Illustrations of Japanese Life

First Edition, 1896
Reproduced by K. by K. Ogawa
Descriptions by S. Takashima
Hand-colored Collotypes (12) on Crepe Paper

[Focus on Women]


Ogawa, K.
Takashima, S (descriptions):
Illustrations of Japanese Life, Tokyo, K. Ogawa, descriptions by S. Takashima, Meiji 29 (1896), 1st Edition, 8vo (7 1/2 x 10 1/4 in - 19.3 x 25.9 cm), crepe paper, 12 hand colored collotypes, tied with purple twisted silk cords, 7 folded leaves with stiffener paper in between, the front and back cover are not folded pages, 14 pages in total (covers not counted). This is one in a series of collotype books with this same title published by K. Ogawa.

In the four part series of books with this title, this is the only book where the illustrations are in a vertical format (height exceeds width). This format is best for presenting posed full body/standing portraits of individual people and that is the nature of almost all the images in the book. The other three books are in the horizontal format and contain images which are more in the nature of groups of people, views and scenes.

The first folded page has the Title Page (front) and Preface (back). The six other folded pages have a photographic image, reproduced in collotype, front and back. The focus of this book is customs and ceremonies of Japan with the focus on activities of women. The photographs include, 1) The "Geisha" (Singing Girl). [In Later Books Captioned "The 'Suwari-Odori.' (A Dancing)], 2) Backyard of a Tea House, 3)"Sayonara!" (Good-Bye), 4) Venturing Out in the Rain, 5) Letter Writing, 6) Morning Toilet, 7) The Cherry, 8) The "Amma" (Shampooer)*, 9) The "Shiohi" (Fishing on the Dry Bed)*, 10) Buddhist Priests Conspicuous, 11) The "Kamishimo" (The Ancient Ceremonial Dress)* and 12) Japanese Maiden*. While the picture areas vary slightly, the norm is 7 x 5 1/2 in - 17.8 x 13.4 cm. The collotypes are all printed against a light yellow background. This is not the case with later editions and even some versions of the first editions. On later editions the front and back covers were also folded pages which is not the case with this first edition. The plates designated with an "*" contain different images from those found in later editions of this book. In addition, a book with the first edition colophon has been examined which has approcimately three different images from those shown below.

In the preface, K. Ogawa states:

I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to Messrs. Tamamura and S. Kajima, as well as Prof. Burton, for several of the plates in this volume.

Many editions of these books were published and can be identified by the Japanese colophons inside the back cover. Some of the later editions did not contain an identical set of images.

I am aware of an edition of this book with the 1st edition colophon which states "Vol. 1." on the front cover. However, a volume number is not stated on the title page.

Information on other editions:

Examples of colophons are given below. For more information on this click here.

For information on Kazumasa Ogawa, click here.

Illustrations of Japanese Life, 1896, 1st Edition, K. Ogawa

Title Page


The "Geisha" (Singing Girl).

Backyard of a Tea House

"Sayonara!" (Good-Bye)

Venturing Out in the Rain

Letter Writing

Morning Toilet

The Cherry

The "Amma" (Shampooer)*

The "Shiohi" (Fishing on the Dry Bed)*

Buddhist Priests Conspicuous

The "Kamishimo" (The Ancient Ceremonial Dress)*

Japanese Maiden*

* These 4 plates are not repeated in later editions of this book.

Dating this Book
Colophon, 1st Edition (this book), Inside Back Cover

Printed: Meiji 29 (1896).6.22
Published: Meiji 29 (1896).6.25

Colophons From Other Editions

Colophon, 5th Edition, 1910

The 6 rows of Japanese writing at the right give dates and editions. Starting at the right and reading left they indicate:

Meiji 29 (1896) - 1st edition printed
Meiji 29 (1896) 1st edition distributed
Meiji 36 (1903) - 2nd edition
Meiji 39 (1906) - 3rd edition
Meiji 41 (1908) - 4th edition
Meiji 43 (1910) - 5th edition

Colophon, 12th Edition, 1918

The 9 rows of Japanese writing at the right give dates and editions. Starting at the right and reading left they indicate:

Meiji 29 (1896) - 1st edition printed
Meiji 29 (1896) - 1st edition distributed
Meiji 36 (1903) - 2nd edition
Meiji 39 (1906) - 3rd edition
Meiji 41 (1908) - 4th edition
Meiji 43 (1910) - 5th edition
Meiji 44 (1911) - 6th edition
Taisho 6 (1917) - 11th edition
Taisho 7 (1918) - 12th edition

There is no accounting for the 7th ~ 10th editions. I presume this is the 12th edition (1918) because it is the last edition listed.

Similar S. Ogawa, Illustrations of Japanese Life Books (Later Editions)

Focus on Industries and Trades of Japan Focus on Customs and Ceremonies of Japan (This Book)
Focus on Women, Children,
Music & Priests
Focus on Women, Children,
Pastimes and Customs

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