Japan, Described and Illustrated
by the Japanese - "Yedo Edition" - 1897
Brinkley, Frank (Captain) et. al.

Covers

 

Covers - Books Standing

 

Edition ("Yedo") Plate
Inside Front Cover of Volume 1

 
Brinkley, Frank (Captain):
Japan, Described and Illustrated by the Japanese, Written By Eminent Japanese Authorities and Scholars, Boston & Tokyo, J.B. Millet Company, 1897, 10 volume set designated "Yedo Edition" limited to 1,000 numbered copies, 12 1 1/2 x 15+ in, silk covers, 10 color flower collotypes by K. Ogawa, 30 hand colored albumen photographs, numerous black and white text illustrations/photographs, 422 pp (382 pp of text + 40 full plates). The books are organized into specific topics, covering Japanese festivals, history, customs, medieval Japan etc. Each book has a narrative text, text illustrations, a color flower collotype by K. Ogawa and three 8" x 10 1/2" hand colored albumen photographs. This set is renowned for its superb photographic content.

The work is a guide to the Japanese and 19th Century Japan in general. It is a very complete introspective view to that culture before the results of Western influence were manifest. Considered by many to be one of the finest primary visual sources on Japan before her leap towards modernization, this set is a superb photographic essay and statement of what Japan looked before modernization. It is a broad and wonderful view of travel in the main and obscure places, daily activities and photos of people engaged in the toil of trades, farming, commence and household activities. Truly a complete view to the Japanese with essays by their scholars in English.

Technically speaking, these books are often classified as an "19th Century American Color Illustrated" books. While the collotypes and hand colored albumen photographs were imported from Japan, the books were printed, assembled and distributed in the United States.

Francis Brinkley (1841 - 1912 Tokyo), an Englishman and Japanophile originally came to Japan in 1867 as gunnery instructor. He later went into English education and journalism. Okakura Tenshin, who was the principal of Tokyo Art School (the present Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music), also contributed to this set.

Each volume begins with a full-page classic color collotype plate of a flower by the famous Japanese photographer Kazumasa Ogawa.

Example of Ogawa Flower Photograph

Covers are colored brocade cloth with beveled edges and tied with thick cord stitching which firmly binds the contents in traditional Japanese manner.

Composite Covers/Flowers/Albumen Photos

 
Table of contents of each volume, plus a listing of the photographs.

  1. Volume I. Covers - Ferns (pages 1~34)
    • Japan-The Empire, Its Size, Buildings, Cities and Scenery.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • A Group of Japanese Nobles and Dignitaries
      • Winter Scene in Yokohama
      • Street in Enoshima
      • Mount Fuji as Seen From Kashiwabara - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Nagara-Gawa Bridge after Great Earthquake in 1891
      • An Informal Visit
      • Lantern Makers
      • A Fair Student
      • The Bronze Buddha at Kamakura - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Foot Bridge Across the Miyanoshita River
      • Coopers at Work
      • Kago Bearers
      • Fuji-ya at Miyanoshita
      • A Buddhist Funeral
      • A Dealer in Inlaid Woodenware
      • Tea House "Ebisuya," Enoshima
      • Jinrikishas - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Untitled drawing with Mt Fuki in the background
    • The Early Japanese and Their History.
      Pictures include:
      • Men-Daki or "Female Fall" at Kobe
      • Giant Pine Tree at Karasaki
      • An Actor of Today
      • A Group of Naval Officers

  2. Volume II: Flowers with gilt on dark red backgournd (pages 35~74)
    • The Early Japanese and Their History (Concluded)
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • A Japanese Wrestler (Sumo Wrestler)
      • Geisha Playing Samisen
      • Garden of Lord Horita in Tokyo
      • A Japanese Tea House
      • Bird's-Eye View of Yokosuka
      • Street Vendor of Flowers - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Kiyomizo Temple, Kyoto
      • Geisha Giving Entertainment
      • Torii at Miyajima
      • Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto
      • Cave Dweller at Dogashima
      • Fishermaidens - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Custom House at Yokohama
    • The Story of the forty-seven Ronins
      Pictures include:
      • A Japanese Waterfall
      • Dancing Girls
      • A Samurai
      • Geisha playing Koto
      • Bridge at Arashiyama near Kyoto - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Tub Maker
      • A Japanese Cemetry
      • Vendor of Brooms
      • An Afternoon Nap
      • Playing Hop Scotch

  3. Volume III: Covers - Figures, including Lady Carrying Child (pages 75~112)
    • Establishment of the Tokugawa Dynasty and Japan's Relations with the Orient in the Early Ages of the Christian Era.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • Interior Gallery of the Chion-in Temple at Kyoto
      • A Mountain Chair
      • A Change of Domicile
      • A Country Road
      • Sacred Bridge at Nikko - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Stone Steps at Nikko
      • Dancing Girls
      • A Family Picnic
      • Japanese Carpenters at Work
      • View from Gallery of Hotel Yaami at Kyoto
      • Washing Kimonos
      • Interior of Nobleman's Palace - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • A Family Group
      • Ploughing a Rice Field
      • Untitled drawing of sun/moon and landscape
    • Japan's Debt to Continental Neighbors in Early Eras.
      Pictures include:
      • Baskets and Wooden-Ware for Sale Here
      • A Tea-House Restaurant in Kyoto - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Boys Playing Kotoro
      • Japanese Actors
      • Tea House on the Bluff, Yokohama
      • Kago Bearers

  4. Volume IV: Covers - Flowers and Leaves (pages 113~152)
    • Mediaeval Japan.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • Fishermen Launching Their Boat
      • A Japanese Interior
      • Torii in Temple Grounds
      • Nagoya Castle
      • BridgeWrecked by an Earthquake
      • A Group of Boys and Girls - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Imperial Hotel in Tokyo
      • Amma-san, or Blind Shampooer
      • A Street in the Foreign Settlement of Yokohama
      • Bridge over the Sumida River, Tokyo
      • Grocery and Fruit Shop - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Buddhist Priests
      • Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights
      • A Family Group
      • Dancing Girls
      • Courtyard of Grand Hotel at Yokohama
    • Yoshitsune, Genghis and the Mongol Invasion.
      Pictures include:
      • Negishi at Yokohama
      • A Geisha - hand colored albumen print 8 "x 10 "
      • Tattooed Man
      • Playing Go
      • Mendicant Priests
      • A Typical Street Scene
      • A Japanese Samurai
      • Grocery Shop

  5. Volume V: Covers - Herons/cranes and clouds (pages 153~190).
    • Yoshitsune, Genghis and the Mongol Invasion.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • A Japanese Barber
      • Winter Scene in Yokohama
      • Threshing Grain
      • Bamboo Grove near Kyoto - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Spinning Cotton
      • Room in Tea House at Yumoto
      • Eating Noodles
    • Creeds and Castes.
      Pictures include:
      • Toy Makers
      • A Curbstone Merchant
      • Japanese Types (Two Young Ladies)
      • Wine Shop
      • Wrestlers - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 " Sumo Wrestlers
      • Vendor of Amisake
      • Honcho Dori, Yokohama
      • Exterior Gallery of Japanese Temple
      • Railway station at Yokohama
      • Miogi Mountain
      • Teaching Songs - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Boat Bridge at Nakasendo
      • Niomon Iyemitsu Temple at Nikko
      • Shotoyen Garden, Sakawa Village, Tokaido
      • Hafuya Hotel, Hakone
      • Wayside Resting Place

  6. Volume VI: Covers - Ferns with Gilt (pages 191~230)
    • Religion and Rites.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • A Lotus Garden
      • Ox Cart
      • Creek-Side Yokohama
      • Sea Cave at Enoshima
      • Tea-pickers - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Futu-Ara Temple, Nikko
      • Carpenters at Work
      • Stone Torii, Suwa Temple, Nagasaki
      • Oji Tea House, Tokyo
      • Preparing a Dinner
      • Weighing Tea
      • Tattooed Postman - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
    • Superstitions and Divination. Pictures include:
      • Samurai in Armor
      • Wrecked by an Earthquake
      • Kiga Road near Miyanoshita
      • Nakajima, Nagasaki
      • Peasant Woman Carrying Fagots
      • Wisteria at Kameido Temple, Tokyo - hand colored albumen print 8 X 10 "
      • Sanmai Bashi Tea House
      • Learning to Write
      • En Deshabille
      • Fencing
      • Japanese Types (Young Ladies)

  7. Volume VII - Covers - Flowers and Stalks with gilt (pages 231~269)
    • Festivals.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • A Geisha Playing Samisen
      • Winter Costume
      • Village Water-Wheel
      • Graveyard Near Kyoto
      • Cottage Garden at Kamakura - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Temple Gate, Shiba Park, Tokyo
      • Bronze Lantern from Korea and Candelabrum from Holland
      • Fujiyama from Numigawa
      • Interior of One of the Largest Temples, Nikko
    • Observances and Pastimes. Pictures include:
      • Tea-House on the Lake at Nara Park
      • The One Hundred Steps at Yokohama - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "-(Notation states "teahouse occupied by Commodore Perry in 1853-4, when the American expedition forced Japan to open her ports to the outside world.")
      • Village of Oji, One of Suburbs of Tokyo
      • Making a Toilet
      • Stone Nasin and Nronze Dragon at Mitake
      • Big Bronze Bell at Kyoto
      • Pine Grove Near the Sea-Shore
      • a Buddhist Priest
      • A Koto Player - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Garden at Daimichido
      • Waitress in Tea-House
      • a Picturesque Stone Bridge
      • Side View of Bronze Buddha at Kamakura
      • The Beach at Tomioka

  8. Volume IX - Covers - Men, Women, Children and Dogs (pages 269~308)
    • Observances and Pastimes, concluded.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • Out-of-Door Music, Nara
      • Shuzenji Village, Province of Idzu
      • Geishas of the Younger Class
      • Tonosawa in the Hakoke District near Yumoto
      • Private Residence on the Bluff at Yokohama
      • The Nikko Road - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 " - An ancient avenue twenty miles in length leading from Utsunomiya to Nikko, both sides lined by lofty cryptomerias
      • The Great Bronze Bell at Nara
      • Dancing Girls
      • Shinto Priests Soliciting Alms
      • Actors in the Ancient Dance Kagura
      • Writing a Letter - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • An orchestra for Geisha Dancing
      • Interior of Asakusa Temple, Tokyo
      • A Wrestling Match
      • Steps and Gate Leading to the Temple Inside the Main Entrance at Shiba Park, Tokyo
      • An "Ono" Dancer in Costume
      • Steet Ccene in Yokohama
      • A Funeral Procession - hand colored albumen print 8" x 10 "
      • Village Stream in Midsummer
      • Haruna Lake, above Ikao
    • Japan's Commercial and Political Intercourse with Foreign Countries.
      Pictures include:
      • Every-day Costumes of the Better Class
      • Bronze Gate and Tomb, Shiba Park, Tokyo
      • Funeral Service in a Shinto Temple
      • Method of Dressing the Hair (for Men) Before the Revolution of 1867

  9. Volume IX - Covers - Floweres with gold gilt (pages 309~349)
    • Japan's Commercial and Political Intercourse with Foreign Countries, concluded.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • Pounding Rice,
      • Rice Cutting in the Fields Near Omori, Between Tokyo and Yokohama
      • Teaching Young Girls to Write
      • House cleaning,
      • Street in the Yoshiwara, Tokyo
      • Receiving a Guest - hand colored albumen print 8"x10 "
      • Wooden Bridge at Iwakuni
      • A Lunch Party
      • Result of an earthquake at Nagoya
      • Hakone Lake & Village, with Emperor's Palace in the Distance
      • Arranging Flowers - colored albumen print 8"x10 "
      • Fujiya Hotel at Miyanoshita
      • Street Singer
      • A Farmer and Wife Weighing and Reeling Silk
      • Flooding an Iris Garden (Near Tokyo) by Man Power
      • Bund (Street Following the Shore) at Kobe
      • Workmen's Holiday - colored albumen print 8"x10 "
      • Hotel Metropole, Tsukiju, Tokyo
      • Lunch Stand in a Public Park
      • Village of Kiga, Near Myonoshita
      • Group of Children
      • Gathering Cocoons
      • Reeling Silk into Large Skeins for the Market

  10. Volume X: Covers - Cranes (red) and Clouds (pages 347~382)
    • The Attitude of Japan Toward Foreign Residents-Japanese Finance, concluded.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • Reeling Silk
      • Sorting and Sifting Tea Outside the Go-Down (Storehouse)
      • Stone Bridge in the Mito Garden, Tokyo
      • Great Bell at Chion-In Temple, Kyoto - hand-colored albumen print 8"x10 " - Bellcast in 1633, weighs 74 tons, 11 feet in height
      • Mortuary Bronze Lanterns in Temple Enclosure at Shiba Park, Tokyo
      • Water-carrier Filling his Pails at a Well in Kyoto Side Street
      • Temple Bell at Kawasaki
      • Rocks and Shore below Kamakura
      • Ceremony on Arrival and Departure of a Guest
    • Modern Japan in Brief.
      Pictures include:
      • Ogawa Flower Collotype
      • Small Summer Hotel at Kanazawa
      • Rest-house on Noge Hill above Yokohama in Cherry-blossom Time
      • Fujiyama from Kamado near Gotenba, Late in the Fall
      • Theatrical Performance - hand-colored albumen print 8"x10 "
      • Playing Blindman's Buff in Side Street Leading to the Moat in Tokyo
      • Bronze Horse at Sua Temple, Nagasaki
      • Graves of the Forty-Seven Ronins
      • Stone Arch on Mitake-Yama, Usually Called Ontake
      • Rear of an Ordinary Dwelling
      • On the beach at Enoshima, at Low Tide
      • Mangwanji Temple at Nikko - hand-colored albumen print 8"x10 "
      • Type of the Geisha Class
      • View of Katsura River Near Arashiyama
      • The Hot Springs at Atami, One of the Most Popular Watering-Places
Chapters (Total of 15)
  1. The Empire; its Size, Buildings, Cities and Scenery.

  2. The Early Japanese and Their History.

    The Early Japanese and Their History (Concluded).

  3. The Story of the Forty-seven Ronins.

  4. Establishment of the Tokugawa Dynasty, and Japan's Relations with the Orient in the Early Ages of the Christian Era.

  5. Japan's Debt to Continental Neighbors in Early Eras

  6. Mediaeval Japan.

  7. Yoshitsune, Genghis and the Mongol Invasion.

    Yoshitsune, Genghis and the Mongol Invasion (Concluded).

  8. Creed and Castes.

  9. Religion and Rites.

  10. Superstitions and Divination.

  11. Festivals.

  12. Observances and Pastimes.

    Observances and Pastimes (Concluded).

  13. Japan's Commercial and Political Intercourse with Foreign Countries.

    Japan's Commercial and Political Intercourse with Foreign Countries (Concluded).

  14. The Attitude of Japan Toward Foreign Residents. Japanese Finance.

    The Attitude of Japan Toward Foreign Residents. Japanese Finance (Concluded).

  15. Modern Japan in Brief.

 

General Comments Regarding the Brinkley Book Sets.

  • Regular and Deluxe Formats. The set was issued in two basic formats described below.

    Regular/standard format editions normally have 10 volumes containing 10 Kazumasa Ogawa color collotypes of flowers (frontispiece to each volume) and 30 hand colored albumen photographs tipped to plate (3 per volume). They also have 200+ text illustrations which are half-tone black and white and printed directly on the page. The set was also issued as a 15 section series with decorative card wraps. This is a variant of the standard 10 volume set. It does contain 5 more Ogawa color collotypes of flowers and lithographic replicas of the silk screens.

    Deluxe format editions of this series contain the same 10 Ogawa color collotypes of flowers (frontispiece to each volume) and 60 hand colored plates (6 per volume - image 8 x 10 inch generally). Thirty of the plates are identical to those found in the 10 volume series and 30 are different. In addition, the text illustrations (image 3 1/2 x 5 in) in the deluxe format volumes, of which there are 200, are also hand colored tipped in albumen photographs with captions printed on the page directly below the illustration. The collotypes and albumen photographs plates are mounted on colored paper and have a colored mat affixed to the page. The deluxe editions also have 10 color/xylograph plates reproducing Japanese Paintings and some editions contain 10 (20) color plates with actual Japanese art work (ie paintings on silk, watercolors, color woodblocks, mono-color stencil prints on silk as used in printing fabrics).

     

  • Various Editions/Number of Sets Produced. There were numerous editions of both standard and deluxe format editions. Those I am aware of can be found listed here. I have accounted for 1,425 deluxe/limited edition book sets (12 different editions) and there probably were more. For standard or regular editions I have accounted for 3,075+ sets across 4 different edition. Further there is no quantity stated for the 15 section set.

    Sebastian Dobson in Art & Artifice, Japanese Photographs of the Meiji Era, states:

    During the years of 1897 and 1898, the work was published in various limited editions, and for fourteen of the sixteen editions produced we know that 151,500 large-format photographs and 254,000 small-format photographs were hand-colored and later tipped into 37,750 individual volumes. (at page 33-34) (Author's footnote refers to Denise Bethel, "The J.B. Millet Company's Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese," Image, volume 34, numbers 1-2 (1991): 3-32)

    Since the small-format photographs were only placed in deluxe edition sets and each set would have 200 of them, that would mean 1,270 sets of deluxe editions with 10 volumes each (245,000/200). This is relatively close to my accounting of 1,425 sets. Using the Bethel number of total large plates (151,500), I calculate a total of 2,510 standard editions (151,500-85,500 [large plates in deluxe editions = 60 per set x 1,425 sets = 85,500] = 66,000/30 [30 large plates in regular editions] = 2,200 sets of standard/regular editions). I have accounted for 3,075 sets, a third more than the quoted number 151,500 would support. The figure of large format plates was probably more like 175,000 - 200,000.

  • Covers/Bindings. In the 10 volume sets the cover are decorative cloth (linen) over heavy boards. Each volume in a set has matching decorative patterns but different color schemes. The standard edition sets have pasted on titles while the deluxe edition sets have the title printed on the cloth. All 10 volume sets have cord ties. The cord ties are decorative only and not essential for holding the books together. Internally, the pages are firmly bound together at the inside margins with staples, string and glue. The covers on the 15 section set are decorative card stock with the same logo and color.

  • Source of Color Albumen Photographs. Terry Bennett, in his book Early Japanese Images, identifies Kozaburo Tamamura as the source of the colored albumen photographs used in these book sets. He states that Tamamura provided 180,000 photographs to a dealer in Boston which were "undoubtedly" provided for the Brinkley books (see page 52). Tamamura was a famous photographer and serviced the tourist souvenir photograph trade in Japan as well as the export trade. It is clear that many of the photographs supplied were from his inventory. However, it is also clear that he used photographs taken by other famous Japanese photographers. Many of the albumen photographs were from Kazumasa Ogawa, who also provided the color flower collotypes for the books. Notice the similarity between the Brinkley color albumen photograph titled "A Tokyo Beauty" (Volume III, "De luxe" Edition) and a K. Ogawa collotype from Celebrated Geysha of Tokyo published ca 1892. For more information on the Geysha book, click here.


    The problem with attributing the photographs to a particular photographer is the lack of credits on the photographs or in the books.

  • Text Illustrations. The text illustrations in the standard format editions (black and white halftone printed directly on the page) and those in the deluxe edition formats (tipped in colored albumen photographs) are not the same. Basically, a different set of the 200+ in text illustrations was used in the two formats. Since neither set of text illustrations actually depicted the associated text, it really does seem to matter. It my opinion, they were pretty much added at random to enhance the visual appearance of the books.

  • American Color Illustrated Book. Technically speaking, these books are often classified as an "19th century American color illustrated" books. While the collotypes and hand colored albumen photographs were imported from Japan, the books were printed, assembled and distributed in the United States.

  • Illustrated Discussions of Various Sets on this site.

    •  10 Volume "Edition De Luxe" deluxe type edition is here.
    •  10 Volume "Yedo" standard type edition is here.
    •  15 Section card stock cover set is here.
    •  Composite view of full page collotypes and albumen photographs in the standard and deluxe sets here.
    •  Individual K. Ogawa color flower collotypes marketed by Millet Co. here.

  • Related Pictorial Arts Set Published in 1901/2.

    •  The Art of Japan, Pictorial Art, Volume 1, Deluxe Edition here.

Covers from Other Editions

Cover from the 1897 - 15 Section (Paper Wraps) Set

 
Covers from the 1897 - 10 Volume - Memorial Edition



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