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Nachi-san (Seiganto-ji) from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Nachi-san (Seiganto-ji, temple 1)

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

by Nakazawa Hiromitsu, 1925

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7


IHL Cat. #2413.09
(from the complete 1925 album of prints IHL Cat. #2413)

About This Print

Nakazawa chooses to show us the rear of the temple complex's main building or honjō, with the Pacific Ocean barely visible on the horizon rather than the most common view of the complex's pagoda with Nachi Falls in the background. I imagine that he chose this less spectacular view to set an initial mood for this album, Nachi-san Seiganto-ji being the first temple on his seventy-eight day pilgrimage to the thirty-three temples of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, undertaken with his friends the poet Ishikura Suiyō and the artist Akatsuka Chūichi a few months after the Great Kantō Earthquake devastated the Tokyo area.


The Temple

Seiganto-ji (青岸渡寺), Temple of Crossing the Blue Shore, is a Tendai Buddhist temple in Wakayama Prefecture. According to legend, the temple was founded in the 4th century by the priest Ragyō Shōnin, a monk from India. The temple was built near Nachi Falls, where it may have previously been a site of nature worship and where Ragyō is said to have found a statue of Kannon in the falls, leading him to build the original temple.

Seiganto-ji is part of the Kumano Sanzan shrine complex, and as such can be considered one of the few jingū-ji (shrine temples) still in existence after the forcible separation of Shinto and Buddhism by the Japanese government during the Meiji restoration.

It is the first temple, and most southerly, along the 600 mile Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage and an Important Cultural Property of Japan.


The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei) 

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.

Note: 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 1925 album contains 58 prints and the 1946 album 59 prints. For detailed discussion of the two editions and additional information on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage see this site's article Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces.

Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
click on the image to go to the article

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #2413.09
 Title or Description Nachi-san (Seiganto-ji, temple 1)
 那智山 (渡寺、 一
 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
中澤弘光 [Nakazawa Hiromitsu] printed in lower right margin as shown left
 Seal of the artist
弘 Hiro
 Publication Date Published September 28, 1925 大正十四年九月十八日発行 as printed in the 1925 album's colophon (see Album Box with Print of Kannon IHL Cat. #2413).
Note: an earlier date of June 15, 1925 大正十四年六月十五日 appears in the right margin of the print titled Matsunoo-dera [IHL Cat. #2245], the only print in the 1925 album which carries a date. This earlier date, however, is the date that the censor's approval was obtained, as further explained on this site's web page for Matsunoo-dera, rather than the publishing date.
 Publisher
文淵堂版 [Bun'endō han] printed in lower right margin as shown left

 發行者 金尾種次郎 publisher Kanao Tanejirō
 發兌元 金尾文淵堂 publishing house Kanao Bun'endō
 Carver Okada Seijirō 岡田清次郎
Note: the album's colophon (see Album Box with Print of Kannon IHL Cat. 2413) lists two carvers, the above well-known Okada Seijirō and 大倉藤太郎, possibly read Okura Tōtarō, who I can find no information on.
 Printer Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉
Note: the album's colophon (see Album Box with Print of Kannon IHL Cat. 2413) lists three printers, the above well-known Nishmura Kumakichi; 山県秀助, possibly read Yamagata Hidesuki, who I can find no information on, and 松本兄弟堂, a company founded in Osaka by Matsumoto Kisaburō 松本喜三郎 in 1923, which I believe did the letterpress printing. 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor marks and soiling
 Genre shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
 Miscellaneous
temple/print number 1 appearing in the right margin of the 1925 release
 Format horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 10 1/8 x 15 1/4 in. (25.7 x 38.7 cm)  
 H x W Image
 8 1/2 x 11 9/16 in. (21.6 x 29.4 cm)
 Literature  Nakazawa Hiromitsu kenkyū: Hon karano kenshō, Hiromitsu Nakazawa, Mitsunobu Satō, et. al., Mitsui Kōkei, Tokyo, 2006, p. 46-48.
 Collections This Print
 National Diet Library Call Number 寄別7-8-2-5 (1925 album, no images displayed); National Library Board, Singapore BRN:9854371 (entire 1946 album, no images shown); British Library System number: 017018582 (entire 1946 album, no images shown)Harvard Yenching Library HOLLIS number 990082993710203941 (1925 album, no images displayed)

last revision:
1/15/2021 created
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