Rare Books in Japan
RBIJ
Books from the Edo period



1. Zouho Kashiragaki Kinmou Zui Taisei (Illustrated Encyclopedia)
           

Book: ‘•â“ª‘ŒP–Öš¤œb‘听 (Zouho Kashiragaki Kunmou Zui Taisei)
English title: 
A revised page-indexed explanatory compilation (i.e., an encyclopedia)
Author:
’†‘º úÀâV  (Nakamura Tekitei)
Illustrator:
‰º‰Í•Ó E… (Shimokobe Shusei)  
Publisher:
‹ãŽH“° (Kyusatsuki Dou, Kyoto)
Year of publication: Kansei 1 (1789)
Condition: Near-fine; minor staining.

Complete in 21 volumes
bound in ten, with prefatory material and a detailed table of contents.  The labels at the top right of the covers are labels from the library from which this set has been deaccessioned.

$850 e-mail



This is an 18th-century reprint of Nakamura's work (first published in 1695), revised, and illustrated in this edition by Shusei Shimokabe, an ukiyo-e artist who died in 1798. The first of the ten volumes consists of prefatory material and an index of contents, and the remaining nine volumes cover such topics as flora and fauna, people and society, architecture, astronomy, and so on, with an illustration on each page (see picture, above).

 
                                                                                                   

Above: The last page of the text.
Right:  The colophon page.

After the first (1695) edition of Nakamura's work, there appear to have been a few undated reprints during the earlier part of the 18th century, but it was slowly slipping into oblivion until this edition, fully revised and with copious illustrations, came out in 1789.



2.
Motoori's Kokinshu Telescope


     

Title: “ª‘ŒÃ¡˜a‰ÌW‰“‹¾@iTousho Kokin Wakashu Toukagami)
English title: "An Annotated Kokinshu Telescope". "Kokinshu" is an abbreviation of "Kokin Wakashu", which in turn is usually translated as "Collected Japanese Poems of Ancient and Modern Times". Strictly speaking, waka are a particular type of Japanese poetry.
Authors:  ’˜ŽÒ/ìŽÒ     –{‹ é’·  (Motoori Norinaga), 1730-1801, and  ŽRè ”ü¬ (Yamazaki Yoshinari), 1796-1856
Date of publication: Tenpou 14 (=1843); first edition
Condition: Near-fine.

Twenty volumes, bound in eight, as issued (complete).

Motoori was the leading kokugakushu (exponent of the "National Revival" movement of the late Edo period), best remembered for his commentaries on the Kojiki and his annotations of Genji Monogatari. He is credited with inventing the concept of mono no aware (gthe sadness of thingsh). He was also a well-known waka poet. As the title indicates, these volumes are Motoori's annotated  edition of the Kokinshu, which was apparently completed in 1795 and published  under Yamazaki's editorship many years later. Only three holding libraries in Japan have the complete set; several others have loose volumes or incomplete sets.

$435 e-mail
 
 








Above left: The first page of the first volume
Above right: A random page from volume 3
Right: The colophon page, volume 8

3. Biography of Kōbō-Daishi

 

Title:
O–@‘åŽtŒä“`‹L Koubou Daishi Kodenki (A Biography of Koubou Daishi), complete in 10 volumes, with two volumes bound into each book. Internally in decent condition (very good plus), despite the dog-eared state of the bindings (see above). Published, as the colophon page tells us (above, right), on the first fine day of spring in the year Š°•¶“ñ (=Kanbun 2), i.e., 1662.
$725 e-mail



These books are illustrated throughout with black and white woodblock prints. Kōbō-Daishi is the name given posthumously to Kūkai (774–835), was the  founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism, and he is pictured above travelling to China, where he began his studies in Buddhism and Sanskrit, as a young man.

 
Random pages


                    A sense of scale                  The table of contents at the
             (roughly 10.5 inches by 7)             end of the preface, giving
                                                         the title in the usual cursive
                                                         script, with
furigana alongside.
                                                           


4. Business handbook
‹Ñk¤æ̜g˜Ò (Kinkou Shoubai Ourai; The "Brocaded Plough" Business Handbook") 1862.
$45 e-mail
 
The Shoubai Ourai were business handbooks during the Edo period.  They were basically  glossaries of trading and economic vocabulary, with information about products, the merchant classes, etc. This one is geared towards agricultural and fishery merchants. It is recorded in CiNii, with one holding library.   



5. Kaibara Ekiken: Click here.  


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