions was the obvious spot for making a panorama of Yokohama. A gathering - small as it is - of them from the 19th and early 20th centuries might be a useful guide to the growth of the city: they are taken from spots very close to each other.
Of course it was a city that ceased to exist in 1923.


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Catalogue - books. Aoki Suzando. 内外書籍 出版発兌目録 [Naigai Shoseki Shuppan Hatsuda Mokuroku] Aoki Suzando 1903 (Meiji 36). 11x16cm publisher's colour printed wrapper; 316pp. Natural browning of the paper, an old fold; a rather good copy. Au$65

Aoki Suzando was a busy and bigtime publisher of prints and bookseller with shops in Osaka and Tokyo from the late 1870s to the early 1920s. These are illustrated on the back wrapper.
I have no idea how many thousand books are in this catalogue of domestic and foreign books but it must be a pretty good indication of what was available in late Meiji Japan.


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Koishi Kiyoshi. 撮影・作画の新技法 [Satsuei, Sakuga no Shingiho]. Tokyo, Genkosha 1936 (Showa 11). 20x16cm publisher's decorated cloth and printed card case; b/w photo illustrations and diagrams throughout. A few small spots on the cream front cover; a fetching copy. sold

First edition of Koishi's new techniques of photography - double exposures, under exposures, over exposures, montage, photograms, asymmetry ... all the tricks of a determined modernist.
Onchi Koshiro designed this book. He designed several of Genkosha's photography books including, I presume, his own, and usually made them open right to left.


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新撰唱歌のふきよせ [Shinsen Shoka no Fukiyose]. n.p. n.d. [c1880?] 18x12cm publisher's colour woodcut wrapper; 10 double leaves (20pp); b/w woodcut illustrations throughout. Rather good. Au$125

A rare and charming songbook, apparently for children, which has a look of long tradition. But if these are proper shoka then it is a form of school song that began with Meiji reformation of education. The subjects are in any case thoroughly up to date: balloons, steamships and photographs.
None of these songbooks are going to be common. I found an entry for what might be the same book in the Ryukyu University catalogue; nothing else.


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GOWER, Richard Hall. A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Seamanship, together with a system of naval signals .. a useful compendium to the officer, to instruct him when young, and to remind him when old. The third edition, corrected and enlarged. [bound with] A Supplement to the Practical Seamanship ... London, for Wilkie & Robinson &c 1808; London for Mawman 1807. Octavo contemporary calf (rebacked, original lettering piece retained); xxviii,242,[2]pp; volvelle and ills and diagrams through the text; [4],208pp; seven plates - numbered to six with two fours - and illustrations through the text. Au$1300

Probably the last edition of the Treatise. The volvelle is particularly marvellous: a revolving ship in plan, on it a moveable jib (stayed with cotton), fore yard, main yard, C.J. yard and tiller/rudder; in a printed circle 120mm in diameter. The author's preface to this third edition reminds us why these books are so scarce: "the author having seen impressions of the former editions of this work, in the possession of young men on shipboard, many of which impressions had been deprived of their plates altogether, by rough sea-usage, and too intimate an aquaintance with the lee-scuppers - has, in part, prevented the evil in the present edition, by introducing the explanatory figures with the letter-press."
His preface to the second edition is a list of complaints about Steel's "Rigging and Seamanship", not so much for his piracy from Gower as for the misrepresentation and obfuscation introduced in his attempt to disguise that piracy.
The Supplement is Gower's continuing research, experiments, designs and inventions: his quite radical ship 'Transit', his new patent log, an eyeshade ... many of which were not much noticed but bore remarkable resemblances to improvements made later by others. Gower seems to have been an admirable man; clever, learned, always inspired by notions of progress, improvement and humanitarianism, and indefatigable in pursuit of acknowledgment and adoption of his work. I get the impression that the halls of power emptied at news that Gower was in the building.
Burnley said, in his DNB entry for Gower, that a second edition of the Supplement appeared in 1810 but I am yet to find a copy. The Treatise is hard to find, the Supplement is rare.


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HILL, Headon. Unmasked at Last. NY, Fenno [1907?]. Octavo publisher's illustrated ochre cloth; frontispiece and two plates. A bright copy. Au$165

First American edition, soon after the English. An imprisoned counterfeiter's son is taken on as assistant gamekeeper by a thorough blackguard with a mysterious French master. But nothing is as it seems ... to start with, is the counterfeiter's son a counterfeit?


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Yanagawa Shunsan. 西洋時計便覧 [Seiyo Tokei Benran]. Tokyo, Yamatoya Kihee 1872 [Meiji 5]. 185x80mm publisher's stiff wrapper with title label (marked), accordian folding to form 34pp with woodblock illustrations throughout. Rather good. Au$500

An introduction to the western watch and its workings and - more important - western time and how to tell it. Roman numerals and the hour, minute and seconds hands are explained and a series of watch faces guide us through the rest of the intricacies of measuring time in the western style. Obviously for the sleeve or pocket, this could be hauled out with the new gizmo when its fledgling owner was stumped. Or even by a non-watch owner faced with a public clock. At the end the thermometer is illustrated and explained too.
This is not to say that the Japanese hadn't already mastered the clock. Since the Jesuits introduced clocks in the 16th century Japanese clockmakers had developed complex weight and spring driven mechanisms to run timekeepers according to the unequal hours of day and night, varying according to season. But in 1872 the government switched from the lunar calendar to the solar calendar and abolished traditional timekeeping and a whole nation had to start again from scratch.
Makes sense to me that daylight hours are longer and night hours shorter in summer and the reverse in winter. We all know that despite what the clock says all hours are not created equal. Bring back traditional Japanese timekeeping I say.


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Sugiyama Tojiro. 文明之花 [Bunmei no Hana] A Fine Story of Womans Right - the Flower of Civilization [cover title]. Tokyo, Kin'odo 1887 (Meiji 20). Octavo (19x13cm) publisher's colour illustrated boards and cloth spine; two single page and four double page illustrations. Less than expected browning of the paper here and there and minor signs of use. A near splendid copy. held

First edition of this remarkable utopian novel of women's rights in which a couple work towards and see the establishment of two equal parliaments, one for women and one for men. This was written in the period of anticipation of Japan's first parliament, scheduled for 1890. Radical as Sugiyama was, there is a sting in the tail for current feminists: Sugiyama is clear that women should be equal to men in all things right up until they get married. Equality for men and women does not mean equality for husband and wife.
Sugiyama published a rush of novels and political writing in the late seventies and eighties. These days he has been exhumed and is kept busy being rediscovered as a science fiction writer.
I've discovered that two completely different covers exist: one, prettified, with a mock cabinet photo of a young woman against a floral background and this one, a solid western building in a modern city street. To capture the serious male reader who would not pick up what might be a romance for women?
This is a 'ball cover' (boru hyoshi) book - a signal of modernity and the Japanese equivalent of a yellowback: flimsy western style bindings with lithograph covers that rarely survive in such good shape.


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Fujimoto Katao. 実用お料理献立漫画双六 [Jitsuyo Oryori Kondate Manga Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Fujin Sekai 1926 (Taisho 15). Colour broadside 55x79cm. A bit used, a small hole in one margin, a short repair in another; not a bad copy. sold

This delightful manga sugoroku celebrates cooking and was the new year gift from the magazine Woman's World.


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Hikifuda 各國大醫之有効保証樂 : 百毒下し : 和順湯 [Kakukoku dai i no yuko hoshoraku? Hyakudokukudashi : Wajanyu]. c1900? 40x50cm colour woodcut. Au$150

A singular and baffling, to me, handbill or hikifuda for a patent medicine for women that expelled a hundred poisons and cured ailments that any woman was likely to suffer.
It's the character in the corner that stumps me. Since I can't read the text I have no idea who he is nor what he is doing. My first guess is that he is threatening to tie the young woman to the railroad tracks but I'm sure this predates any American film serials that could have arrived in Japan. So is he a traditional stage villain or does he do something else in Japan? Surely he isn't one of the many great foreign doctors who guarantee Wajanyu or Heshun Tang, which seems to be a traditional Chinese medicine. But ... he is ordering her and us to pay attention.

According to Ernest Clement, in a 1907 article on medical folk-lore in Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, in 1896, in Tokyo alone, there were 1401 registered inventors of patent medicines, 5145 vendors, 42,533 quack doctors and 5137 qualified medicos.


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Catalogues - safes. Seven illustrated catalogues or brochures for Japanese safes. vp [1924?]. various sizes between 18 and 24cm high, a couple folding out to fairly large sheets; one with colour illustrations, the rest monochrome. A couple of small nibbles, rather good. sold

Safe catalogues are hard to find. Here is what appears to be a representative collection of Japanese safe manufacturers in the year 1924 - four of these are dated. Include are the Goto Safe Company, the Okura Safe Company and Tokyo Safe Company.


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PORNY, Mark Anthony. The Elements of Heraldry. Containing, a clear definition, and concise historical account of that ancient, useful, and entertaining science ... annexed a dictionary of the technical terms made use of in heraldry. London, Printed for J.Newbery, 1765. Octavo contemporary speckled calf (rebacked, corners worn); xx,199,[4]pp, engraved frontispiece and 23 plates. Some spotting or browning but nothing serious. A charming copy with twelve plates neatly and correctly handcoloured. Au$125

First edition, at least four more appeared over the next few decades.


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Kawakami Sumio. 工藝 96巻 [Kogei no.96]. Tokyo, 1939 (Showa 14). 23x15cm publisher's illustrated wrapper; woodcut and enamel on the cover, [4], colour woodcuts on two leaves, mounted photo plates on 17 leaves, 64pp of text with small illustrations, publisher's adverts. A nice copy in original wax paper wrapper. Au$200

This issue of Kogei (craft) is devoted to Kawakami. His work is charming, simple to the point of naive so of course it isn't. Kawakami nursed a nostalgia for a time he did not experience. I'm sure there's word for that which isn't nationalism, xenophobia or popularism. In his case it was the printed Meiji enlightenment and the confusion of westernisation that fascinated him and it is easy to see the models of early Meiji primers for children in his prints.


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