VARIOUS ARTISTS, MEIKA GAFU 名家画譜, CA. 1814

Title: Meika gafu 名家画譜

Date: 1814 (Bunka 11)

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and colour on paper.

Publisher: Nagoya : Eirakuya Tōshirō, 永楽屋東四郎.

Donor: Presented by Arthur Tress. Arthur Tress Collection, Box 1, Item 12. https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502582303681

Meika gafu, “A Book of Paintings by Celebrated Artists,” can best be described as an encyclopaedia of the “who’s who’ in Japanese art. Interestingly, however, the volumes capture no Ukiyo-e or Rinpa masters. Jack Hillier remarks that “[T]he complete absence … denotes the compiler’s fixation on Chinese-inspired art, to the exclusion of anything remotely native or stemming from Japanese sources.” (741). The Meika gafu contains two volumes, titled Heaven and Man, corresponding to the Japanese One and Three. While this suggests the printing of Volume Two, or Earth, no copy of such a volume has been found. Each volume begins with a table of contents laying out the different kinds of themes and subjects included followed by the titles of the artists and their paintings, Many of these may have utilized as important source-material in the study of classical painting. The paintings are presented as grand double-spreads of well-known masters interspersed with those by lesser-known figures. The Meika gafu was extremely popular amongst the Japanese public and enjoyed many runs. However, this also meant that over time the production quality steadily declined.

Meika gafu was published by Tōhekido (Eirakuya Tōshirō), a publisher from Nagoya. He commissioned as compiler Mano Tōkei, who had a long association with the leading practitioners of the Kano, Nanga, and Shijō schools. In addition, Tōkei also represented the work of foundational figures such as Taika and Ōkyo.

The Tress Collection possesses both volumes of which one consists of a different kind of paper and is riddled with doodles, most certainly by a previous owner. The volumes also carry advertisements of other books by the publisher Tōhekido. The image displayed here is of that of Mori Sosen’s (1747-1821) “Monkey”, signed and sealed by him. Sosen was well-known for his paintings of the Japanese macaque and there are many examples extant today.

 

Other copies: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum, London.

Selected Readings:                                                        

Forrer, Matthi, Eirakuya Tōshirō, Publisher at Nagoya: A Contribution to the History of Publishing in 19th century Japan, Vol. 1. Amsterdam, JC Gieben, 1985.

Hillier, Jack, The Art of the Japanese Book. London: Published for Sotheby’s Publications by Philip Wilson Publishers; New York, 1987, p. 741-75. 

Mitchell, Charles H., The Illustrated Books of the Nanga, Maruyama, Shijo and Other Related Schools of Japan: A Biobibliography, Dawson’s Book Shop, 1972, p. 407-09.

Posted by Ayesha Sheth, November 14, 2019

 

UTAGAWA TOYOKUNI 歌川豊国, YAKUSHA KONOTE GASHIWA 役者此手嘉志和, 1803

Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni歌川豊国

Title:  Yakusha konote gashiwa 役者此手嘉志和

Date: ca. 1803 (享和3)

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers

Publisher: Maruya Jinpachi (丸屋甚八)(Marujin, Enjudō)

Location: Kislak Center for Special Collections – Arthur Tress Collection. Box 10, Item 2. See link.

Gift of Arthur Tress

Utagawa Toyokuni’s Yakusha konote gashiwa (1803) consists of 2 volumes in which 24 lower and higher ranked actors are represented, and, like actor prints (yakusha-e), offered the possibility to extend the actors’ expression beyond the stage of the theater. Each volume of the picture-book is composed of 6 double-page illustrations, depicting two types of half-length portraits of individual actors: one on the right page reflecting the actor’s onstage character and one on the left page referring to the actor’s everyday appearance. The first volume of the book contains portraits of many kabuki stars, such as Ichikawa Danjūrō VII and Iwai Kumesaburō (Iwai Hanshirō V). In the second volume we find actors such as Segawa Kikunojō III and Ichikawa Hakuen (Ichikawa Danjūrō V).[1]

Including an actor’s two sides—on-stage and off-stage—can be connected to increased public interest in the actor’s likenesses (nigao-e)[2]. In the 1770s, the first recognizable portraits of actors appeared in Japanese actor prints. This went hand in hand with the introduction of half-length close-up portraits of actors in prints, emphasizing their facial features and expressions.[3] The picture-book itself however, does not refer directly to the actor’s individual names and does not contain any more specific information on the actors themselves.[4] Sometimes the actor’s crest alludes to the identity of an actor: for example, on the cover of the volumes we find the actor crest of Ichikawa Danjūrō ()[5]. Since specific information on the actors is not included, the picture-book was probably intended for readers familiar with kabuki culture.

The Japanese artist Utagawa Toyokuni (1769-1825) is primarily known for his actor prints (yakusha-e) of the kabuki theater, particularly for the high level of individualization that these include. Toyokuni was part of the Utagawa school, founded by his teacher, Utagawa Toyoharu. Thanks to Toyokuni, the Utagawa school came to dominate the world of ukiyo-e with their prints of beauties and actors from the late eighteenth-century through the nineteenth-century.[6] Toyokuni’s students included Utagawa Kunisada and Utagawa Kuniyoshi, also featured on this website.

Another impression of this print is in the Pulverer Collection. Other copies can be found in Hōso Bunko (Nagoya), Iwase Bunko (Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), National Diet Library (Tokyo), Tokyo National Museum, and University of Tsukuba Library.

Selected Readings

  • Andrew Gerstle, Akiko Yano, and Timothy Clark, Kabuki heroes on the Osaka stage 1780-1830 (British Museum Press & University of Hawai’i Press, 2005).
  • Hans Bjarne Thomsen et al., Japanische holzschnitte aus der sammlung Ernst Grosse = Japanese woodblock prints from the Ernst Grosse collection (Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2018), p. 149.
  • Higuchi Kazutaka and Alfred Haft, “No Laughing Matter: A Ghastly “Shunga” Illustration by Utagawa Toyokuni, Japan Review (2013), pp. 239-255.
  • Richard Lane, Images from the Floating World: The Japanese Print (Konecky & Konecky, 1978).
  • Ryōko Matsuba and Timothy Clark, “Kabuki Actors in Erotic Books (‘Shunpon’),” Japan Review (2013), pp. 215-237.
  • Suzuki Jūzō 鈴木重三, Yakusha ehon no kōyō「役者絵本の効用, in Ehon to ukiyo-e『増補絵本と浮世絵』 (Tokyo: Perikansha, 2017), p. 522.
  • Timothy Clark, Osamu Ueda, and D. Jenkins. The Actor’s Image: Printmakers of the Katsukawa School (Princeton: Princeton University press, 1994).

Posted by Hilda Groen

October 5, 2019

[1] Yakusha konote gashiwa in Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. http://pulverer.si.edu/node/551/title/1/0, accessed on 19 September 2019.

[2] Matsuba Ryoko, “Kabuki Actors in Erotic Books (Shunpon),” Japan Review (2013), pp. 215–37

[3] Andrew Gerstle, Yano Akiko and Timothy Clark, Kabuki Heroes on the Osaka stage 1780-1830 (British Museum Press & University of Hawaii Press, 2005), p. 41.

[4] Yakusha konote gashiwa. http://pulverer.si.edu/node/551/title/1/0, accessed on 19 September 2019.

[5] Richard Lane, Images from the Floating World: The Japanese Print (Konecky & Konecky, 1978), pp. 205-206.

[6] Kazutaka Higuchi and Alfred Haft, ‘No Laughing Matter: A Ghastly “Shunga” Illustration by Utagawa Toyokuni’, Japan Review (2013), pp. 243-244.

YAMAGUCHI SOKEN, 倭人物画譜, EN’O GAFU/圓翁画譜, CA. 1837

Title: En’o gafu 圓翁画譜

Artist: Yamaguchi Soken

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper.

Tress Collection, Box 28, Item 17

 

Maruyama Ōkyo (1733-1795) was highly celebrated for his naturalistic renderings of flowers, birds, and animals. Widely admired for his skill as an artist, Ōkyo was also known in his lifetime as an influential mentor to later Japanese-style artists. One of the most well known was Matsumura Goshun 松村 呉春 (1752-1811). Initially, Goshun requested Ōkyo as a mentor; instead, the master welcomed Goshun as an equal and fellow artist. The Murayama-Shijo style has come to refer to the approaches developed by Okyo and Goshun in painting.

Ōkyo’s student, Yamaguchi Soken designed the illustrations in the En’o gafu book as an homage to Ōkyo’s skill and influence. Soken’s illustrations in the book are rendered after Ōkyo’s paintings and show how highly regarded Ōkyo was by later generations.

Soken selected many of Ōkyo’s paintings to be included here, making sketches after Ōkyo’s paintings; these were transferred to woodblocks to be printed on paper. Soken also included a number that show the social contrasts between the commoners and the rich during the period. This book was published in 1837, over 40 years after Ōkyo’s death, during the Great Tenpō Famine.

Similar to Ōkyo and the French realist painter Gustave Courbet, Soken makes the wide range of people illustrated more inclusive and we may wonder whether his selection of individuals deliberately put in contrast the old and feeble, the fishermen with the merchants, and the upper class who were afforded leisure and gluttony during a time of great famine.

 

Other Copies

Yale University

National Library of Israel

Pulverer collection, Freer Gallery of Art

 

Selected Readings

Chibbett, David G. The History of Japanese Printing and Book Illustration. Kodansha International; New York: distributed by Harper & Row, 1977.

Foxwell, Chelsea. Making Modern Japanese-style Painting: Kano Hogai and the Search for Images. University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Hall, John Whitney. The Cambridge History of Japan: Early Modern Japan. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Hillier. J. The Art of the Japanese Book. London: Published for Sotheby’s Publications by Philip Wilson Publishers; New York, 1987.

Mason, Penelope. History of Japanese Art. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.

Paine, Robert Treat, and Alexander Coburn Soper. The Art and Architecture of Japan. Yale University Press, 1981.

Sullivan, Michael. The Meeting of Eastern and Western Art (Revised and expanded ed.). 1989.

 

Post by Kemuel Benyehudah

UTA NO SHIORI TEIKOKU RYŪKŌ KASHŪ 歌のしおり帝国流行歌集, 1944

Songs from the collection in question.

The cover of Uta no shiori   Songs from the collection in question.

Artist: Unknown

Title: 歌のしおり帝国流行歌集 (Collection of songs popular in the Empire)

Date: 1944

Medium: Mimeograph, ink on paper

Gift of Arthur Tress, Arthur Tress Collection. Box 45, Item 12

(https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502355903681)

This collection of songs praising the Imperial Japanese Empire is from the Tule Lake Segregation Center, one of the main camps used by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) to house Japanese citizens classified as potential threats to the U.S. Government. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, allowing the U.S. Government to relocate and incarcerate Japanese American citizens and residents en masse. Of the camps designated to be used for internment, Lake Tule was reserved for internees who were deemed “disloyal” based on their response to the infamous loyalty questionnaire. According to Jane Dusselier, “internees at Tule Lake lived under the strictest security restrictions of all the camps because, in Fall 1943, the War Relocation Authority designated Tule Lake the segregation center for ‘troublemakers’.”[1] However, as Brian Hayashi notes, the loyalty questionnaire was confusingly worded, and many internees who ended up at Lake Tule simply did so to follow family members who had already been sent there.[2]

Given the camp’s strictness and special designation, the production and existence of this collection of songs seems all the more remarkable. The production of arts, crafts, and materials such as this booklet were widespread within the relocation camps, to the extent that Sam Hayakawa would cite them in 1981 as evidence that the camps were “trouble free and relatively happy.”[3] As Jane Dusselier notes, such a reading of the “forced leisure” in internment camps is problematic “because it suggests that internee artwork is evidence of humane treatment.”[4] The charged content of the material in this book, replete with patriotic and militaristic songs that were popular in the Japanese Empire at the time, suggests it served a political function in the context of the camp itself. This may show the complex dynamics of Tule Lake’s internees at the time. According to Heather Fryer, the shift in the camp’s population in 1943, and its new designation as a center for “disloyal” Japanese Americans produced political tensions between different internee groups: as she writes, “housing shortages, restrictive regulations, and the absence of jobs for new arrivals stoked resentments between the new segregants and the established, ‘loyal’ Tuleans,” from 1943 onward.[5]  Ongoing tensions between the camp administrators and newer arrivals spurred the creation of anti-administration extremist groups such as the Sokuji Kikoku Hoshi Dan and the Hokoku Seinen Dan in early 1944, which took a hard line against the U.S. Government and espoused an avowedly pro-Japanese Empire politics.[6] These actions, in turn, prompted the U.S. Congress to pass Public Law 405, which allowed Japanese Americans to renounce their citizenship and be repatriated to Japan. According to Fryer, “Anti-administration factionalists,” within the camp used the law as a pretext to force “unwilling Tuleans to renounce as a political stand.”[7]

Given the date of the booklet’s production, it is likely it was created in the midst of this political turmoil. At one point, tensions between pro and anti-administration internees reached such a height that one internee, Yaozo Hitomi, was fatally stabbed for working with camp administrators. Its existence may also attest to the camp administration’s relative lack of knowledge and comprehension of internal politics between different groups of internees. Most of the songs collected were major hits in Japan in the late 1930s with themes of love, family, and patriotism. The first song in the booklet, Aikoku shinkō kyoku (Patriotic March) for instance, was released at the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and sold over 1 million copies by 1938.[8] Yet despite the overwhelming presence of songs about patriotism and war, some of the songs collected, such as Otoko no junjō (A man’s pure feelings, 1937) are slow love ballads rather than patriotic marches. One song, the 1940 hit Dare ka kōkyo o omawazaru (1940), a song about longing for one’s hometown, was actually banned at one point on the Japanese mainland for fear it would cause factory workers in cities to lose morale.[9] This diversity of songs suggests multiple possible readings of the booklet; while it was clearly marked as a political text, it was made for entertainment and relieving boredom, as the introduction indicates. Furthermore, the difference in songs included and those that would have been deemed acceptable in the Japanese Empire collections suggests an ideological gap between the books’ creators, one produced through both physical and temporal distance. The book thus serves as a representation and testament to the complex political, ideological, and cultural landscapes produced through the upheaval and trauma of internment.

 

Further Reading:

Jane E. Dusselier. Artifacts of Loss: Crafting Survival in Japanese American Concentration Camps. Camden: Rutgers University Press, 2008.

Heather Fryer. “‘The Song of the Stitches’: Factionalism and Feminism at Tule Lake,” Signs Volume 35, Issue 3, 2010, pp. 673-698.

Brian Hayashi. Democratizing the Enemy: the Japanese American Internment. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Masanori Tsujita 辻田真佐憲. Nihon no gunka: Kokumin teki ongaku no rekishi 日本の軍歌 国民的音楽の歴史 [Japanese Military Songs: A History of National Citizen Music]. Tokyo: Gentōsha, 2014.

Posted by Patrick Carland

 

[1] Jane E. Dusselier. Artifacts of Loss: Crafting Survival in Japanese American Concentration Camps. (Camden: Rutgers University Press, 2008) 33-4.

[2] Brian Hayashi. Democratizing the Enemy: the Japanese American Internment. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004): 156.

[3] Artifacts of Loss, 1.

[4] Ibid., 7,

[5] Heather Fryer. “‘The Song of the Stitches’: Factionalism and Feminism at Tule Lake,” in Signs Volume 35, Issue 3, 2010, pp. 673-698: 677.

[6] Ibid., 679.

[7] Ibid., 681-2.

[8] Kokuminka: Aikoku shinkō kyoku (Citizen’s Songs: The Patriotic March) Nihon no Gunka http://gunka.sakura.ne.jp/nihon/aikoku.htm accessed May 1, 2020.

[9] Koga merodei kiki kurabe 12: Dare ka kōkyo wo omawazaru [Comparing old melodies: Dare ka kōkyo wo omawazaru] Tenisu to ran to dijikamera [Tennis, running, and digital camera] Blog post, March 3, 2010 https://blog.goo.ne.jp/mr_asuka/e/681bfe28f1e849421cb7b0beb707c050

YAMAGUCHI SOKEN 山口素絢, YAMATO JINBUTSU GAFU KŌHEN 倭人物画譜後編, 1804

Otsu-e, volume 1

Artist: Yamaguchi Soken 山口素絢 (1759 – 1818)

Title: Yamato jinbutsu gafu kōhen 倭人物画譜後編 (Album of Japanese People in Painting, 2nd Part )

Date: 11th month, 1804 (Bunka 1)

Description: 3 volumes

Medium:  Woodblock printed; ink on paper; paper cover

Dimensions: 18 cm x 26 cm

Publisher: Hishiya Magobē 菱屋孫兵衛

Gift of Mr. Arthur Tress

Object Number: Box 8, Item 14 https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502576003681

Yamato jinbutsu gafu kōhen is the 3-volume sequel to Yamato jinbutsu gafu (Tress Collection: Box 8, Item 12)which was published in 1799. The series features daily life scenes in Edo-period Japan, illustrated by Yamaguchi Soken (1759 – 1818), and includes people of different occupations and social classes. The first images of each volume of Yamato jinbutsu gafu kōhen are illustrations in the style of Otsu-e, a folk-art tradition which was flourished in Otsu, on the Tōkaidō road. The first featured image here is the first illustration of the first volume; here, a man with a hunting falcon is represented in print as thought painted with rough and quick brushstrokes. It is likely that Soken selected these Otsu-e to pay tribute to this painting tradition.  Scenes of people working are featured throughout this book. In the third volume, the complete process of rice harvesting is depicted, from planting in the early spring to harvesting in the late fall, as may be seen in the selected illustration.

Yamaguchi Soken was actively involved in publishing illustrated books, especially painting albums. He is known to have studied with Maruyama Ōkyo (1733-1795). According to the preface of Yamato jinbutsu gafu, written by Akisato Ritō, Soken was the second son of a kimono merchant in Kyoto. This book, Yamato jinbutsu gafu kōhen, was published in 1804, and he followed this up with Soken gafu sōka no bu (Tress Collection: Box 40, Item 15) in 1806, a title fully devoted to plants. In 1818, his pictures designed for an album of landscapes, Soken sansui gafu (Tress Collection: Box 56, Item 16), was published. Many of Soken’s paintings were collected in his lifetime and many survive in museum collections, but in eighteenth-century Japan, it is likely that his painting albums reached a greater readership. His printed books remained of interest to later artists, as may be seen in Kawanabe Kyōsai’s (1831-1889) Kyōsai gadan (Tress Collection: Box 39, Item 1) where Kyōsai shows a design based upon Soken’s Soken gafu sōka no bu.

Other copies of this book are in Freer Gallery of Art, and Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Museum of Fine Art in Boston, and Waseda University

Selected Reading

Hillier, Jack. 1987. The art of the Japanese book. London: Wilson for Sotheby’s Publications. 532-537

Keyes, Roger S. 2007. Ehon: the artist and the book in Japan. New York, NY: New York Public Library. 140-141

Posted by Tim Zhang, 2019