~~Book 1893120704 ~~

History of the Empire of Japan
Imperial Japanese Commission of the
World's Columbian Exposition, 1893

 
Condition. The book is in Very Good+ condition (Near Fine). The covers are clean and the binding is strong. The pages are clean and free of writing, stains or foxing. The only fault is one plates ("Scene in the House of One of the Nobles" (color woodblock, double page) after page 126) is slightly mismounted and it extends below the bottom edge (pic here). Normally this book is found in Good condition or rebound. The original state binding did not hold up well. The colophon in this book indicates a price of 10 yen. That means it is a deluxe edition. The regular edition indicates a price of 3 yen.

 
Takatsu Kuwasaburo et. al.
Brinkley, F. (translator):
History of the Empire of Japan, Compiled and Translated for the Imperial Japanese Commission of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U.S.A., 1893, Tokyo, published by the Dai Nippon Tosho Kabushiki Kwaisha, by order of the Department of Education, Tokyo, printed at the "Japan Mail" Office, Yokohama, 1893, 8vo (6 1/2 x 9 1/2 in - 16.6 x 24 cm), plain gray silk covered boards, front board with title in black in Japanese and English and gilt decoration (clouds), back board has blindstamped illustration, spine covered in silk with decorative design of birds and stars, cover edges beveled, decorative endpapers, decorative (not actually a part of the books binding) four hole string ties top and bottom on front and back boards, 1 color foldout map, 2 plans, 5 black and white collotype double page plates by K. Ogawa, 5 color double page woodblock plates, 18 black and white double page woodblock plates, 11 black and white single page woodblock plates, table of contents (I-VI), preface (I-VI), 428 pp. An important 19th century history of Japan produced under the authority of an Imperial commission. This book was "...intended for the use of visitors to the Japanese Section of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, U.S.A, 1893."

Author's include Takatsu Kuwasaburo, Mikami Sanji, Isoda Masaru, Shigeno Yasuyori, Hoshino Hisashi, all members of the Committee of Historiographical Compilation in the Imperial University. Translated into English by Captain F. Brinkley, editor of the Japan Mail.

The book has nine chapters.

  1. History of Remote Antiquity
  2. From Emperor Jimmu to Taikwa Reformation
  3. From Taikwa Reformation to the Heian Era
  4. The Kamakura Era
  5. Emperors Reigning Alternately, Genko War, the Northern and Southern Dynsasties
  6. The Muromachi Epoch
  7. Restoration of Domestic Tranquillity
  8. Administration of the Edo Shoguns (longest chapter, 80 pp)
  9. Restoration of Administrative Power to the Sovereign

This is an exceptional book. The content was prepared and reviewed by leading scholars of Japanese history. It was translated into English by the famous F. Brinkley who a few years later would produce his own important set (Japan Described and Illustrated) on Japan. The book was produced with high quality standards. It is printed on high quality paper. Likewise the plates are printed on even higher quality paper. Double plates are tipped to linen and that is bound into the book. The book well illustrated with collotype plates by the noted Japanese photographer and printer, K. (Kazumasa) Ogawa as well as a map, 2 plans and 29 woodblock plates (including 5 that are double page and in color). Clearly the Commission desired that Japan be represented well at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 through this book.

The copy I have examined bore a paste on label with a number (2416) inside the back cover. I presume these labels indicate the number of the volume in the production run. This has not been established however.

Wenckstern notes the book was issued in regular and deluxe editions. His description follows:

History [Official] of the Empire of Japan. Compiled and translated for the Imperial Japanese Commission of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1893 by the "Dai Nippon Tosho Kabushlkl Kwaisha" (translator—Captain Brinkley), by order of the Department of Education, Tokyo. With 36 plates, some of which are in colours and collotype, and a map, vi and 428 pp, text, 8vo., Tokyo, 1893. The illustrations are printed on Japanese paper. An edition de luxe on Japanese paper with extra plates was also issued. (Bibliography of the Japanese Empire - 1894-1906, here)

I have not personally examined a regular edition. If the Wenckstern description of that book is correct it has five less plates (36 vs 41) than the book described here. I believe that the book discussed on this page is a deluxe edition as it has far more than the 36 plates noted in the regular edition. This book shows a price of 10 yen on the colophon.

Another edition (perhaps the edition Wenckstern notes) has been reported to me. It has no spine covering or decorative endpapers. The collotype plates are not double page as in this book. Except for the collotype plates it has the map and same plates as this book. While the collotype images are the same, they are printed on single sheets. Four of the five collotype images are printed on two single (two 3 x 4 inch images per sheet). The fifth image (4 x 6 3/4 inch) is printed on a single sheet. The colophon (see below) for that books shows a price of 3 yen.

 
Title Page:

The 5 Black and White Double Page Collotype Plates by K. Ogawa:

Lettering:

 
The 5 Color Double Page Woodblock Plates:

 
Examples of the Black and White Double Page Woodblock Plates:

 
Examples of the Black and White Single Page Woodblock Plates:

 
Decorative Endpapers (front and back pastedowns and adjacent pages).
This book does not have the bookseller labels.

 
Japanese Language Colophon at the Rear (Deluxe Edition)

Printed: Meiji 26 (1893).10.5
Published: Meiji 26 (1893).10.6
Price: 10 yen (last column of chararacters at bottom left)

 
Japanese Language Colophon at the Rear (Probably a Regular Edition)

Printed: Meiji 26 (1893).10.5
Published: Meiji 26 (1893).10.6
Price: 3 yen (last column of chararacters at bottom left)
[Above colophon image courtesy of Gary Ono, in memory of his
grandparents, Sueyichi and Owai Okamura of San Francisco]

 

Summary of Illustrations/Plates (Deluxe Edition)

 
Table of Plates

    1 Map - Color:
  1. Japan in Provinces (color, multifold, 3 folds out, 1 fold up, image 16 1/2 x 18 in - 42.5 x 45 cm), with inserts to Loo Choo Islands and Yezo, after page vi
  2. 2 Plans - Black and White:

  3. Plan of the "Heian-kyo" (b&w, 1 fold out 1 fold up, plate 10 x 14 in - 25 x 35 cm), after page 104
  4. Plan of Cho, Bo & Ho (b&w, double page), after page 104
  5. 5 Collotypes - Double Page, Black & White:

  6. View of Part of Matsushima (b&w collotype, double page, K. Ogawa), after page 14
  7. Mount Fuji seen from Tagonoura (b&w collotype, double page, K. Ogawa), after page 14
  8. View of the Shrine at Itsukushima (Miyajima) (b&w collotype, double page, K. Ogawa), after page 16
  9. General View of Torii and Five Storied Pagoda at Nikko (b&w collotype, double page, K. Ogawa), after page 16
  10. Interior of the Haiden of Iyeyasu's Shrine, Nikko (b&w collotype, double page, K. Ogawa), after page 16
  11. 5 Color Woodblocks (All Double Page):

  12. The River Oi (color woodblock, double page), after page 126
  13. Scene in the House of One of the Nobles (color woodblock, double page) after page 126
  14. Battle at the Taikan Gate (color woodblock, double page), after page 148
  15. The Procession of Feudal Lords (color woodblock, double page), after page 340
  16. A Picnic on the Asuka Hill in the Flowery Season (color woodblock, double page), after page 342
  17. 29 Black and White Woodblocks (18 Double Page, 11 Single Page):

  18. Ancient Costumes (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 28
  19. Weapons of War, etc (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 28
  20. Image of Price Shotoku (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 48
  21. The Buddhist Temple Horyu (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 94
  22. Image of the Emperor Kwammu (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 102
  23. The Hall "Taikyokuten" (b&w woodblock, double page) after page 106
  24. Gosaiye (ceremony of worshipping the Imperial ancestors), (b&w woodblock, double page) after page 110
  25. The Hachiman Shrine at Iwashimizu (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 110
  26. Image of Ho-o Uda (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 118
  27. The Life of Commoners (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 130
  28. Shoei (sacredotal soldiers) (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 144
  29. The Coin Called Wadokaichin (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 162
  30. Image of Yoritomo (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 164
  31. The Invasions by the Mongol Tartars (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 186
  32. Yabusame (shooting on horseback) (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 190
  33. Swordsmith (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 200
  34. Helmets by Myochin (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 200
  35. The Buddhist Temple Kencho (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 202
  36. Ni-o by Unkei (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 202
  37. Image of the Emperor Godaigo (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 210
  38. The Buddhist Temple Kinkakuji (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 234
  39. Vessels of the Higashiyama Period (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 252
  40. The Castle at Nagoya (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 268
  41. Image of Hideyoshi (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 270
  42. The Expedition against Corea (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 280
  43. Image of Iyeyasu (b&w woodblock, single page), after page 286
  44. Sueyoshi-bune a merchant ship (b&w woodblock, double page), after page 306
  45. The Harakiri/An Attack for Revenge (b&w woodblock, double page) after page 336
  46. The Priest Benkei on a Bridge (scene in a No dance) (b&w woodblock, double page) after page 342

For more information on K. Ogawa, click here.

 


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