Tōkyō : Yamatoya Kihē, [ca. Meiji 2 (1869)].
A woodblock-printed booklet published to help Japanese readers understand ‘western time’ and the reading of western clock faces. The change in Japan from the old lunar calendar to the Gregorian calendar was made in November of Meiji 5 (1872), and this accordion-folding booklet would have been printed to help familiarise Japanese people with the new system of telling time. The author, Yanagawa Shunzō (1832-1870), was a ‘western studies’ scholar who published many books on western culture and translated several western texts. He is perhaps best known as the founder of ‘Seiyō Zasshi’, believed by some scholars to be the first magazine published in Japan. Images of pocket watches in the booklet are particularly charming, and the information on the reading of Roman numerals and thermometers included in the text would also have been very useful to readers. A charming booklet that aimed to deepen Japanese readers’ understanding of ‘western time’ during the switch to the Gregorian calendar.
Original accordion-folding orihon binding, with original wrappers, lightly soiled and with a few small wormholes. Ex-ownership stamp of the Kurofunekan to title page. Very minor wormholing to pages. Otherwise near fine. 1 v., complete. 18.2 x 269.3 cm. Text in Japanese.