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134 items found:

- [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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Fujiwara Ritsuta. [Sorakai Seifuku Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen 1918 (Taisho 7). Colour broadside 79x55cm. A nice copy. Au$600

A delight - the rigours of flying school explained with the careful attention to truth and detail of a Heath Robinson. This was the new year gift from the magazine Shonen.


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Japan. [Ichikawake Hiden Kumadori zukan - ie Drawings of Kumadori Secrets of the Ichikawa Family]. Tokyo, Ishikawa Shoten 1918 (Taisho 7). Oblong quarto (190x260mm) pattern cloth with ribbon ties (the covers a little marked and used) in a later chitsu case; four leaves of text and 39 colour plates (woodcut and possibly stencil coloured, two with gold) with calligraphic captions. Au$1300

Kumadori is the painted face of Kabuki and this is a series of exquisitely coloured and dramatically stylised faces of characters, full face and in profile. Ichikawa Danjuro I was said to be the originator of Kumadori in the 17th century and an unbroken succession to Ichikawa Danjuro IX (who died in 1903) kept alive and added to the characters.


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[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. [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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Japanese design. Four original designs for fans. n.p. [c1918]. Watercolour, gouache, pencil and collaged photographs (with some hand tinting) on paper, each about 53cm long. One with the date Taisho 7 (1918) and an undeciphered inscription. Au$375

Kitsch without question. But intriguing and somehow charming kitsch mixing as it does mawkish nostalgia with the thoroughly up to date techniques of photo collage and airbrush. Not to mention beach bunnies. I do wonder whether the woman in the two profile portraits is a celebrity. I'm sure purposeful kitsch was not a new arrival in Japan come the 20th century but certainly there was an avalanche of stuff like this and even more that makes these positively chic.


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Cars & Planes. [Kisha to Hikoki]. Osaka, Enomotoshoten 1919 (Taisho 8). 21x15cm publisher's illustrated wrapper; 10pp including cover, colour lithograph illustrations throughout. Natural browning of the cheap paper, an excellent copy. Au$165

Yes, this is called Cars and Planes, or Automobiles and Aeroplanes if you want to be formal, but that train on the cover is too exciting to sulk about. Maybe not the finest printing but these akahons (red books) - cheap and gaudy - do manage to catch the thrill of being alive in a time when everything is new and speedy. This may be a reprint; published a couple of years after the first.


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Akashi Seiichi. [Kodakara Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Fujin Sekai 1919 (Taisho 8). Colour printed broadsheet 54x79cm. A bit used, some browning and a couple of small holes in folds; pretty good. Au$300

The new year gift from the magazine Fujin Sekai - Woman's World - is a colourful hymn to the joys of having children.


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[Nikonikoponchi]. Osaka, Enomotoshoten 1919 (Taisho 8). 21x14cm publisher's colour litho wrapper; 10pp including wrapper; colour lithograph illustrations throughout. Natural browning of the cheap paper, an excellent copy. Au$80

Short comic strip gags printed in that style that makes you reach for your 3D glasses. Maybe not the finest printing but these akahons (red books) - cheap and gaudy - do manage to catch the thrill of being alive in a time when everything is fun. This may be a reprint; published a couple of years after the first.


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Morita Hisashi. [Sekai Yume Ryoko Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Sekai Shonen 1919 (Taisho 8). Colour broadside 79x54cm. Used with several tears in folds and an old repair. Au$100

A good sugoroku but not a great copy, this dream adventure was the new year gift from the boys' magazine Sekai Shonen. Morita was a busy illustrator and art director for the Takarazuka Revue through the twenties.


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Fire Safety Poster. - [Hifuse - Chichibu Shobogume]. Chichibu Fire Prevention Publicity Department [192-?]. Colour litho poster 39x27cm. Au$225

A good straightforward illustration of what a carefully applied match can do.


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Hikifuda. Specimen hikifuda. n.p. [192-?]. Colour lithograph 26x38cm. A bit creased, stab holes on the right indicating it was once in an album. A printed code number on the back. Au$135

A glamorous pair of Taisho women doing what urban Japanese did best: throng the busy exciting streets and shop. These hikifuda - handbills or small advertising posters - were often produced with blank frames for customers to have their own wares and business details printed over. I'd guess this was aimed at the fashion industry.


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Hikifuda. Specimen hikifuda. n.p. [192-?]. Colour lithograph 26x38cm. A bit rumpled, stab holes on the right indicating it was once in an album. A printed code number on the back. Au$150

The vivid and exciting world of groceries beautifully depicted. These hikifuda - handbills or small advertising posters - were often produced with blank frames for customers to have their own wares and business details printed over.


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Noshigami - . A sample book of Noshigami - special paper for gifts - from the Kadoya Dyeing Workshop, Tokyo. Tokyo [c1920?]. Large octavo by size (235x180mm), printed stiff wrappers; 105 leaves of colour printed samples. Au$400

Noshi-gami is specially printed paper to be folded and attached to gifts as I understand it. The ineluctable beauty of the patterns is enhanced in this book by being in a quite smart cover decorated with electric locomotives.


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Senjafuda. A printer's sample album of woodcut senjafuda and nosatsu. n.p. [Osaka? 1920s]. 19x27cm card album with manuscript title slip; 135 colour woodcuts mounted on 20 leaves. Put together with long wire staples, it is now pretty much disbound. Browning of the album leaves; three leaves - which have a series of slips with masks - were torn out along the gutter but it is all complete and the fuda prints themselves are in pretty good shape. A bit buggered is the technical description for the condition of the album. The quality of the examples excuses a fair bit of buggerdom. Au$300

Senjafuda - votive slips left at temples and shrines - are a thousand odd years old tradition but in the last couple of hundred years they evolved into elaborate prints made as much to be swapped and traded as pasted on shrine gates. The twenties and thirties maybe represent the peak years before lithography and then self adhesive mass produced stickers took over. Afficiandos commisioned them, companies used them as advertisements and business cards. Designers and printers made them a speciality and typographers loved them. And collectors collected them.
This is a woodcut printer's album. The name and address is stamped at the end. I think it says Bifu Mokuhan (beautiful wood prints) and the name is Kuroda but I won't swear to it. There's some pretty good printing here, on heavy paper and light card, extra embossing here and there and some metallic inks.


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Yamada Takanori. [Shonen Yakyu Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen Sekai 1921 (Taisho 10). Colour broadside 55x79cm. Used, a bit rumpled and browned with some short tears and a small chip in the margin. This is - some mitigation - an untrimmed copy with ample margins and trim marks in the top margin. Not bad. Au$500

An early and rare baseball sugoroku, this was the new year gift from the boys' magazine Shonen Sekai. Baseball has cameos in earlier games but I haven't yet found an earlier sugoroku devoted to it.


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Advertising Sugoroku. Sugorku issued by the Osaka Mainichi newspaper Sunday supplement Osaka, Mainichi Shimbun 1922 (Taisho 11). Broadsheet printed in brown. Several small tears in folds and edges, not bad for such a flimsy game. Au$60

A cheap game advertising local businesses printed in that grim brown that newspapers fondly imagined was more lively and attractive than black. It was part of the supplement for January 1st - far drabber than those colourful sheets produced by other papers and magazines and given as a new year gift. On the other side are typical photos of the Sunday supplement kind including puppies in the snow.


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[Kisha to Norimono]. Osaka, Okamoto Zoshindo 1923 (Taisho 12). 17x18cm publisher's colour illustrated wrapper; [12]pp including wrapper, eight full page illustrations inside. The back wrapper - which is flimsier paper - is browned and creased; a pretty good copy. Au$150

Machines and people on the move - what better subject for a book? Better quality than the really cheap akahon (red books) for kids that came out of Osaka but not a lot.


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Metrication. [Toitsu Sa Reta Metoru-ho]. Tokyo, Asahi Graphic 1923 (Taisho 12). Colour poster 53x38cm. Au$90

Handy educational tool for the imminent establishment of the metric system as Japan's official system of measurement. Up until then metric, imperial and traditional measures were legal. It was proposed to make a gradual change over ten years so by the thirties the nationalistic backlash meant that it was all postponed again. And again. The American occupation forces cared nothing for metrics and it was the mid sixties before everybody was up to scratch.


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Wada Ayata. [Shiyouindo Soshoku]. Kyoto, Unsodo 1924. Folio (370x255mm), loose as issued in publisher's cloth portfolio with printed label; four leaves of text, 33 plates (10 are colour lithographs) of designs with a few photo illustrations of finished work; the last three plates are alphabets (ie Japanese characters) in new modern styles. Au$3000

Rare. In fact I have expert advice that this is 'ubu' - which when applied to books I'm told means very rare and special. This is one of the more luxuriously produced portfolios of modern Japanese designs of the period; the colour plates are glowing lithographs. Part of the fascination of Japanese modernism is that not only did 'commercial art' encompass such a breadth of, to us, disparate disciplines but that they were given equal weight. Show windows are not less important than advertising graphics, or lighting, or even architecture itself. They all demand an equal application of inventiveness and artists and designers turned their hand to buildings, posters, books, stage and costumes, and show windows with equal relish.
Wada was just such a designer of the Taisho and early Showa periods; he also produced albums of alphabets and interior designs. In later years he turned to politics and economics, which is just sad. OCLC finds only the National Diet copy.


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Takeo Inoue. [Shojo Kokkei Kaimono Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shojo Sekai 1925 (Taisho 14). Colour broadside 54x79cm. Signs of use with a couple of small holes in folds and a neat inscription on the back. Not bad. Au$300

Who said that a girl's life could be dull? Here are just some of the perils and joys of shopping. This was the new year gift from the magazine Shojo Sekai - Girl's World.


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Ise. [Isesangu Meisho An'nai no Zu]. Yamashita Sobei 1925 [Taisho 14]. Colour printed broadside 34x50cm; woodcut and half-tone printing? Folded, natural browning of the cheap paper but rather good.. Au$95

An odd anachronism, this combines the production of the cheapest printing of a generation earlier. Yamashita Sobei produced these pilgrim tourist guides without changing their style from 1898 at least, updating details like trains, trams and new buildings. Maybe the lurid roughness became part of the tradition of the regular pilrimages to the two shrines of Ise.


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Aso Yutaka. [Nonki Na Tosan de Kichi Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Hochi Shinbunsha 1925 (Taisho 14). Colour illustrated broadside game (54x79cm). Folded as issued, mild signs of use and browning. With the circular portraits of the characters down the side to be cut out and used as game pieces. Au$475

The new year extra from the newspaper Hochi Shinbun starring Japan's first serial comic strip hero Nonki Na Tosan - usually translated as Easy-going or Lazy Daddy - who first appeared in regular comic strips in the paper the year before. He owed some debt to Jiggs of Bringing Up Father but uncle Nonto was a thoroughly Japanese scapegrace and loafer who quickly made his way into games, toys and, in 1925, a short animated film. Now our game is presented as a film while the information I've found about the film, and all the toys, suggests that they were piracies; comic characters were not protected by copyright. Perhaps an all round notion that popular comic strips and film are natural partners explains what may or may not be a coincidence.
This may be Nonto's first sugoroku but it certainly wasn't his last. Come the early thirties as the manga craze blossomed our hero was often teamed with Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop - something of a holy trinity. As said, uncle Nonto is a loafer and this game follows him through a series of disastrous attempts at holding down a job.


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Sugoroku. [Saiken Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Fujimoto Corporation 1925 (Taisho 14). Colour broadside 78x53cm. Used, rumpled and a couple of short marginal tears repaired but very decent. Au$300

A graphic serenade to the virtues of thrift, saving and buying bonds, this was produced by the broking firm Fujimoto for their customers and is labelled 'Not For Sale'. Luckily for the artist and for us some cautionary vices were allowed to spice up a staid game: wine, women and the ponies.


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Asano Kaoru. [Shin Tokyo Meisho Meguri Kyoso Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Kodansha 1925 (Taisho 14). Colour broadside 54x79cm. A few small holes in folds; quite good with the playing pieces in the margin. Au$200

This fun tour around Tokyo was the new year gift from the brand new Kingu magazine. It begins at the railway station and ends not far away at the imperial palace but there is plenty to see on the way. Following the north east route will take you past the Women's University and - more important - Kingu's headquarters.


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