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Imakumano Kannon-ji from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Imakumano Kannon-ji (temple 15)

from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

by Nakazawa Hiromitsu, 1925 and 1946

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7


IHL Cat. #2244 (1925)

IHL Cat. #1858 (1946)

About This Print

Imakumano Kannon-ji, founded in the early 9th century, is located in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. It is the 15th temple on the Saigoku Kannon pilgrimage route.

The prayer for the Kannon statue of Imakumano Kannon-ji is said to have relieved Emperor Go-Shirakawa of severe headaches. Since then, the visit to the temple has had a reputation for promoting the recovery of diseases, particularly headaches and migraines.

Crossing the bridge is an act of purification, and a symbolic motion from the everyday world into the sacred space.

The main enshrined image (honzon) of the temple is the bodhisattva Kannon Jūichimen.



Comparison of 1925 and 1946 Issues
This collection contains prints from both the 1925 and 1946 releases. I prefer the earlier release which has a more painterly quality, likely closer to the artist's original drawing the print was based upon.

As explained further below, the two editions show significant differences suggesting either
extensive touching-up of the original blocks or newly carved blocks

The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei) 
Sources: website of cultural anthropologist Martin Gray http://www.taleofgenji.org/saigoku_pilgrimage.html and https://www.revolvy.com/page/Saigoku-Kannon-Pilgrimage and "Buddhist Pilgrim/Buddhist Exile: Old and New Images of Retired Emperor Kazan in the Saigoku Kannon Temple Guidebooks," Mark MacWilliams, appearing in History of Religions , May, 1995, Vol. 34, No. 4, Representations of Rulers, p. 303-328, The University of Chicago Press

Japan's most famous pilgrimage, originating in the 11th century, encompasses 33 Buddhist temples in Western Japan (Kansai region) dedicated to Kannon (bodhisattva Avalokitasvara), the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who hears the cries of the world and assists anyone in distress.

The 33 temples on the approximately 1,000 kilometer pilgrimage route correspond to Kannon's ability to take on 33 different forms. One hundred thousand pilgrims navigate the route in its entirety or part each year.

"It is traditional for pilgrims to wear white clothing and conical straw hats and to carry walking sticks. While the route was historically traveled by foot, today pilgrims usually use cars or trains. Pilgrims record their progress with a prayer book (納経帖 Nōkyō-chō), which the temple staff mark with red stamps and Japanese calligraphy indicating the temple number, the temple name, and the specific name of the Kannon image. Some pilgrims receive the stamps and calligraphy on wall scrolls (for a decorative hanging) and on their white coats (to be cremated in) as well." It is customary for pilgrims to recite goeika (junrei uta) specific to each site upon entering.

Origin of the Saigoku Pilgrimage
The origin of the pilgrimage is largely unknown, although the retired emperor Kazan (968-1008) is popularly credited with founding (or in some cases reviving) the Saigoku thirty-three-temple Kannon pilgrimage route. Yet, according to Professor of Religious Studies, Mark MacWilliams, "despite the popular stories, there is no historical evidence linking the retired emperor with the origin of the route. Most scholars agree that the thirty-three-temple route originated at the end of the Heian period, at least a century after Kazan's death. In all likelihood, the actual founders of the route were two Tendai monk-ascetics from Mii-dera, Gyōson (1055-1135) and Kakuchu (1118-1177)."

Goeika - The Waka Poem-Prayers of Each Temple
By the mid-18th century the retired emperor Kazan was also credited with authoring the thirty-three waka poem-prayers (junrei uta or goeika), consisting of thirty-one syllables, which appear at the end of each temple entry and are the major devotional liturgy of the pilgrimage. (Note that the explanatory sheets accompanying Nakazawa's album of prints reproduce the junrei uta for each temple.) Again, MacWilliams tells us that the historical reality does not align with the popular understanding:  "[N]one of the thirty-three junrei uta...are authored by Kazan. Most of the junrei uta were written anonymously over the centuries by ordinary Saigoku pilgrims."

For a listing of all 33 temples go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saigoku_Kannon_Pilgrimage. To access an interactive map of the route and its temples go to https://www.thetempleguy.org/p/saigoku-33-kannon-route.html and scroll down towards the bottom of the page.

About the "Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces" 

First issued in 1925 and reprinted in 1946 the album contains 58 prints plus a table of contents. The 58 prints consist of the following:
 37 woodblock prints
 (all designed by   Nakazawa)
 Thirty-three prints depicting the official 33 temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage plus 1 print depicting the bangai* temple Nata-dera (那谷寺), 1 print titled On Lake Biwa (琵琶湖上), 1 print depicting Amanohashidate (天の橋立) and 1 print of interior scenes of Fujii-dera temple (葛井寺にて).
 4 woodblock prints Three pages of introductory historical material by the Buddhist scholar and historiographer (史料編纂官) Washio Junkyō 鷲尾順敬 (1868-1941) and one page by University President and Doctor of Religion Mochizuki Shinkō 望月信亨 (1869– 1948).
 5 woodblock prints Five prints of poetry with landscape backgrounds (likely designed by Hiromitsu) including poems by the the tanka poet Nobutsuna Sasaki 佐々木信綱 (1872-1963)Hiromitsu himself and the haiku poet Ishikura Suiyō 石倉重繼 (1875-1938).
 11 typeset sheets Each sheet provides information on three of the thirty-three temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage and includes a sketch of the principle image  and the goeika associated with each temple.
 1 woodblock print Designed by Nakazawa's friend Akatsuka Chūichi 赤塚忠一 (1887-?) depicting Nakazawa relaxing on the veranda of his hotel after completing the pilgrimage.
*bangai (literally outside the numbers): temples not included in the route, but considered of religious or historical interest as part of the circuit.

Mr. Hiromitsu Nakazawa returns to the inn in Kyoto from his pilgrimage
巡禮より京の宿に帰れる中澤弘光氏
by Hiromitsu's friend and fellow artist Akatsuka Chūichi (1887-?)

The Original 1925 Release

The 1925 release of this album by the publisher Kanao Tanejirō was one of the early manifestations of moving away from text-based sketch-tour guides in book form, such as this collection's book Kinai kenbutsu, Yamato (Nara) no maki, where illustrations played a secondary role, to more image-centric compilations of oban size single sheet woodblock prints accompanied by explanatory text.  Scott Johnson, in his article on the sketch-tour genre notes:
[T]he sketch-tour books led directly to the more widely known genre of shin-hanga landscape prints. Although the landscape print movement attracted new artists and publishers, many of the figures active in the 'sketch-tour' book genre became pioneers in shin-hanga landscape prints. The popularity of these single-sheet prints ironically prompted the demise of the 'sketch-tour' books themselves.1

note: not shown are the explanatory sheets and the introductory sheets and the colophon which is imprinted on the inside of the album cover.

Outer box (left) and album portfolio (right)

Table of contents

The Thirty-Seven Prints by Nakazawa
Thirty-Three prints of the Saikgoku templess plus (bottom right) one print depicting the bangai temple Nata-dera,
one print titled On Lake Biwa, one print titled Amanohashidate and one print of interior scenes of Fujii-dera temple.

The Second Edition 1946 Release
In looking at various websites presenting images of this album, I am left with some confusion about the 1946 re-printing. I have noted that the 1946 printing may have been packaged in two different portfolios, one reusing, or reprinting, the original 1925 portfolio, as shown below on the left, the other using a newly printed portfolio, as shown below on the right. In addition, the 1946 prints may also have been sold individually, as well as packaged as a set in the portfolio.

 
 
The portfolio on the left was used to package the original 1925 release
and, I believe, was re-used to package some of the 1946 prints.
The portfolio on the right was used only for the 1946 prints.

1946 Album portfolio, two temple prints and portrait of Hiromitsu relaxing at his hotel by Akatsuka Chūichi 

Comparison of 1925 and 1946 Printings
While multiple sources say the same blocks were used for both the 1925 and 1946 releases, there appear to be two different sets of blocks used for prints bearing the date Taisho 14 (1925). This can be seen below in the comparison of three different prints of Matsunoo-dera, the two on the left with a 1925 date and the one on the right from 1946. The lower two prints, one dated 1925 and one from the 1946 edition, appear to be printed from the same blocks while the top left print, which is also dated 1925, appears to have been printed from different blocks than either of the other two prints. The print on the top left is certainly more "painterly" likely better capturing Nakazawa's original drawings than the lower two prints.

Comparison of 1925 (left) and 1946 (right) releases of Matsunoo-dera
The prints on the left are dated 1925 while the print on the lower right was published in 1946. 
The top left 1925 print varies significantly from the lower two prints.
click on image to enlarge

When trying to distinguish the 1925 and 1946 editions, however, the most obvious difference between the first and second editions is the presence of a printed notation in the bottom right margin of the first edition prints which is absent in the 1946 second edition. The notations on the first edition consist of either just the date of when the contents of the album were approved by censors (see "Notation 1" below); or the censor approval date plus the title of the album, the print number (corresponding to the temple's number on the pilgrimage route), the artist's name, followed by the publisher's name (see "Notation 2" below); or just the name of the album, the print number (corresponding to the temple's number on the pilgrimage route), the artist's name, followed by the publisher's name (see "Notation 3" below). A better quality paper was used in the 1925 release, which is not surprising given post-war paper shortages. 

Notations in the right margin of the original 1925 edition
Notation 1
right margin of a 1925 released print showing date and approval/inspection statement.
大正十四年六月十五日
舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済
 Notation 2
right margin of 1925 released print showing date and approval/inspection statement along with album title, temple pilgrimage route number, artist and publisher names.
大正十四年六月十五日
Taisho 14th year, sixth month, fifteenth day
舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済
Maizuru Yōsai Shireibu kenʾetsu-zumi 
[Maizuru Fort Headquarters Inspection Approval]
西國三十三所巡禮畫卷 / 九 / 中澤弘光 / (文淵堂版)
Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei gakan [Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces] / 29 / Nakazawa Hiromitsu / Bun'endō han
Notation 3
right margin of 1925 release showing series name, temple pilgrimage route number, followed by the artist and publisher names.
西國三十三所巡禮畫卷 / 九 / 中澤弘光 /
(文淵堂版)

Another difference between the 1925 and 1946 releases is the use of new poetry on at least one of the five sheets containing poetry and a landscape as shown below. The background landscape also appeared without any poetic accompaniment. 

 1925 release 1946 release

unknown date or release

1 "Sketch-tour Books and Print of the Early Books Twentieth Century" by Scott Johnson, appearing in Andon 37, June 1991, p. 3. 


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #2244 (1925 release) and #1858 (1946 release) 
 Title or Description  Imakumano Kannon-ji 今熊野観音寺 (temple 15)
 Series  Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
 西国三十三所巡礼画巻 Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei gakan
 Artist  Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)
 Signature
IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): 中澤弘光 [Nakazawa Hiromitsu] printed in lower right margin as shown left

IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): not signed
 Seal of the artist
IHL Cat. #2244
(1925 release)
弘 Hiro
IHL Cat. #1858
(1946 release)
弘 Hiro
 Publication Date  IHL Cat. #2244: June 15, 1925 大正十四年六月十五日発行 舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済 [Not all the individual prints in the 1925 release carry a date. This date is taken from the right margin of this collection's 1925 print Matsunoo-dera IHL Cat. #2245. Note the date is followed by an inscription indicating the print was inspected and approved by the authorities at the Maizuru Fort Headquarters. (舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済 = Maizuru Fort Headquarters Inspection Approval)]

 IHL Cat. #1858: January 18, 1946 昭和二十一年一月十八日発行 [Individual prints in the 1946 release are not dated. This date taken from a 1946 album colophon.]
 Publisher  發行者 金尾種次郎 publisher Kanao Tanejirō
 發兌元 金尾文淵堂 publishing house Kanao Bun'endō

IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): 文淵堂版 [Bun'endō han] printed in lower right margin as shown left

IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): no publisher seal
 Carver  Okada Seijirō 岡田清次郎 and Ōkura Fujitarō (Ōkura Tōtarō?) 大倉藤太郎
 Note on carvers: the above information is taken from the detailed information in the ADEAC system for the 1925 release. While the printer Okada is well known, the second listed printer 大倉藤太郎 is not and I can find no information on him.
 Printer IHL Cat. #2244 (1925): Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉 and
Yamagata Hidesuki? 山県秀助
 
IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉 and
Takagi Seikō (Kiyomitsu?) 高木淸光
 
Note on the printers: the above information is taken from the colophon included in the 1946 release and the detailed information in the ADEAC system for the 1925 release. As to the printer Nishimura Kumakichi, given as one of the printers for both the 1925 and 1946 release, there is some uncertainty about the date of his death, although a birth date, either 1861 or 1862 [Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints, Merritt, p. 223], is generally accepted. A death date of 1941 is sometimes given and 1955 has been suggested, but Merritt provides no date of death. If he truly did the printing for the 1946 release he would have been 85 at that time. I could find no information on the second printer listed for the 1946 release 高木淸光, nor for the printer 山県秀助 listed as the second printer for the 1925 release.
 Impression  IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): excellent
 IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): excellent
 Colors  IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): excellent
 IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): excellent
 Condition  IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): excellent
 IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): excellent
 Genre  shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
 Miscellaneous
temple/print number 15 appearing in the right margin of the 1925 release
 Format  horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): 10 1/8 x 15 1/4 in. (25.7 x 38.7 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): 9 1/16 x 12 in. (23 x 30.5 cm)
  
 H x W Image
 IHL Cat. #2244 (1925 release): 8 3/8 x 11 1/2 in. (22.2 x 29.2 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1858 (1946 release): 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (21.6 x 29.2 cm)
  
 Literature   
 Collections This Print
  National Diet Library Call Number 寄別7-8-2-5 (entire 1925 album, no images shown) ; National Library Board, Singapore BRN:9854371 (entire 1946 album, no images shown); British Library System number: 017018582 (entire 1946 album, no images shown)

last revision:
7/4/2020
6/30/2020
2/22/2020
1/6/2020 created
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