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To と from the series Kyōiku iroha tango

Spoiled Chinese Battleship Chinen from the series Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War
 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

To と from the series Kyōiku iroha tango

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1897

Yo ょ from the series Kyōiku iroha tango

IHL Cat. #762

About This Print

One of eighteen prints issued as part of the comic series known as An Alphabet Soup of Moral Issues (Kyōiku iroha dango,) issued between February 1897 and March 1898.  Also seen translated as ABCs of Education, the series illustrates didactic poems in the order of the iroha syllabary with accompanying text by Koppi Dōjin [the pen name of the Nishimori Takeki 西森武城 (1861-1913), one of the chief comic writers for the newspaper Marumaru chinbun].1

While Smith notes that there are twenty-one prints in the series, "the iroha syllabary proceeding only as far as “ra” and apparently skipping “ne”, for a total of twenty-one,"2 the National Diet Library's accordion fold book containing the series only displays eighteen prints.3

The Text Transcribed in Romaji
Source: website of Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften der Universität Wien

Tori naki sato no kōmori4 Koppi-dōjin

Harubaru Tōkyō e dete, sanzan ni oya no/ kane o tsukatta o-kage de mazu wa shubi yoku/ hōtōgaku o sotsugyō, kokyō e no o-miyage wa tada ō-bo/ra to namaiki bakari. Aru hi enzetsu-kai o hiraku to/ fureta, kinjo no rōnyakunannyo wa deroren-saibun demo/ kiku ki de tsumekaketa. Sensei wa dai no tokui-/gao, Hikagemachi shire no yōfuku de nyū/ tto endan e arawareta. En “Ē chōshū sho/kun yo.” Kō “Hei.” Otsu “Hā.” Hei “Nan de gasu.” En “Kore wa ikan shokun wa mada wareware no gotoki gakushi/ hakase tō no enzetsu o kiitaru koto ga nai to miete ichiichi henji o/ suru to wa hanahada shikkei to iwazaru o ezu desu. Shokun/ yoroshiku kinchō shitamae.” Kō “Namiamidabutsu namiamidabutsu.” En/ “Nenbutsu o tonaete wa nao komaru ja nai ka. Damatte kikitamae/ damatte, ē mandō shokun yo boku ga kyō koko ni oite desu/ ichijō no enzetsu o nasan to hossuru tokoro no mono wa desu, sunawachi/ ?Naichi zakkyo no junbi ikan` to iu no ichidai de aru.“ Otsu „Sō desu.“ En „Shokun `Naichi zakkyo`wa/ mohaya ganzen ni sashisematte iru ni kakawarazu.“ Hei „Desu kara ni desu desu.” En “Kore wa shikkei desu./ Boku no enzetsu o gurō suru to wa shikkei desu. Boku no/ enzetsu o gurō suru kurai nara/ chotto koko e kite yatte mitamae. Nakanaka enzetsu ga dekiru/ mono de wa nai desu.“ Kō „Kimi ga sō okoru kurai nara chotto/ koko e kite kiite mitamae nakanaka kikareta mono de wa/ nai desu.“

Kiyochika: Artist of Meiji Japan, Henry D. Smith II, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, p. 17, footnote 119. Also see the article One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs to view another series of comic prints containing commentary by Nishimori. 
2 Ibid.
3 National Diet Library from the Meiji Era http://kindai.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/995317
4 Literally "a bat in a village with no birds," meaning a small person can reign supreme when no great person exists.  A rough equivalency for this Japanese expression in English is "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #762
 Title or Description To と
 Series 教育いろは談語 Kyōiku iroha dango (Alphabet Soup of Moral Issues or ABCs of Education)
 Artist Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915)
 Signature
Kiyochika 清親 
 Seal Kiyochika (see image above)
 Publication Date 1897 8th month 30th day (Meiji 30)  
 Publisher
Takekawa Seikichi i武川清吉 followed by address 日本橋区本銀町二丁目十二番地 (Note: the prints of Sawamuraya Seikichi were sealed Takekawa Seikichi starting in 1876.)  [Marks: seal 26-133; pub. ref. 459]

Top half of cartouche provides printing and release dates.
Bottom half of cartouche provides publisher information and reads:
印刷並ニ発行人 日本橋区本銀町二丁目十二番地武川清吉 
 Carver
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - overall soiling especially along right side and margins; not backed; repairs from verso along right margin including filling in of paper loss top right corner
 Genre ukiyo-e, giga
 Miscellaneous 
 Format vertical ōban
 H x W Paper 
 14 5/8 x 9 3/4 in. (37.1 x 24.8 cm) 
 H x W Image 13 1/4 x 8 7/8 in. (33.7 x 22.5 cm)
 Literature 
 
 Collections This Print
 Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften der Universität Wien 11030-07; National Diet Library http://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/995317

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