This folded accordion style (orihon) book contains the fifty-five prints from the series Tōkaidō gojyūsan tsugi no nai [Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō]. The first pages next to the front and back covers are made with paper with mica printed into it. The prints in the book are resized, reprinted editions of the originals that are pasted into the book without further identifying information. The book contains a Table of Contents printed in English. This book was apparently made to sell to tourists. The CU Art Museum houses three original prints from this series: 57.216, 57.215 and 67.333.03.
The cover features a pastedown with the publishing information written in English and an image of what appears to be an origami paper kite of headless figure wearing a robe, obi, and straw sandals with tabi socks.
The publisher’s information is recorded on the book’s cover as Yugenkaisha Takamizawa Mokubansha. A yugenkaisha, or “limited company,” is a type of business association in Japan. Mokubansha (also read as mokuhansha) is literally read as “woodblock printing company” in English. Therefore, the publishing information translates as follows: “Takamizawa Woodblock Printing Company, a Limited Company.”
The Takamizawa Mokubansha was a company run by members of the Takamizawa family. Enji Takamizawa (1870=1927) was a famous woodblock print repairer and forger who lived in Yokohama. His work was apparently so skillful that experts thought that his restored prints were in fact newly printed editions. Upon his death in 1927, his brothers Masuro and Tadao, as well as his son Takaaki, founded the Takamizara Mokubansha in Tokyo. The firm began producing facsimile prints from around the late 1920s/early 1930s and is still active today.
-Leah Justin-Jinich, summer 2014