Book Set 1933080501 ~~

Dr. Kuroda's Birds in Life Colours

By Dr. Nagamichi Kuroda
3 Volumes, 1933-5


Condition. The books are in Very Good condition. The head and foot of all spines is heavily worn. The spine covering of Volume 3 is a darker shade than that on Volumes 1 & 2. On Volume 3, the cloth on the front board is starting to pull up in spots where it meets the spine covering. There are marginal smudges on approximately 5 plates. A number of pages have smudges on the back which probably were created during the printing process. None of the smudges impact on the images on the plates and the plates and text are otherwise clean and free of faults. The title page on each volume has the following inscription signed by the author: "To. Mrs. Frank E. Lowe wife of Maj. General Frank E. Lowe, U.S. Army, Metabegwandi, Harrison, Maine, Nagamichi Kuroda." Volume 1 has a booksellers label (Inoue Book Store, Tokyo) pasted over another label and there is evidence that under these a label has been removed. Volumes 1 & 2 have a red seal on the title page which is identified by a rice paper type paste-on as the "Seal of the Iwasaki Library." The same seal is found at one or two places at the rear of Volumes 1 and 2 on pages following the plates. The author's title and the name of the publisher are translated into English on rice paper type paste-ons on the title page directly below the Japanese script. Volume 3 has a seal at the upper right of the title page that has been obliterated with blue ink. The same seal (not obliterated but indistinct is found on the back of the title page and on the page that follows. Volume 3 does not contain the Iwasaki Library seal. Aside from these seals, the books have no other library type treatments. The slip cases are in Good condition. They have heavy wear and staining but they are solid with no separation.

Kuroda, Dr. Nagamichi:
Dr. Kuroda's Birds in Life Colours, Japanese Title: Chorui Genshoku dai Zusetsu - Kuroda Nagamichi-cho, published by Shukyosha Shoin, Tokyo, 3 volumes with heavy cardboard slip cases, Volume 1 - Showa 8 (1933), Volumes 2 - Showa 9 (1934), Volume 3 - Showa 10 (1935), 4to (9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in 23.7 x 31.5 cm), half morocco, blindstamped vignettes on front board with gilt lettering in English, gilt lettering (English and Japanese) and decoration on the spines, top edge dyed, tissue guard protected title pages in Japanese and English, text in Japanese script (hiragana & kanji) but often accompanied by corresponding Latin and English script, 1092 different birds, catalogued, described and illustrated on 155 color plates (color halftone). Through a comprehensive table of contents and three different indices, the birds found in each volume are extensively cross referenced and indexed.

Title Pages: Each volume contains a tissue guard protected title page in Japanese and English. The full English title is "Dr. Kuroda's Birds in Life Color" and the Japanese title is "Chorui Genshoku dai Zusetsu - Kuroda Nagamichi-cho." The Japanese text indicates Dr. Kuroda held the title of "Master of the Hunt, Imperial Household Ministry, Doctor of Science."

Table of Contents: All three volume start with a comprehensive table of contents. Each bird is assigned a number. This is followed by the Japanese name of the bird in hiragana script and then the name in kanji (with some hiragana) script. Finally the plate number is listed.

Opening Remarks in Volume 1. Volume 1 has two pages of text in Japanese. The first page is dated October of 1933 (Showa 8)

Annotated Bird Sketch in Volume 1. Volume 1 contains a one page sketch of a bird with areas numbered and described/named in Japanese (kanji) and English. A total of 45 areas on the body are identified and assigned numbers. In an insert sketch of the wing, an additional 7 points on the bird's wing are numbered and described. These listing are apparently intended to aid the reader in understanding the text sections on the birds that follow.

Color Plates. The three volume set contains a total of 155 halftone color plates printed on glossy paper. Each bird that is catalogued is assigned a number (1~1092) and the picture of the bird has corresponding number adjacent to the image and an indication of the relative size of the actual bird to the image (ie 2/3, 3/5 etc). At the foot of the plate the name of the bird is given in Japanese. Facing each of the 155 plates is a text page with short numbered descriptions of the birds depicted on the adjacent plate. The text is in Japanese but the Latin name of the bird is given. Often the English common name of the bird is given and sometimes the locale where it is found, particularly if not Japan.

Indices (3) in Each Volume. Each volume has three comprehensive alphabetical indices at the back. These are:

  1. Indexed by Japanese name (both hiragana & kanji scripts) with actual indexing being in hiragana.
  2. Indexed by the Latin script name of the bird with the hiragana (occasionally kanji) name also provided.
  3. Indexed by the English script name of the bird with the hiragana name also provided.

Printings. According to the colophons in these three volumes, the set was first printed and distributed over a two year period. Volume 1 in 1933 (Showa 8) followed by Volumes 2 & 3 in 1934 (Showa 9). Volume 3 was reprinted in 1935 (Showa 10). It is possible the entire set was reprinted that year. I have seen the set reported with a printing date of 1936 (Showa 11). It appears possible that sets with books ranging from 1933 through 1936 are likely. The title pages are not dated and there are no English language dates in the books that I have examined. The colophons are at the back of each volume and they are entirely in Japanese. Because of the problem of reading Japanese numbers and translating dates, the actual dates of books in these sets that are found in published listings may not be reliable.

Volumes 2 and 3 both have a page of Japanese text following the title page and before the table of contents.


Plates & Birds in Each Volume


Title Pages.

     Volume 1.

     Volume 2.

     Volume 3.


    Volume 1 -  Showa 8 (1933)
           Printed: Showa 8.10.20
           Distributed: Showa 8.10.30

    Volume 2 - Showa 9 (1934)
           Printed: Showa 9.1.9
           Distributed: Showa 9.1.11

    Volume 3 - Showa 10 (1935) Reprint
           1st Edition Printed: Showa 9.3.20
           1st Edition Distributed: Showa 9.3.31
           Reprinted: Showa 10.1.25


Halftone Color Plates, Close-up.
 The plates are printed on glossy paper.


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