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Takeuchi Keishu & Iwaya Sazanami. 新案競馬遊戯 [Shin'an keiba Yugi]. Tokyo, Shonen Sekai 1906 (Meiji 39). Colour broadside 53x79cm. A nice copy with the playing pieces and extra bits intact. Au$125

In this steeplechase game - the new year gift from the boys' magazine Shonen Sekai - artist Takeuchi and writer Iwaya share credit. While that's not so uncommon with sugoroku I'm not sure what the writer had to do here.
At the same time that Takeuchi was doing illustrations for children's magazines he was also producing refined ukiyo-e albums of porn. They look nothing like this.


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Otake Kokkan. 小学教科双六 [Shogaku Kyoka Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen Sekei 1907 (Meiji 40). Colour broadside 78x54cm. Quite a nice copy. Au$385

School life for small boys and girls; this was the new year gift from the boys' magazine Shonen Sekai. Boys and girls learn to read but then their ways seem to part: boys learn about rats while girls do flowers, boys learn to count while girls sew, boys write while girls fold paper.
Otake by 1907 was a well regarded, prize winning, Nihonga painter who was firm about maintaining Japanese tradition but like many such artists was a busy producer of prints and illustrator of magazines, books and advertisements.


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Kameda Yoshiro (or Kichirobei). 和洋建築新雛形 [Wayo Kenchiku Shin Hinagata]. Osaka, Seikado 1907 (Meiji 40). Six volumes 22x15cm, publisher's wrappers with title labels; illustrated throughout with plans, elevations, measured drawings etc. Mild browning or spotting, a pretty good set. Au$850

I'm not sure whether this should be described as Japanese principles applied to western design or the other way round. I think both, if it matters. An excellent builder's pattern book that was certainly put to wide use.
There is a 2008 learned paper by Yanigasawa and Mizoguchi that shows how Kameda introduced Japanese carpentry and the modular system into western design but all except the precis of their paper is in Japanese so I have no idea how they go about proving their point. They do tell us that Kameda was a master carpenter in Fukuoka.


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上野公園清水堂西郷南州銅像之図 [Uenokoen Shimizu Do Saigo Nanshu Dozo no Zu] Tokyo, Tsunashima Kamekichi 1908 (Meiji 41). Colour woodcut 27x39cm. Rather good. Au$125

An almost sombre day in Ueno Park in comparison with the psychedelic colouring of cheap lithograph views of the time. Still, you can be sure that the photographer at work turned out less exciting views than this. The statue is of Saigo Takamori. Least said about him by me the better.


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Specimen Hikifuda. Hikifuda of lucky gods driving a motor car. n.p. [1911]. Colour lithograph and woodcut 52x38cm. Stab holes in the margin show it was once in an album. Horizontal fold; quite good. The picture is lithographed, the calendar woodcut. Au$200

An extra psychedelic extravaganza in experimental colour showing lucky god Ebisu being chauffered by Daikokuten. These two did embrace modernity and had very good tailors as we've seen when the occasion demanded a smart suit or an even more smart uniform. Here they haven't dressed; it's just two friends on an outing. Maybe a joyride. I wonder whether it was good luck to have these two snaffle your car.
These hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced by publisher's with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed. The handy calendar is for 1912.


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心の六道 [Kokoro no Rokudo]. n.p. 1911 (Meiji 44). Woodcut 42x57cm. Folded, some repairs to folds. Au$100

I have no clue what this is and how it relates to the Buddhist six roads. Shoji Hamada made a drawing similar in many ways, probably in the thirties, and I have seen another drawing apparently based on Hamada's drawing and that's all I can find. Despite translating some of the captions it remains a mystery to me.


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Hirafuku Hyakusui. 婦人身の上双六 [Fujin Minoue Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Jogaku Sekai 1913 (Taisho 2). Colour printed broadside 54x79cm. A bit used with some small holes in folds and a couple of short marginal tears; pretty good. sold

The new year gift from the magazine Jogaku Sekai, a magazine aimed at the generation of girls and young women going onto higher education. Still the message is much the same, embrace tradition and the reward is wealth in the shape of an oligarch husband.
Hirafuku, like so many celebrated painters and printmakers supported himself illustrating newspapers and magazines.


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Specimen hikifuda. Hikifuda of a woman driving a motor car. n.p. [1914]. Colour woodcut 52x38cm. Stab holes in the margin showing it was once in an album; a little browned and minor signs of use. Rather good. Au$500

Has anyone seen an earlier picture of a Japanese woman driving a car? I haven't. Cars and planes were the password for modernity through the Taisho, especially in advertising like this, but sleek women were driven by sleek husbands or chauffeurs. This is radical stuff. It's not until well into the twenties that women behind the wheel became common. Common but not really acceptable. Cars were driven by Mogas - modern girls - louche young women with bobbed hair and short skirts: flappers. The history of early Japanese women motorists, in English, is blank. Can some expert out there help?
These hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced by publisher's with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed. The handy calendar is for 1915.


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Catalogue - tiles. 拍木式 . ウォール板 . エムアイ商會 [Haku ki-shiki - Uoruban - MI Shokai?]. Tokyo 1914 (Taisho 3). 15x23cm publisher's decorated wrapper; 12 leaves printed on one side being three pages of text, two photo illustrations, a small colour chart and 18 colour designs on eight leaves, plate of cornice profiles. A nice copy. Au$175

A nifty catalogue of architectural ceramics - tiles, mouldings and cornices - for building exteriors produced by, I think a manufacturing co-operative.


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Kawabata Ryushi. 家庭教育雙六 [Katei Kyoiku Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Fujin Sekai 1915 (Taisho 4). Colour printed broadside 53x77cm. A bit of browning and a few small holes in folds. sold

The New Year gift from the magazine Fujin Sekai - Women's World. The modern Japanese girl will treasure tradition; she is conscientious, industrious, gentle, kind, neat, cultured, respectful, obedient, and if she follows her path she will be rewarded with high level shopping.
Kawabata's career took a curious turn during a 1913 stay in America to study western painting. Apparently he was so impressed with the Japanese art he saw in Boston he switched to being a Nihonga painter. Still, he remained being an illustrator for magazines for quite some time. As did most of the early to mid 20th century artists now revered.


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Kobayashi Eijiro. 大正少年双六 [Taisho Shonen Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen Sekai 1915 (Taisho 4). Colour broadside 54x79cm. A touch browned and minor signs of use; pretty good. Au$250

A gift from the boys' magazine Shonen Sekai and, as always with boys' sugoroku, packed with excitement and adventure. Girls sometimes get to watch in awe.


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印刷大鑑 [Insatsu Taikan]. Osaka, Nihon Insatsu Kaisha 1915 (Taisho 4). Folio (39x27cm) publisher's patterned silk over bevelled boards with cord ties (silk worn through at the corners and edges); 12 preliminary leaves including two colour plates and a preface in French, 101 specimen leaves by different printers on different papers is a variety of techniques: chromolithography, four colour process, photo engraving, gravure, embossing, etc, with two plates on metal sheets; 11 more leaves at the end including a couple of plates. Minor flaws and signs of use inside. The silk covers of this did not wear well; this is comparatively a pretty good copy. sold

A luxurious bit of showing off by the Japanese printing industry announcing that they have done their apprenticeship with western printers and now match them in skill. Fine printing, book work, advertising ... some kitsch and some very smart. For such a grand book this was not distributed as widely as you might expect. Worldcat finds three copies, in Australia and the US, CiNii finds five copies in Japanese libraries, and my searches of specialist libraries found no more.


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東海道五十三駅汽車旅行双六 [Tokaido Gojusan-eki Kisha Tabi Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Tsunashima Kamekichi 1916 (Taisho 5). Colour broadside 54x79cm. Rumpled with some small holes, a small professional repair on the back and a couple of short marginal tears. Very acceptable. Au$600

Just about every artist produced some version or another of the fifty three stations of the Tokaido - the scenic route between Tokyo and Kyoto - and how could the Tokaido not be turned into a game? It was, often.
This version has been turned into a train trip according to the title but has its finger on the pulse of modern travel - trains, cars, bikes, trams and planes are all celebrated.
Rare, it seems. Tokyo Metropolitan Library has a similar version by the same publisher, a bit smaller and two years later. I haven't found another copy of this.


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Akashi Seiichi. 家庭十二ヶ月双六 [Katei Ju Ni Kagetsu Sugoroku]. Toko, Fujin Sekai 1917 (Taisho 6). Colour broadside 54x79cm. A couple of short tears in the margins, a rather good copy. sold

The industrious but peaceful life of a young housewife and mother through the year. An industrious, peaceful childhood brings a girl a good husband and continuing on so brings her the perfect family. This was the new year gift from the magazine Fujin Sekai - Woman's World.


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日比谷公園鶴の噴水光景 [Hibiyakoen Tsuru no Funsui Kokei]. Tokyo 1918 (Taisho 7) Colour lithograph 39x55cm. Folded, a nice copy. Au$200

There is some warp in time operating around the Hibaya Park fountain where men and women from their grandparents' generation promenade with present day residents and pioneer aviators from the previous decade appear overhead. Only a couple of children seem to notice.


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Akashi Seiichi. 婦人生ひ立ち双六 [Fujin Nama Hi Tate Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Fujin Sekai 1918 (Taisho 7). Colour broadside 78x54cm. A bit of unnecessary folding, quite a good copy. Au$220

A fortunate life for a girl from cradle to bride. She must have opened her mouth and said something during these years but as she is well brought up we never see her lips move. This was the new year gift from the magazine Fujin Sekai - Woman's World.


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日本海軍 - 教育繪話 [Nihon Kaigun - Kyoiku Ebanashi]. Osaka, Enomoto 1917 (Taisho 6). 19x13cm publisher's colour illustrated wrapper; 10pp including wrapper, seven full page colour illustrations. Expected browning of the paper, short marginal tear and a nibble from the front wrapper; pretty good for one of these cheap booklets. Au$165

The glory of the Japanese navy for kids in the eye watering colours of akahon (red book) tradition. This is apparently the fifth edition, it first appeared in 1915.


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