Trilingual Books

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Between March 1887 and January 1890 the Tokyo publisher Kyūshun-dō released four remarkable books which had text printed in Japanese, Chinese and English. The first of these ‘Pictorial Descriptions of Famous Places in Tokyo’ was illustrated solely by Gekko. In the subsequent books ‘Pictorial Descriptions of Famous Places in Japan’ and Volumes 1 and 2 of ‘Pictures of 100 Eminent Japanese Ancient and Modern with their Biographies’ Gekko provided a little over half of the illustrations with a number of other eminent artists of the period, Kobayashi Eitaku (1843-1890), Toyohara Chikanobu (1838-1912), Yoshimune Arai (1863-1941) and Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908) providing the remainder. Initially the publisher planned some 20 volumes in these latter two series but unfortunately only 3 were created. For a full description of the history of these books see the article in Daruma magazine issue 70, ‘Four Remarkable Books from Kyūshun-dō’. It is important to realise that the naming of these books varies and different titles are given to them in different places, the key is examining the illustrations.

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