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Evacuees in the Suburbs of Tokyo from the Color Woodblock Picture Album of the History of the Taishō Great Earthquake

Yoshiwara Park: Army Foot Soldier Private Second Class Mr. Nakamura Fukusaburō from the Picture Album of the History of the Taishō Great Earthquake / Vol. 1

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Evacuees in the Suburbs of Tokyo

from the Color Woodblock Picture Album of the History of the Taishō Great Earthquake

by Fukunaga Seihan, 1923

Fukunaga Seihan (1884-1961)

IHL Cat. #1301

About This Print

A poignant scene of young children and their mothers camping on railroad tracks on the outskirts of Tokyo following the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake.  A single solider stands guard as the moon rises.  The quake was so violent that even the railroad tracks were bent by its force.  "One frequently reproduced photograph [see below] shows a mother breastfeeding her infant in a makeshift camp that she has erected on the presumably defunct railway tracks."1

Misreable Conditions of Victims of the Great Kant
ō Earthquake
(Kantō Daishinsai risaisha no awarena jōtai), postcard, 1923. Ishii Toshio Collection.2

About the Album
I have not been able to confirm how many prints were issued as part of Color Woodblock Picture Album of the History of the Taishō Great Earthquake, Collection 1 or whether their were subsequent collections issued. The information that is available can be found on the National Diet Library website. The NDL displays three prints, a single explanatory sheet (for the Private Nakamura print), and the front and back of a dismembered envelope which contained the prints. A colophon is pasted to the back of the envelope. (See details below.) It is not known whether the three prints the NDL shows are all that were originally contained in the envelope. In addition to the three prints shown, a fourth print, belonging to this collection, Evacuees in the Suburbs of Tokyo, is known.


image source: compiled from images on the National Diet Library website

Unfortunately, the NDL reproduction of the colophon is not clear and can only be partially read, as shown below.

編輯兼 発行者 日本版畫會 Editor and Publisher: Nihon hangakai [Japan Print Association, preceded by Tokyo address]
印刷者 田村鐵之助 安?女治郎 Printers: Tamura Tetsunosuke (1853-1925) and unread
木版彫 山兼吉 Woodblock Carver: Akiyama Kanekichi
刻者 中島正尚 久保井市太郎 Engravers: unread and Kuboi Ichitarō
東京市神田區錦町丁目十番地 發賣所 二松堂 Sales Office: Nishōdō [preceded by Tokyo address]
image source: National Diet Library website

Strangely, the colophon does not contain Fukunaga Seihan's name 福永晴帆 and neither the NDL or the Tokyo Metropolitan Library, which shows a single print, that of Private Nakamura, lists him as the creator. The presence of two seals appearing on all four prints reading 晴帆 (seihan) and 福 (fuku), coupled with the information contained in the magazine The Studio: An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art,which positively attributes the prints to him, establishes Fukunaga, best known for his paintings of sliding screens, as the artist. 


1 Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan's Great Earthquake of 1923, Gennifer Weisenfeld, University of California Press, 2012, p. 192.
2 ibid. p. 193, fig. 5.24.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1301
 TitleEvacuees in the Suburbs of Tokyo
東京郊外の避難者 Tokyo kōgai no hinansha
 Series木版色摺 大正大震史畫譜 Taishō daishinshi gafu mokuhan irozuri 
Color Woodblock Picture Album of the History of the Taishō Great Earthquake
also transcribed as 木版色摺 大正大震火画譜 Taishō daishinka gafu mokuhan irozuri
note: it is unknown what "collection" this print was part of.
 Artist Fukunaga Seihan (1884-1961)
 Signature/Seal
seal reading 晴帆 Seihan
 Seal

福 (in seal script) [possibly a seal of the artst Fukunaga Seihan or, simply a seal of "good fortune".]
 Publication Date 1923 (Taishō 12)
 Publisher 日本版畫會 Nihon hangakai [Japan Print Association]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - toning and soiling; full-size sheet
 Genre shin hanga
 Miscellaneous 
 Format oban
 H x W Paper 
 10 3/16 x 14 13/16 in. (25.9 x 37.6 cm) 
 H x W Image 8 9/16 x 12 3/8 in. (21.7 x 31.4 cm)
 Literature 
 The Studio: A Magazine of Fine and Applied Art, Vol 91, No. 397, April 15, 1926, p. 254.
 Collections This Print
 
last revision:
10/30/2020
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