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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 or three 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]. 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 or four of these guides for merchants with similar titles. This is the first and the others supplement this.


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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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Isaac Newton. Kawanabe Kyosai & Nakagane Masahira. 世界風俗往来 - 外篇 [Sekai Fuzoku Orai - gai hen]. Tokyo, 1873 (Meiji 6). 230x155mm publisher's wrapper (missing the title label); two full page colour woodblock prints by Kyosai. Some smudges that suggest it may have read by a member of the working class; a bit of worming in early pages, nothing serious; a pretty good copy. Au$725

Could there be a better portrait of Isaac Newton? I doubt it. Where else have you seen the fierce intellect and the majestic dignity of the warrior king of science so well embodied? In one piercing moment he has seen into the secret heart of all things, made his ruling and brought order to an unruly universe. Having decreed how that apple had moved through space and where it now rests he defies it to move again.
The other picture is of the young James Watt making his first steam powered discoveries. The myth of child Watt and the kettle seems to date from 1839 with Arago's Eloge of James Watt and in picture a few years later; the earliest I found is an 1844 wood engraving in Jerrold's Illuminated Magazine illustrating a fanciful retelling by Angus Reach. Kyosai's picture is closer in form to Buss's 1845 painting than Marcus Stone's 1863 reworking of the story but it is clear that he has worked - as with Newton and the apple - from the story rather than any pictorial model.
There is a complementary 1872 book with much the same title as this introducing the west but each is a complete and separate thing. OCLC finds only the Diet Library copy of this but Waseda University has a sadly chewed copy they illustrate online.


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[HOBSON, Benjamin]. 博物新編 [Hakubutsu Shinpen]. Tokyo, 1874 (Meiji 7). Three volumes, 255x173mm, publisher's yellow wrappers with title labels (a bit smudged); wood cut illustrations in all three volumes. Rather good with the original printed outer wrapper loosely inserted and untorn. Au$300

Third edition, it seems, of this adaptation of Hobson's Bo Wu Xin Bian first published in Shanghai in 1855 and in Japan in 1864. Hobson wrote a few primers on science and medicine for the Chinese which were then adapted by the Japanese. This covers physics in the first volume - including such things as optics, electricity and hydraulics; astronomy in the second; and zoology in the third.


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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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Shinoda Senka & Utagawa Yoshiharu. 明治英名百詠撰 [Meiji Eimei Hyakueisen]. Tokyo, Murakami 1879? 18x12cm publisher's wrapper with title label; one double page and one full page colour woodcut, 120 half page woodcuts on 60 double folded leaves. Two clean tears across the paste down title page without loss, a well read copy but solid and decent enough.
The illustrations, not so well printed, are by Utagawa Yoshiharu. Au$100

A popular, poetic, gallery of famous folk of the Meiji period - the first bit of it anyway. There are the expected statesmen and lords but there are also scholars, a handful of women and what look to to be unsavoury reprobates. Perhaps they are great statesmen. I'm equally ignorant about the verse with each portrait. I presume these aren't cheeky limericks or Clerihews.


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Shinoda Senka & Utagawa Yoshiharu, 明治英名百詠撰 [Meiji Eimei Hyakueisen]. Tokyo, Murakami 1879. 18x12cm publisher's wrapper with title label; one double page, one full page colour woodcut, 120 half page woodcuts - all but a couple coloured - on 60 double folded leaves. Inscription on the back cover; a nice copy.
The illustrations are by Utagawa Yoshiharu. Au$400

First edition and a deluxe coloured copy. I don't know how rare coloured copies are but I haven't found another amongst the recorded copies.


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Photography. Portraits from photographs scrupulously hand painted to impersonate lithographs. n.p. [c1880-1890?]. Two sheets, 54x41cm and 60x48cm, with nine portraits all but one oval; each about 25cm - ten inches - high. Au$450

Are these the ultimate modern one-up-manship in family portraiture? Painted over photos are common enough and paintings from photos equally so but these are large scale, done from scratch purposely to mimic the grain of lithography. The stippling is so painstaking and exact that it would have been easier to make and print lithographs.
By the 1880's reaction to modernity and the west, by nationalists watching their tradition vanish, was strident and often powerful. Don't forget the western design of the residence of the new Imperial Palace was abandoned after earthquake damage to brickwork and the official carpenter took over. No small victory for superior Japanese traditions.
The arguments over portraiture and photography are often unexpected, confusing and contradictory to me. Schools that I would think traditionalist welcomed the camera and realism - though some disliked photo portraits for moral or ethical reasons - but whatever the argument the photograph and its wedded industry - portraits painted in oils over or from photos - became ubiquitous essentials for the family shrine.
Our well to do family is not only on the side of western modernity, they go one step further by embracing the foreign technology of the lithographic print. So why hand painted on such a scale? Maybe partly because that's what a prominent family can afford but likely because portraits like this were still private family affairs. According to Conant (Challenging Past and Present), the painter Takahashi - portraitist of the Emperor - was thwarted in his 1880s project to paint portraits of the heroes of the Meiji by families refusing him use of their photographs.
The smaller set of portraits here is signed and sealed Hokushu. The other, clearly later, has an illegible, to me, seal.


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Gymnastics. 体操教範 [Taiso Kyohan - Manual of Gymnastics]. Ministry of War, 1884 (Meiji 17). 150x110mm in what appear to be original cloth backed boards (spine a touch nibbled); 37 double folded leaves (ie 74pp) and 73 full page illustrations (5 folding) numbered to 32 with several bis. A little worming, nothing notable, and a couple of small stains; a quite good fresh copy. Possibly lithographed throughout. Au$300

The Japanese first got in French experts on military physical training in the late 1860s and the first Japanese book I've been able to trace was a translation of part of an 1847 manual the French visitors brought with them. That is I've traced mention of it, not the book itself.
This manual has the look of coming from a French manual but, being light on in French gymnastic manuals of the mid nineteenth century here, I don't know which one. Certainly it models the fine mustachios that became de rigueur for dashing Japanese officers.
The Taiso Kyohan apparently also became the model for gymnastics in secondary schools as the idea of physical education was introduced into Japan. There were many editions of the Taiso Kyohan, presumably updated and changed as the decades went on but I'm unable to trace any copy this early in a library catalogue.


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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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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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Hanai Oume? Set of proof wood engraved illustrations for a Japanese serial story. n.p. n.d. [c 1887?] Oblong quarto by size (260x185mm ) contemporary plain wrapper; 41 wood engravings on 21 double folded leaves. A little browning. Au$475

A prime example of the strange casserole of Meiji Japan. In form, in technique, in content and in production these hold all the paradoxes of Japan embracing western modernisation while hanging fast to tradition. These are the illustrations for what seems a rollicking sword and sash thriller but ... it is set in a modern metropolis; bowler hats, suits and dashing mustachios are not out of place, neither is what looks like a railway station; and these are not ukiyo-e woodcuts for a popular novel, these are western wood engravings for a long serial - there are 41 after all - in a newspaper or broadsheet magazine; an illustration of such a paper helpfully holds a bough of blossoms in one illustration. The subject apart, the glaring difference between these and any western illustrations is the skill of artist and engraver, all but a few western counterparts are put to shame.
I'm convinced that these relate to Hanai Oume the celebrated Tokyo geisha-teahouse owner who, in 1887, stabbed her sometime lover and employee who, apparently in concert with her father, was trying to muscle her out of the business. The first illustration here shows two figures holding umbrellas that, I'm told, advertise a restaurant or 'licenced pleasure quarter' remarkably similar to hers: Suigetsu.
Oume or O-ume - her professional name - was celebrity manifest. Her murder trial was public and though crowds unable to get in became irate every moment was covered in the press; books were published within minutes, kabuki plays and novels performed and published, and the newspapers made rich. Yoshitoshi produced a famous print of the murder as a supplement for the Yamato Shimbun but while there is plenty of violence in these pictures there is no murder. Spin-off or fanciful concoction, there's a good story here. There is an owner's (maybe artist's?) seal which I make out to be 春耕慢虫 - I'm sure I'm wrong.


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Chiarini's Circus and Menagerie. Complete Congress of Wonders and Marvels. n.p. 1887 (Meiji 20). Woodcut poster 38x50cm, folded. Stained on the right side and a couple of blotches elsewhere, still a rather good copy for such a vulnerable thing. Au$750

Chiarini's circus spent months in Japan in 1886 and 1887 and the Emperor saw his first circus. And being true royalty he was generous in his appreciation, not like a certain modern bunch who will reward with a handshake and have their accountant bill the nation for new gloves.
Chiarini's was the circus for much of India, south east and east Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Latin and South America. They were indefatigable travellers.
I gather it was the scale of the spectacle, the horse riders and the animals that enraptured the Japanese; they already had plenty of great acrobats. I read somewhere that the first Japanese given official permission to leave the country were acrobats snapped up by the canny Richard Risley whose circus had been allowed into Japan in 1864 but no further than Yokohama.
In this kawaraban style poster the stars are hard at work and are identified.


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King Lear in Tokyo.

Shakespeare. Gakkai Yoda, Shuto Osada &c. 当世二人女婿 [Tosei Ninin Muko; also transcribed as Tosei Futari Muko - this translates as something like Two Son-in-Laws of Today]. Tokyo, Hobunkan 1887 [Meiji 20]. Two volumes, 23x15cm, publisher's illustrated wrappers with title labels; one full page and six double page woodcut illustrations by Yoshitoshi. A bit of worming to five leaves, not serious; a nice copy. Au$750

Being illiterate has never been an impediment for a bookseller but sometimes it does make it hard to explain exactly what you are selling. I have read everything I can find in English on Shakespeare in Meiji Japan. There's quite a bit of it and it all pretty much repeats the same story established nearly a century ago. Three translators are fleshed out to degrees that depend on which is the focus of the historian and the rest brushed past.
Gakkai Yoda was something of a leviathan in Japanese letters, theatre and culture but no-one writing in English has yet tackled his Shakespeare connection. His diaries were published in twelve volumes not so long ago so there must be plenty of material there.
Shakespeare began appearing in Japanese in newspapers in the 1870s, as fragments and retelling from Lamb's Tales. The first complete translation proper was of Julius Caesar in 1883, published in instalments in a newspaper and as a book in 1886; the first performance of a play was an adaptation of The Merchant of Venice in 1885. Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar were the favourites for the first few years. and in most cases the plays were remodelled as Japanese dramas.
This is translated from a French version - presumably where Shuto Osada played his part, he was the translator from French - not directly from Shakespeare. It is set in modern Tokyo - had anyone else anywhere in the world consciously done this? - and there must be a good reason why.
OCLC has seven entries for this book so it must be common, you'd think. The seven entries together locate three copies, one outside Japan.


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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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Hayashi Tamiji. 器物図式 [Kibutsu Zushiki - Vessel Patterns (more or less)]. Tokyo, Hayashi Tamiji 1888 [Meiji 21]. 245x180mm publisher's wrapper with printed label (sometime rebacked with rice paper and since split down the spine); [2]pp, one single and 51 double page litho plates. Bound as an accordian fold, with one plate separated down the fold. Signs of use but pretty good for a book virtually guaranteed to be used to pieces. Au$600

An intriguing thing: a lithographed pattern book for export ceramic ware and very much a working book. Essential at the time when Japanese manufactury moved from craft to industry with the introduction of plaster casting, transfer printing and so on. Pots, cups and saucers, jugs, vases, urns, bowls ... some items are shown decorated, some show enough decoration to be a guide and many are outline plates - some at full scale - to get the form right. Getting the form right was the important bit at this point, pattern books for decoration were plentiful.
This has the look of being adapted from a Chinese work - which makes sense, the Chinese had a long established export market, and some of the forms here are already a century old - but I can't trace what that may be. Nor can I find much about this; Worldcat finds one copy, in Chicago, and further searches find only the National Diet Library copy.


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Muneaki Mihara. 自在教育法図解 [Jizai Kyoikuho Kuzai]. The Teaching by Pictures the Way of Impraving Freely am Easely the Natural Constitution of Man [sic]. Ritsuma Akiko, 1888 (Meiji 21). Broadside 70x53cm, woodblock printed, folding into publisher's limp cloth covers 173x132mm with printed label. A nice copy. Au$900

An enchanting and self evident exposition on the value of pictures in learning. Seemingly as simple as a phrenology chart but judging by the amount of text worked into all those different parts of the brain perhaps a lot more complex. From the little, as an illiterate, I can glean on brain function as outlined here this might sit somewhere between phrenology and neurophysics. The open area at the very centre of the brain is labelled ... unknown.


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Baido Kunimasa [Utagawa Kunimasa IV]. 明治貴顕鑑 [Meiji Kiken Kagami]. Tokyo, Hoeidi 1888 (Meiji 21). 12x9cm publisher's wrapper with title label (ink inscription on the back cover); 15 double folded leaves giving one single page, one gatefold quadruple page, and 15 double page woodcuts. Actually all but a couple of leaves are quadruple folded - the printed leaves around double folded leaves of heavier paper making the book tougher, made to be handled often. Au$300

A nifty little book, a portrait gallery of eminent figures of the Meiji. But captured in action, not the studio poses of so many 'Eminent Men' galleries. These are woodcuts but they are, with true modernity, cut to resemble engravings. Worldcat finds only the NDL copy.


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Meteorological Inspection. Peace! The sudden thunder and lightening ceased at all; and leaves the weather fair. Tokyo, Marumaru Chinbun 1889 (Meiji 27). Colour lithograph, 38x52cm. Folded, a bit rumpled and used. Au$60

An intriguing comment on something or another, issued as a supplement by the troublemaking journal Marumaru Chinbun. The Chinbun (strange news as opposed to shinbun - newspaper) began life as a satirical anti-government paper in 1877, was diluted through the eighties into social satire before giving up any troublesome tendencies after the death of founder Nomura Fumio in 1891.
Exactly why the storm demon lashes the working people of Japan while city folk of modern Tokyo continue fair may be explained or maybe you had to be there.


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Charles Spencer. 歌舞伎新報 [Fusen Nori Uwasa Takadono (in Kabuki Shinpo)]. Tokyo, Kaneko Genzo, Kabuki Shinpo Co., 1891 (Meiji 24). Octavo publisher's? wrapper with printed title label; three colour woodcut titles and 13 colour woodcut plates. Au$275

Kabuki Shinpo was a sophisticated Kabuki magazine that printed the texts of plays as well as gossip and critical pieces. It ran between 1879 and 1897 and was apparently issued in gathered volumes such as this; containing thirteen plays. Here is one of the most fascinating of the period. Aeronaut Charles Spencer - of the Spencer aeronautic dynasty - came to Japan in 1890 with his balloons and parachutes performing his balloon ascent and parachute descent stunts in Yokohama and in Ueno Park in Tokyo in November 1890. He is said to have injured himself slightly having to avoid the royal tent during a command performance.
Tokyo went balloon mad - again, they had a craze years earlier - and Spencer's performance was made into a Kabuki dance play - Fusen Nori Uwasa Takadono (Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon; see Brandon: Kabuki Plays on Stage) by premier dramatist Kawatake Mokuami - which ran for a month in early 1891. The Kabuki star Kikugoro V played Spencer with waxed moustache, hat - and in this print natty striped socks - and learnt a short speech in English for the finale.


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Hokkai Takashima. [Tokuzo Takashima]. 歐洲山水奇勝 [Oshu Sansui Kisho]. Kinkodo 1893 (Meiji 26). 245x180mm publisher's boards with title label (discoloured), bound accordian style; 54 double folded leaves with 48 double page colour woodcuts. A nice copy with the original printed outer wrapper (fukuro) loose inside. Au$950

A fascinating bit of explorative assimilation. Hokkai has produced an album of mountain views gathered in Scotland, France and Italy; unmistakably Japanese wood blocks yet also, somehow, unmistakably western lithographs. The Scottish views are captioned in English, the others in French.
Hokkai was sent by the Ministry of Agriculture to Scotland in 1884 then to Nancy to study forestry. Here, from 1885 to 1888, he became a central member of the Ecole de Nancy and cross pollination becomes personal - in Nancy at least the stamp of Japan on burgeoning tendencies of Art Nouveau is direct and unequivocal, thanks to Hokkai.
Hokkai's fascination with the grandeur of foreign mountains didn't end in Europe. He resigned his directorship of Forestry soon after his return to Japan, in 1889, in favour of art and in 1893 two paintings done in the Rockies were exhibited at the St Louis Exhibition. These showed "all the grace and dexterity of the Japanese handling combined with the true spirit of the American wilds" wrote Maude Oliver in The Studio.


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Catalogue - fire engines. 消防御用喞筒製作所 [Shobo goyo sokuto seisakusho]. 1897 (Meiji 30). Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; [12]pp, each illustrated with the 'brass' highlighted (small splodges of brown). A bit smudged, used but rather good. Au$185

A most definitely rare trade catalogue with a dozen hand operated fire engines of varying size and capacity. Printed on quite heavy, decent paper; unlike other such catalogues of the time.


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