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Warabeuta myōmyō guruma, Volumes 21 and 22

The actors Bandō Hikosaburō V as Ukiyo Tohai, Ichimura Kakitsu IV as Nozarashi Gosuke and Ichikawa Danzō VI as Rokuji Namuemon

Japanese Color Woodblock Printed Book

Warabeuta myōmyō guruma, Volumes 21 and 22

drawings by Utagawa Kunisada II, 1874 (orig. 1867)

Utagawa Kunisada II (1823-1880)

IHL Cat. #2007

About This Book

Volumes 21 and 22 of the 25 volume illustrated novel (kusazōshi 草双紙) Warabeuta myōmyō guruma, originally published between 1855 and 1871 by the Edo/Tokyo publisher Tsutaya Kichizō of the firm Kōeidō.1 While volumes 21 and 22 were originally issued in 1867 (see below "Publication Dates"), this collection's edition was likely issued in 1874, based upon the dated (Meiji 7) advertisement page following each volume, as shown below. 

Commonly translated as The Wheel of Causation, the story revolves around "the romantic adventures of Princess Uzuki and the hero Shidoroku."2 While written for the masses, the heavily illustrated kusazōshi have been called "a crucial element in the production of modern literary idiom" and "a unique form of verbal-visual art" deserving "to be treated as a national cultural heritage."3 

Authors and Illustrators

Multiple authors and illustrators are credited with creating the various volumes of the 25 volume set.  This collections volumes, 21 and 22, are signed by Ryūtei Tanehiko II 柳亭種 2世 (aka Ryūtei Senka 笠亭仙果, c. 1806-1868) a disciple of Ryūtei Tanehiko I (1783-1842).4 Other writers listed by Waseda University Library and the National Institute for Japanese Literature are Ryūkatei Tanekazu 柳下亭種員 (1807-1858), volumes 1-8 and Santei Shunba 三亭春馬 (active 1852-1864)5, volumes 9-13. Ryūtei Tanehiko II is credited with authoring volumes 14 to 25. The writer of volume 25, the final volume, is unknown. 

In addition to the artist Utagawa Kunisada II (1823-1880), other artists listed as creating illustrations for the set are Utagawa Yoshitora 三亭春馬 (fl. 1850-1870) and Ochiai Yoshiiku 落合芳幾 (1833-1904). Only Kunisada II is named in this collection's volumes.

Publication Dates

Notes: As listed by the National Institute of Japanese Literature http://dbrec.nijl.ac.jp/KTG_W_66002 and in Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium, Andreas Marks, Hotei Publishing, 2011, p. 325-327.

Volume 1 and 2 - Ansei 2 (1855)
Volume 3 - Ansei 3 (1856)
Volume 4 and 5 - Ansei 4 (1857)
Volumes 6 and 7 - Ansei 5 (1858)
Volumes 8 and 9 - Ansei 6 (1859)
Volumes 10 and 11 - Man'en 1 (1860)
Volumes 12, 13, 14 and 16 - Bunkyū 1 (1861)
Volumes 14, 15 and 16 - Bunkyū 2 (1862)
Volumes 17 and 18 - Genji 1 (March 1864-April 1865)
Volume 19 - Keiō 1 (year began May 1, 1865)
Volume 20 - Keiō 2 (1866)
Volumes 21 and 22 - Keiō 3 (year began February 13, 1867)
Volume 23 - Meiji 1 (1868)
Volumes 24 and 25 - Meiji 4 (1871)

1 Kusazōshi is a term that covers various genres of popular woodblock-printed illustrated literature during the Japanese Edo period (1600–1868) and early Meiji period.
2 website of San Diego Museum of Art curator's note http://collection.sdmart.org/Obj22286?sid=6177&x=51616
3 "Eyes of the Heart: Illustration and the Visual Imagination in Modern Japanese Literature" [a dissertation], Pedro Thiago Ramos Bassoe, University of California, Berkeley, 2018, p. 1 https://escholarship.org/content/qt0777d5sv/qt0777d5sv.pdf
4 As Ryūtei Senka, who also called himself Ryūtei Tanehiko II, signed his name as 柳亭種彥作 Ryūtei Tanehiko saku, some sources credit authorship to Ryūtei Tanehiko I (1783-1842), although long dead.
5 Santei Shunba's death is sometimes given as 1851, which is likely incorrect as the volumes he is credited with authoring were published from 1859 to 1861. [for examples, see websites of Yale University Library https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/2068193 and Waseda University Library https://www.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kotenseki/html/he13/he13_01181/index.html

The Complete Volumes 21 and 22 of Warabeuta myōmyō guruma

 
童謡妙々車
国貞画
二十  二十二
Warabeuta myōmyō guruma
Kunisada ga
21, 22

 
妙々車  二十一 
Myōmyō guruma 21, 2

妙々車  二十一  一 
right page: frontispiece
Myōmyō guruma 21, 1

left page: preface
signed ?草人 柳亭種彥 (old man? Tanehiko)
dated Keiō 3 (1867)
top margin:寅二改
Keiō 2, 2nd month (February 1866)
date-aratame censor seal 

 
童謡妙妙車 二十一 
Myōmyō guruma 21, 1st part

 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 5
 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 4
 
妙々車  二十一 
Myōmyō guruma 21, 3

 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 8
 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 7
 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 6

 
right page: final text page of volume 21, part 1 
Baichōrō Kunisada ga 梅朝楼國貞画(appearing prominently center right of page)
left page: (advertisement): 
right column: 實母散 Jitsuboson
(a medicine for women)
left columns: three books by the publishing house Kōeidō 紅英堂 are listed including Yanagi kage tsuki no asazuma with illustrations by Baichōrō Kunisada
柳蔭月朝妻 梅朝楼國貞画
and books illustrated by 
Kinchōrō Yohistora 錦朝楼 芳虎
and Ichiyōsai Toyokuni 一陽斎
 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 10
 
妙々車  二十一  
Myōmyō guruma 21, 9


 
妙々車 二十 十二

 
妙々車 二十 十一
right page: frontispiece
Myōmyō guruma 21, 2
 with signatures of writer and artist 
柳亭種彥作 Ryūtei Tanehiko saku
梅朝楼國貞画 Baichōrō Kunisada ga
left page: page 11
 
童謡妙妙車
二十一 
Myōmyō guruma 21, 2nd part


 
妙々車 二十 
 
妙々車 二十 

妙々車 二十 十三

 
妙々車 二十 
 
妙々車 二十 
 
妙々車 二十 

 
妙々車 二十
right page: final text page of volume 21, cartouche in upper left of page reads: 種彥著 (book, Tanehiko cho) followed by 國貞画  artist, Kunisada ga)
left page: (advertisement):
banner at top reads
明治七年甲戌春開板標目 (1874)
followed by listed works
and name and address of publisher
蔦屋吉蔵 南伝馬町壹丁目
Tsutaya Kichizō han  Kyōbashi Nantenmachō 1 chōme
 
妙々車 二十 二十
 
妙々車 二十一 十九


 
 妙々車 二十二 二


 妙々車上 二十二  一
right page: frontispiece
Myōmyō guruma 22, 1
left page: preface
signed ?草人 柳亭種彥 (old man? Tanehiko)
dated Keiō 3 (1867)
top margin:寅二改
Keiō 2, 2nd month (February 1866)
date-aratame censor seal 

 童謡妙妙車
二十二 
Myōmyō guruma 22, 1st part


 
 妙々車 二十二 
 
 妙々車 二十二 
 
 妙々車 二十二 三

 
 妙々車 二十二 

 妙々車 二十二 七
 
 妙々車 二十二 六

 
 妙々車 二十二
right page: final text page of volume 22, part 1 
Kunisada ga 貞画 (appearing bottom of page)
left page: (advertisement): 
right column: 實母散 Jitsuboson
(a medicine for women)
left columns: three books by the publishing house Kōeidō 紅英堂 are listed including Yanagi kage tsuki no asazuma with illustrations by Baichōrō Kunisada
柳蔭月朝妻 梅朝楼國貞画
and books illustrated by 
Kinchōrō Yohistora 錦朝楼 芳虎
and Ichiyōsai Toyokuni 一陽斎
 
 妙々車 二十二 
 
 妙々車 二十二 九

 
 妙々車 二十二 

 
妙々車 二十二 十一
right page: frontispiece
Myōmyō guruma 22, 2
 with signatures of writer and artist 
柳亭種彥作 Ryūtei Tanehiko saku
梅朝楼國貞画 Baichōrō Kunisada ga
left page: page 11
 
童謡妙妙車
二十二 
Myōmyō guruma 22, 2nd part


 
 妙々車 二十二 十五

 妙々車 二十二 十四
 
 妙々車 二十二 十三

 
 妙々車 二十二 

 妙々車 二十二 

 妙々車 二十二 


 
 妙々車 二十二
right page: final text page of volume 22, part 2
cartouche in center left of page reads: 種彥著 (book, Tanehiko cho) followed by 國貞画 (artist, Kunisada ga)
left page: (advertisement):
banner at top reads
明治七年甲戌春開板標目 (1874)
followed by listed works
and name and address of publisher
蔦屋吉蔵 南伝馬町壹丁目
Tsutaya Kichizō han  Kyōbashi Nantenmachō 1 chōme
 
 妙々車 二十二 二十
 
 妙々車 二十二 


 童謡妙妙車
国貞画
二十
 

Book Details

 IHL Catalog  #2007
 Title or Description  Warabeuta myōmyō guruma, 21編 22編
 童謡妙々車 [童謡妙妙車; 童歌妙々車; 童唄妙々車]
(ワラベウタ ミョウミョウグルマ;  わらべうたみょうみょうぐるま) 
 The Wheel of Causation, Volumes 21 and 22 (also seen translated as The Wheels of Wonder; Miraculous Wheel of Wonders; A Children’s Song: The Miraculous Wheel of Wonders)
 Artist
 Utagawa Kunisada II (1823-1880); author: Ryūtei Senka 笠亭仙果 (c. 1806 - 1868) signing as Ryūtei Tanehiko [second generation] 柳亭種彦 2世
 Signature
appearing on front cover: 國貞画 Kunisada ga









appearing as part of illustration on final page of volume 1, part 1
梅朝楼國貞画 Baichōrō Kunisada ga








appearing on frontispieces for part 2 of volumes 21 and 22
柳亭種彥作 Ryūtei Tanehiko saku
梅朝楼國貞画 Baichōrō Kunisada ga















Cartouche appearing on final page of text of volumes 21 and 22
top: 種彥著 book (writer), Tanehiko cho
bottom: 國貞画 illustrator (artist), Kunisada ga

 Seal  
 Publication Date  1876 (originally 1867)
 
date appearing on last page of each volume which is an advertisement for the publisher's woodblock printed books available in Meiji 7 (1876)
明治七年甲戌春開板標目

date and aratame  (censor seal) appearing on the first page of text of each volume and indicating the date when approval was given by the government censor
寅二改 Keiō 2, 2nd month (February 1866)









date appearing on each preface:慶應三年卯春首發版
published Keiō 3 (1867), 2nd lunar month

 Edition   later edition
 Publisher
Tsutaya Kichizō 蔦屋吉蔵 (firm: Kōeidō 紅英堂) [Marks: pub. ref. 554]
 
publisher's name and address appearing on the last page of both volumes
蔦屋吉蔵 南伝馬町壹丁目
Tsutaya Kichizō han  Kyōbashi Nantenmachō 1 chōme [address]
 Carver  
 Printer  
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  good
 Condition  good
 Miscellaneous
unread mark stamped twice on each title page to the first and second parts of volumes 21 and 22

unread mark in square followed by characters 塩幸
 Genre  kusazōshi; ehon 絵本
 Format  fukurotoji (“bound-pocket” or “pouch” binding)
 H x W Paper  overall book dimensions H x W x D: 11 15/16 x 8 5/16 x 7/16 in. (30.3 x 21.1 x 1.1 cm)
 H x W Image  area defined by black border of each illustration:
 6 15/16 x 5 1/4 in. (17.6 x 13.3 cm) approx.
 Collections This Book collections holding this edition - none
collection's holding other editions - Yale University Library Call Number YAJ 6b19; Waseda University Library volumes 1, 2-22 Call No. ヘ13 03750, volumes 1, 2-18 Call No. ヘ13 01181
 Reference Literature  
last revision:
7/24/2021 created
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