Meiji Period

1. A comic journey through old Japan, complete in 24 volumes

Book: ”‘“¹’†‹à‚Ì‘èÜ  (Shokoku Douchuu Kane no Waraji)
English title: 
A journey through various regions with golden straw sandals
\•ÔŽÉ ˆê‹ã  (Jippensha Ikku), pen name ofd“c ’åˆê(Shigeta Sadakazu)
–k”öd­ (Kitao Shigemasa)  
“ŽR“° (Suusandou)

Condition: Fine. Very fresh. Unusual in this condition.


This is a Meiji-period reprint (undated, but probably circa 1860s) of a work first published in Bunka 10 or 11 (i.e., 1813-14). Each volume is profusely illustrated and has an unusual relief design of mountains on the cover. The contents of all 24 volumes can be seen online in an identical (but less well-preserved and apparently slightly later) edition archived here by the National Diet Library.


2. Fukushu Soga Monogatari: The Revenge of the Soga Brothers


A Meiji retelling of Fukushu Soga Monogatari (The Tale of the Revenge of the Soga) by Nagashima Tatsugoro. This tale of the poverty-stricken Soga brothers dates from the Edo period, and is often acted in kabuki, noh and bunraku theatre.

The book itself is in very good condition, with some signs of wear. It has 38 pages, with twelve 2-page illustrated spreads. The copyright page shows the date of publication as September 10, Meiji 13 (i.e., 1880), making it the first printing of this particular version of the tale.

  SOLD But I have several other similar titles priced at around $60-120

3. Blessings of Mount Narita

The books themselves are in excellent condition, with no worming (a common problem with books of this type), and only very minimal signs of wear and tear. The covers of books of this type usually combine to make a single picture, but in this case they do not. I have uploaded pictures of every page.
Book: ¬“cŽR—˜¶‹L   Narita-san Rishouki

English title: An account of the blessings of Mount Narita

Publisher/editor: ‹{ “cˆÉ• (Miyata Isuke)
Author and illustrator: unknown

The Shinsho-ji temple on Mount Narita is one of Japan's most famous shrines. Among other festivals celebrated there during the year is the Setsubun bean-throwing festival, in which sumo wrestlers play a prominent part. These little books will be treasured by anyone with an interest in Japanese sumo, or in the culture of Japan's Meiji period, in the 19th century.

 No date of publication is given in the books themselves, but the back cover to the second volume has an owner's inscription, with the name erased, but the date (Meiji 14, i.e., 1881) intact.

The cover illustrations are printed in colour, but a previous owner has coloured in some of the line engravings by hand.

$85 e-mail

4. Biography of Iwami Jutaro

Book title: Iwami Jutaro Ichidaiki (ŠâŒ©d‘¾˜Yˆê‘ã‹L)

English title: A Biography of Iwami Jutaro
Publication date: February 31st, 1889
Size: 6.5 x 4.5 inches

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 "‹à‰p“°ˆ²" (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 one of these two versions.

The books themselves are made in the traditional way, using folded rice-paper and in a fukuro-touji (string) binding. They are in excellent condition, with no worming or other significant flaws, which affect so many books of this period and of this type. They are fairly short, so I have uploaded pictures of every page, below. The picture to the right shows the column of print giving the date of publication. It is partially-obscured by the binding, but still clearly legible.

This item is SOLD; e-mail me for more material of this type


5. ¬“cØt]•Ò u“Þ—¯”ü‰Á‘½v
Odagiri Harue,
Narumikata; The way of making many beautiful designs (Meiji 16, i.e., 1883). First edition (Tokyo printing). Complete in five volumes, together with the rarely-listed three-volume supplement. Fukurotoji binding. Each volume consists of some sixty to seventy pages (thirty to thirty five leaves). A few hand-made tracings laid in. Near-fine.

These books consist of line drawings (with short written descriptions) of artwork in Japanese shrines and temples. There are notes on the shrines, etc., at the back of each volume. Fukurotoji binding, on ribbed paper, thicker than the usual rice paper. Uncommon in this condition.



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