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Rare Books in Japan not handling searches at present

Over the years, I have helped people put together collections of such things as books about Japanese airships, Japanese editions of  Darwin's Origin of Species and Meiji period translations of the Bible. However, I am unable currently to handle search requests. I hope to be in a position to resume this service in the not-too-distant future. 

Research & Education

Click here to go to my educational site for help with researching Japanese books and other artefacts. I can also give some help and advice with Japanese antiques.

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Check the archives for items in the following categories: older books, Japanese manga, modern  first editions, English works in Japanese translation, books about Japan, Japanese militarism.

Books in Japanese & books related to Japan

1. Haruki Murakami Surprisingly, first editions of Murakami in Japanese are not that highly priced (often lower than the first editions in English). The reason is partly because collecting modern firsts hasn't caught on in Japan the way it has in the West, and partly because Japan is only just beginning to wake up to Murakami's international status as a novelist.

Click here for more highly collectible Murakami titles, in English as well as Japanese.
Book: m EF[̐X (Noruwei no mori)
English title: Norwegian Wood
Edition: first edition, first printing
Condition: Both volumes fine, in fine dust jackets, with publisher's wraparound bands (obi in Japanese), also fine

This set is SOLD, but I have other sets for prices between about $80 and $200, depending on condition.

More Murakami


The colophon statement on both volumes identifies this set of
Norwegian Wood
as the first edition, first printing
of Murakami's work in Japanese, making it
the true first edition worldwide.

If you are going to invest in Japanese first editions, Murakami is a good bet. Prices have been rising steadily, both in Japan and abroad, over the ten years or so that I have been involved in buying and selling his works. But it is crucial to ascertain the authenticity of what you are buying.


Anyone who wants to learn more about identifying Japanese first editions, or about technical aspects of Japanese books, please click here.

Click here to check out other Murakami titles!
2. Meiji period woodblock books
     These little books are a fascinating relic of a bygone age. They are typically made from folded sheets of rice paper, bound in soft covers and threaded together (fukuro-touji binding).
     Click here to see more books of this kind.

The publication date is partially obscured by the binding, but can still be clearly identified.

Book title: Iwami Jutaro Ichidaiki (〈dYL)
English title: A Biography of Iwami Jutaro
Publication date: February 31st, 1889
Size: 6.5 x 4.5 inches
Condition: Very good plus

This set is SOLD, but I have a fair number of books of this type. Contact me for details.

Iwami Jutaro is a legendary hero of the 16th century, serving under the daimyo General Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It is not clear who the author of this edition was. It was customary to give the name of the author, artist and publisher on the cover of the second or last volume of such publications, but this set carries only the words "p" (Kineido Azusa), without saying what part she played in the production of this book. Since her name crops up in relation to a 19th-century Tokyo bookstore it seems more likely that she commissioned or published, rather than wrote, the book. Japan's National Institute of Informatics (which has taken over from NACSIS as the main bibliographical record of Japanese books) does not record this work, but that is not much of a surprise; publications of this kind were basically ephemera, and only a fraction of them have been properly catalogued. However, it does list two 19th-century biographies of Jutaro, one (in a two-volume set, like this one) by Shonosuke Onishi, and one by Kinnosuke Maki. Only one copy of each of these is recorded, and I have not had an opportunity to view either. It is possible that this is taken from (or is an edition of) one of these two versions.

The books themselves are in excellent condition, with no worming or other significant flaws, which affect so many books of this period and of this type. The last picture shows the column of print giving the date of publication. It is partially-obscured by the binding, but still clearly legible.

These images show the rest of the contents of these two books.
3. Japanese Movies
Posters, memorabilia, etc.  
here to see more like this.
1960 poster for Nagisa Oshima's movie The Sun's Burial, distributed in Japan mainly for the benefit of American troops stationed in army bases. There's a small tear/crumple towards the top of the right-hand side, just under the telegraph pole (pictured right). Otherwise flawless.

Price: $75

4. Yukio Mishima
Click here for more Mishima items, including two very special signed presentation copies given by Mrs. Mishima to Paul Schrader, director of the movie "Mishima".

Book: t (Kinkakuji)
English title: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Edition: first edition, first printing (Oct. 30, 1956)
Condition: Fine, in fine dust jacket, with publisher's wraparound band, also fine
This copy has been SOLD, but
for details of other copies or similar items.

5. Edo Period

Click here for more Edo period items.

Kaibara Ekiken (Ekken; also Atsunobu), Nikko Meishoki (A Record of a Beautiful Sunny Place), Shoutoku 4 (i.e., 1714). 18 cm. First edition, [1], 47, 8, [1] leaves, illustrations accompanying every page of text, maps. Only two holding libraries in Japan (Tsukuba and Nakiyoudai). Published in the year of the author's death. Very good plus, with some worming and other signs of age. Pages of folded rice paper, fukurotouji binding.


                           Cover                                            Title Page

Kaibara Ekiken's reputation is undergoing a tremendous revision. Scholars such as Professors Tsujimoto and Yotoka of Tachibana Jochi University have helped to bring him into the limilight in Japan, and in the West the 1998 conference of the International Institute for Asian Studies (focused entirely on Kaibara), coupled with Mary Evelyn Tucker's monograph, have made his works - neglected for many years - the object of renewed interest. Kaibara was a prolific writer, particularly well known as a Confucianist philosopher and botanist, but also for works on education, health (Yojokun, "The Book of Life-Nourishing Principles", is perhaps his single best-known work, and - while it is at complete odds with modern medical science - is still read today), geography, the natural sciences, etc. This book is a wonderful insight into life in rural Japan in the early 18th century.

See more like this

First page of the text

Colopohon page

More Edo period books

Check the archives for items in the following categories: older books, Japanese manga, modern  first editions, English works in Japanese translation, books about Japan, Japanese militarism.

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