Edo prints


  Design: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)  
  Title: Hokusai manga, Volume 15  
  Size: 24.5 x 16.3 cm  
  Posthumous printing from the original woodblocks    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
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Hokusai manga Volume 15

Enlargement


Volume 15, the last volume of the Hokusai manga, was released in 1878 - almost 30 years after Hokusai’s death in 1849 - by publisher Eirakuya Tōshirō, whose firm was called Tōhekidō. It contains many reproductions of sketches from Hokusai’s Denshin gakyō picture book published much earlier in 1818. This version of Volume 15 is a later impression released by publisher Yoshikawa Hanshichi who acquired the blocks from Eirakuya Tōshirō.

Orange book cover with embossed Chinese pattern.

Title printed in red on a white slip on the book cover:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
       
kata person  
no field Katano
       
east  
shi four  
man Tōshirō
       
hen edit  
shū collect editor
       
hoku north  
sai room  
man random Random sketches
ga drawing of Hokusai
       
ten  
go five  
hen volume Volume 15


This is the title page of this later impression of Volume 15 of the Hokusai manga:

Hokusai Manga Volume 15 title page

Volume title in the large middle column of this title page:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
       
hoku north  
sai room  
man random Random sketches
ga drawing of Hokusai
       
ten  
go five  
hen volume Volume 15

On the right is the publication date:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
       
mei light  
ji government  
tsuchinoe*) 5th calendar sign  
tora tiger  
shin new New publication in Meiji,
koku carving year of the tiger, i.e., 1878

and on the left the firm name of the publisher:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
       
bi tail  
positive  
       
east  
heki wall Tōhekidō
temple of Biyō

Seal on the verso of the title page:

Hokusai Manga Volume 15 seal

Colophon on the inside of the back cover:

Hokusai Manga Volume 15 Colophon

In the first column on the right is the name of the designer, 葛飾北斎筆, Katsushika Hokusai hitsu, i.e., by the brush of Katsushika Hokusai. The next two columns from the right contain the name of the publisher, 吉川半七, Yoshikawa Hanshichi, and his address. The last four columns from the right contain the names of two booksellers and their addresses.


The full contents of the first version of Volume 15 of the Hokusai manga are shown on the website of the London British Museum here, as well as in the book by Forrer (2014) containing photographic reproductions of all fifteen Hokusai manga volumes, including explanations of each image in French.


References


Provenance: Yagiya Bobongua store

*) Tsuchinoe combines tsuchi (earth, one of the five elements) and e (yang).

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