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154 items found:

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. With the playing pieces in the margin. 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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Fujimoto Katao. [Jitsuyo Oryori Kondate Manga Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Fujin Sekai 1926 (Taisho 15). Colour broadside 55x79cm. Mildly used, quite a good copy. Au$500

This delightful manga sugoroku celebrates cooking and was the new year gift from the magazine Woman's World.


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Yanase Masamu & Fujimori Seikichi. ( ) [Okami e! (Waga Rodo)]. Tokyo, Shunjusha 1926 (Taisho 15). 20x14cm, excellent in publisher's illustrated boards and slipcase by Yanase. Spine a bit browned, minor wear to the top of the slipcase; rather good. Inscribed and signed by Fujimori in September 1926 to the novelist Wada Den (Wada Tsuto). Au$800

First edition of Fujimori's proletarian novel - the title translates as 'To the Wolf! (my labour)' - but, alas, probably more wanted for Yanase's book design these days. As I can't read the book, there's no contest for me. Both were trouble makers and both ended up in trouble - jailed every now and again, in Yanase's case tortured as well.
Yanase, both prodigy and prodigious, was one of the founders of MAVO - now Japan's best known avant-garde group of the early twenties - after membership of futurist and constructivist associations and before moving onto self proclaimed proletarian movements. He abandoned painting in the late twenties - the fine arts were anti-proletarian - and worked only as a graphic artist until the war, which he did not survive.
Wada Den was prominent in the school of farmer or peasant literaure. They both wrote about the working class but Wada was, I've read, no friend to left wing troublemakers.


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Tanaka Higara. [Shojo Supotsu Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shojo Kurabu 1927 (Taisho 16). Colour broadsheet 54x79. A rather good copy. On the back are photographs and details of heroines of Japanese sport printed in blue. Au$425

Stylish indeed but not printed on the best paper, this sugoroku is hard to find still in one piece. This was the new year gift from the girl's magazine Shojo Kurabu - Girl's Club. There are not so many sugoroku in which girls get to be unashamedly athletic and competitive.


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Murayama Tomoyoshi. [Puroretaria Eiga Nyumon]. Tokyo, Zen'ei Shobo 1928 (Showa 3), 19x13cm publisher's red wrapper with mounted label (wrapper colour patchy); [8],276pp, loose photo frontispiece, photo illustrations through the text. A nice copy in the original card slipcase. Au$600

First, only contemporary I'm sure, edition of Murayama's introduction to proletarian film - a literal translation of the title. By 1928 Mavo founder Murayama had already had one play banned and soon enough began the first of a series of arrests for troublemaking. Mavo, a determined regrounding of constructivism - which Murayama had brought back from Germany - in the concerns of real life, was both progenitor and, for a while, companion of specifically proletarian branches of the avant-garde: the Proletarian Art Academy and the Proletarian Art Federation, the Proletarian Film League ... . You will find Murayama's name in the histories of them all. He made films of course; infuriated architects by designing buildings; designed, wrote and directed plays; wrote novels, theory and criticism like this; painted and made collage constructions; and like many radical, or just outstanding, artists of his generation, made his living illustrating children's books and magazines.
It may seem trivial but even the title of this book, using the phonetic transcription of 'proletarian' was a modern typographic departure from the usual three character Kanji - musansha. Worldcat finds no copy of this outside Japan.


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ROBERTSON, J.M. [John Mackinnon]. A History of Freethought in the Nineteenth Century. London, Watts 1929. Two volumes octavo publisher's two-tone cloth; 635pp, plates. A very good pair. Au$125

First edition and a pretty luxe production for the usually utilitarian Watts and Rationalist Press.


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[Sekai Hatsumei Hatsuken Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shogaku Shinensei Furoku 1929 (Showa 4). Colour broadsheet 54x78cm. A rather good copy. Au$300

An inspirational, if odd, game celebrating great inventors. This was the new year gift from Shogaku Shinensei - a magazine for 4th graders. I'm not sure whether you get to be a god or hang out with a god, join his procession.


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Okamoto Ippei. [Shufunotomo - Manga Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shufunotomosha 1929 (Showa 4). Broadside 64x94cm; colour printed. Rather good. Au$600

A splendid large and lively sugoroku issued as a New Year gift by the magazine The Housewife's Friend. The game is an intriguing melange, to me, of the modern and traditional; whether in conflict or harmony or all round mocked I don't know. The winning post - the joyful family of plump plutocrats with both husband and wife looking remarkably like lucky gods - is the dream of the modern young woman being hatched from an egg in the upper right but she is not the starting point of the game. There seems to be several starting points. Did any young western woman ever dream of being rich and fat?
Ippei, radical and scallywag, was the king of newspaper cartooning as Rakuten ruled the magazines in Taisho and early Showa Japan. It was Ippei that brought the American comic strip to Japan and he heads, with Rakuten, the lists of idols and inspiration of many modern manga artists.


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Tokyo. The Outline of the Reconstruction Work in Tokyo & Yokahama. Bureau of Reconstruction, Tokyo 1929. Octavo, very good in publisher's cloth; [14], vi, xii, 220pp and 6 large folding maps, photo illustrations through the text. The Imperial Edict (four pages) printed on a coloured ground with gold border. Au$475

The official report, or boast, to the outside world on the rebuilding after the great 1923 earthquake (and on the earthquake itself). The aim was "not only to restore Tokyo ... but also to build a new capital with an aspect entirely new and quite different", a "gigantic work unparalleled in the history of city planning of the world" - by 1929 "nearly accomplished" (preface & foreword respectively).


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Okamoto Ippei. [Shufunotomo - Manga Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shufunotomosha 1929 (Showa 4). Broadside 64x94cm; colour printed. Not the best copy, over creased with several repairs to separated folds, but all there. Au$100

A splendid large and lively sugoroku - racing game - by the illustrator/cartoonist whose place in modern manga history is still being argued. Issued as a New Year gift by the magazine The Housewife's Friend, the game is an intriguing melange, to me, of the modern and traditional; whether in conflict or harmony or all round mocked I don't know. The winning post - the joyful family of plump plutocrats with both husband and wife looking remarkably like lucky gods - is the dream of the modern young woman being hatched from an egg in the upper right but she is not the starting point of the game. There seems to be several starting points. Did any young western woman ever dream of being rich and fat?
If you look up Okamoto Ippei in non-Japanese places now you will find so many entries telling us how unjustly neglected and forgotten he is in the history of comics and manga that we know his place is assured. Ippei was the king of newspaper cartooning as Rakuten ruled the magazines in Taisho and early Showa Japan. It was Ippei that brought the American comic strip to Japan and heads, with Rakuten, the lists of idols and inspiration of many modern manga artists; hardly forgotten.


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BLACK, Archibald et al. American Airport Designs - containing 44 prize winning and other drawings from the Lehigh Airports Competition ... NY, for the Lehigh Portland Cement Company 1930. Quarto publisher's illustrated heavy wrapper (a stain on the front, later cloth spine); 96pp, mostly plates. A more than decent copy. Au$250

This is, I believe, the first American book on airport architecture, gathering designs submitted to the country's first such competition. The compiler is confident that there are plenty of new ideas never used in Europe and the schemes range from token crackpot visionary - a circular runway running around the tops of skyscrapers - to beaux-arts, with the bulk falling into classical moderne.
Common to all designs chosen for inclusion is a formal layout, with runways, often circular, that range from something like parterre gardens to complex occult symbols; surely evidence that a good beaux-arts education still prevailed. Two designs that have some flashy distinction are by Los Angeles and Florida architects, naturally, with a film set skyscraper and a modernist tower respectively. Both are condemned as unsafe. Maybe interesting now would be tracking down the entries that didn't make the cut - neither Wright's nor Neutra's made the book.


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Sugoroku. [Kodomo Norimono Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Seugaku Ninensei 1930 (Showa 5). Colour lithograph broadside, 54x78cm. A rather good copy. Au$500

An exciting and vivid jaunt around the world and all forms of transport is the theme here. This was the New Year treat that came with the magazine Seugaku Sophomore (for the second year of primary school).
I don't know who those two kids are but they never aged and, with updates in fashion and style, seem to have been on a ceaseless whirl of travel and adventure ever after. For decades new but the same sugorokus appeared. The zeppelin vanished of course, square automobiles became sleek cars, trains went diesel and electric, aeroplanes became jets, and on they went.
Perhaps they learnt early what many idle wealthy globe trotters know: that a diet of fine demi-sec and pure cocaine keeps you young forever.


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Itagaki Takao. [Atarashiki Geijutsu no Kakutoku]. Tokyo, Tenjinsha 1930. 10x15cm publisher's illustrated wrapper and printed card case; 10,246pp including photo illustrations on 16 plates. Some browning and minor signs of use; quite good. Au$750

First edition of this essay on the machine and new architecture and design, by the champion of modernism in Japan. This was a theme Itagaki pursued through a few books between 1929 and 1933.


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Fire Safety Poster. - [Hifuse - Chichibu Shobogume]. Chichibu Fire Prevention Publicity Department [c1930?]. Colour litho poster 39x27cm. Horizontal fold and creased in a top corner. Au$150

The Chichibu Fire Prevention department produced a series of these fire safety poster. I think they were the result of a school competition. So far I've seen three. One makes the fire department more threatening than a fire, one seems a lesson in how to burn down the city and this one takes a more theological approach: fire is neither an accidental nor deliberate act of people, it is a demonic being.


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COLYER, William Thomas & Kagawa Minosuke. [Sekai no Kyoi Amerikanizumu]. Tokyo, Oasha 1931 (Showa 6). Octavo publisher's printed wrapper (somewhat rumpled) and slipcase; 354pp. Signs of use and expected browning of the paper, a pretty decent copy. Au$200

A translation by Kagawa of Colyer's 'Americanism - a World Menace' first published in London in 1922. Colyer was an emigre English socialist to the U.S. in 1915 and became one of the first victims of the youthful Edgar J. Hoover - tasked with rounding up communist terrorists in 1920. His first attempt to have Colyer and his wife deported failed but he succeeded in 1922 and Colyer arrived back in Britain embittered and radical. Paraphrasing a little Colyer's basic tenets of Americanism we find: white racial pride aka patriotism; money equals merit; the glorification of democracy as an abstract divorced from practical control by the people; lawlessness decorated by "flowery and meaningless names" such as "the upsurging of the great heart of America."
Kagawa, the translator, remains a blank to me apart from the name on this book. It might be protective pseudonym. Oasha published mostly worthy books between about 1930 and 1934, few as radical as this, but they resurfaced after the war with a couple of Marxist titles between 1947 and 49.


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Tsutsumi Kanzo. [Manga sugoroku sekai haya nozoki]. Nagoya(?), Shin Aichi 1931. Colour lithograph broadside, 55x70cm; Folded, a touch of nibbling on one edge; a nice copy with the playing pieces intact in the right margin. Au$650

Sugoroku, these paper racing games, like most genres of Japanese graphics range from the fabulous, through insipid to kitsch to awful to downright disturbing. This one is fabulous. Tsutsumi - one of the great pioneers of modern manga - takes two young aviators on quick world tour and shows them all the most important things. Curious, for me, is that each stop is not headed with the country name but some quality, some spectacle, some activity. Thus meeting Mussolini in Italy is titled 'hero'; for baseball we see see Babe Ruth knocking over a New York skyscraper; tennis is Henri Cochet in France; film is of course Charlie Chaplin in Hollywood; science is a zeppelin in Germany; war is Chiang Kai-shek in China; manners are learnt in England from Ramsay MacDonald; I'm not sure what the gymnastic penguins in the Antarctic represent. And so on round the globe with celebrity and national stereotypes galore.


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[Hataraku Fujin]. No. 1 to no. 5 and no. 11. Tokyo, Nihon Puroretaria Bunka, Jan - Nov 1932 (Showa 7). Six issues in colour illustrated publisher's wrappers 22x15cm; contents range from about 140pp to 86pp, b/w illustrations, monochrome photo illustrations. Expected browning of the cheap paper, signs of use but all rather good. Au$900

Maybe six elevenths - or six thirteenths, or not - of the whole run of this trouble making left wing magazine for the Working Woman. It's hard to untangle. I can't find any complete set of these original copies. A reprint, probably not complete, was made in 1980 which seems to include eleven issues running from January 1932 to an April/May 1933 double issue - eight for 1932 and three for 1933. I found a mention that no issues appeared some months. The issues here are numbered by the month they appeared - which may mean there are gaps in the numbering of a complete run or that there are issues no-one has found. The holdings of 13 university libraries in Japan put together seem to add up to v1(1 -10) for 1932 and v2(1-3) for 1933.
Being a communist in Japan in the thirties was a fraught business and the foundation of the Nihon Puroretaria Bunka Renmei - Japanese Proletarian Culture Federation - late 1931 and the flourish of Proletarian books and magazines in 1932 and early 1933 was a last stand of the left. Being gaoled was one thing, being tortured and killed another. In her novel '1932 no Haru' (Spring 1932) writer Miyamoto Yuriko incorporated her editorship of early issues of this magazine, arrest after the April issue (on the right in the picture here), and the torture and death of poet Konno Dairiki. This wasn't her last arrest and Konno's wasn't the last death.
Virtually nothing written in the last few decades on Japanese culture in the twentieth century doesn't mention 'Working Woman' while no-one, it seems, has read or even seen all of them.


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Gandhi. Pyarelal. [Pyarelal Nayyar] The Epic Fast. Ahmedabad 1932. Octavo publisher's wrapper; xii,328pp. Au$50

Gandhi's stand against separate electorates for the untouchable caste - a "fast unto death" . Several chapters are by Gandhi.


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Itagaki Takao. [Geijutsukai no Kicho to Jicho]. Tokyo, Rokubunkan 1932 (Showa 7). 22x16cm, publisher's cloth with onlaid colour illustration, mildly used printed card slipcase; 428pp including 36 pages of photo illustrations. Rather good. Au$650

First edition. Itagaki was seemingly indefatigable as a champion of modernity and modernism in the late twenties and early thirties. Between 1929 and 1933 he worried at the relationship of the machine to art, design, architecture, photography and film, propounding his concept of "machine realism" in a small bundle of books. Come the deadly government crackdown on Itagaki's natural disputants - the "proletarian realists" - he apparently retreated into conservative didactic writing on western art and film.


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Advertising Sugoroku. [Shobai Hanei Sugoroku]. Tokyo printed, Notagawa Ekimae Shoten 1935 (Showa 10). Colour broadside 79x55cm. Minor signs of use, a pretty good copy. Au$400

A proper aspirational sugoroku for girls and young women. Prosperity is the reward for the perfect modern girl: good husband, handsome family and shopping, shopping shopping. This shopping game advertises the glamorous range of businesses in Notagawa - now part of Higashiomi, more or less half way between Kyoto and Nagoya. The same game, relabelled, was used for businesses of Matsumoto City. A very similar - a few panels the same - but not so modern game - more kimonos, fewer cars, furs and bobbed or marcelled heads - with the same title was issued the year before by the newspaper Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun for readers in the Iwamurata-machi area. You don't waste a good idea and a decent bit of artwork.


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Sugoroku. [Yumei Shoten Annai u Kure-Roku]. Tokyo, Hirohidesha 1936 (Showa 11). Colour broadsheet 54x79cm. Chewed in the left margin and along a couple of folds, marring a bright copy. Au$210

A rare, cheerful shopping game advertising the businesses of Horinouchi-cho. As there are any number of Horinouchi-chos spotted around Japan I'm not sure which one but as this seems to have come from the newspaper Tokyo Shimbun I'm guessing it's around Tokyo. I came across one other copy of the game but it has a different title and advertises different businesses in a different area.


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City Planning. Xinjing or Shinkyo (Changchun) - Manchukuo. [Kokuto Shinkyo Kensetsu no Zenbo]. Shinkyo, Manshukoku Kokumuin Kokuto Kensetsukyoku 1936. Colour printed sheet 54x78cm with colour bird's eye view and panorama on one side; colour plan, smaller b/w photo illustrations and text on the other. Folded as issued, a small knick in a margin, minor signs of use. Au$750

In many ways the new capital of Manchukuo was - is - a planner's dream. Here was an empire building militaristic government wanting to both experiment with all that had been learned about city planning and show the west that not only could they do it, but do it better.
Changchun, a hybrid Chinese-Russian-Japanese railway town, was appointed the new capital, it was renamed, a five year plan for a new city was drawn up under the guidance of Professor Riki (or Toshikata) Sano in 1932, a quick compromise with a competing plan was made, and building was underway in early 1933.
Local interests (ie the Chinese and Manchu population) and business were allowed notional input but the brief was clear: social theory, technology and architecture that made for an efficient colonial capital could be put into place, local self-interest could not. Of course it was not so simple. This was to be a pan-Asian showcase, superior to western, especially colonial western, models - not equal. Confucianism, traditional ritual and Asian racial harmony were to be a central part of the city. What more could any urbanist ask for?
Students of the plan might like to start with Yishi Liu's 2011 doctoral thesis, 'Competing Visions of the Modern;' where Griffin's Canberra plan and Griffin's diagrams for road classification are illustrated beside Xinjing's. By 1936 - when our view of the future city was produced - a lot was still dust and open space but, by the gods, whatever else they learnt from Burley Griffin's Canberra - and it was a lot - about planning a city, they certainly learnt how not to build a city.
What they already knew is what all architects know - by instinct? - to redraw plans to fit what has been built and what is likely to be built. This is, I think, the third or fourth of such views of the new city. There were similar prints in 1933, maybe in 34, and 35. The city was declared open in 1937. I'm yet to see the first but the changes between 1935 and 1936 are noteworthy. The plan is much the same, mildy shrunk, and some buildings in our imaginary bird's eye view may reflect actual building but what becomes clear is that ambition has been scaled back to come closer to what they thought could exist next year. City blocks of large scale housing are now more sparse clumps of bungalows; elaborate Sino-Japanese modernism is plain modernism.


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Sugoroku. [Kagayaku Nihon Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Seugaku Sophomore, Ist January, 1938 (Showa 13). Colour printed broadside 53x79cm, folded as issued. Minor signs of use, one short marginal tear. Au$350

The New Year treat from the magazine Seugaku Sophomore (for the second year of primary school) and come 1938 the fun is gone. Our globe trotting young couple from earlier sugoroku look frighteningly serene and the world, and war, and life, is no longer a riotous cartoon. When 'Shining Japan' - Kagayaku Nihon, the name of this game - became a motto for war in Asia I'm not sure.
The Shining Japan Exposition - a military display no matter how many white doves fluttered over the battleships - was in 1936 and Japan was long a crusader fighting for Pan-Asian peace, liberated from colonialism. The name surfaces still, used by ultra nationalists in Japan.


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Exhibition - Toyama 1936. [Toyamashi Shusai Nichiman Sangyo Daihakurankai Kyosankai Shi]. Toyama 1938 (Showa 13). 23x16cm publisher's cloth and card box; numerous photo illustrations, colour plates, folding plans and elevations. A nice copy. Au$650

The official report on the 1936 Japan-Manchuria Great Industrial Exhibition. Though blemished by too many portraits of personages, this is still an excellent record of thirties Japanese expo architecture and design with coloured pictures of posters, advertising, tickets and so on, plans and elevations of buildings, lighting, and photo views. There is also the obligatory Hatsusaburo colour folding birds-eye panorama.
Worldcat finds two copies outside Japan, both in California.


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Sawai Ichisaburo. - [Sugoroku - Dai Toa Kyoeiken Meguri]. Tokyo, Ie no Hikari 1944 (Showa 19). Colour broadside 38x53cm. Natural browning of the paper, a few pinholes, rather good. Au$400

This tour of the Great East Asia Mutual Prosperity Zone was the new year gift from the magazine Ie no Hikari. Despite the obvious bite into production quality by the end of 1943 and the disappearance of Japanese possessions further east than the western side of Papua New Guinea we, or rather children, could see that Japan was still a much loved friend throughout Asia.
Worldcat finds two copies, one in Australia and one in Singapore, but not the Harvard Yenching copy.


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