202 results in English
An Actor in the Role of Sato Norikiyo who Becomes Saigyo: An Actor in the Role of Yoshinaka
The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This diptych print of between 1849 and 1852 shows Saigyō surrounded by men trying to prevent him from leaving his house to become a priest. The poet Saigyō (1118-90) was born into ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Peony and Canary
The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This print, made in 1833 or 1834, is part of the series "Small Flowers" by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). It is unusual in its background color and its size. Other examples of this ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Hygiene and Public Health in Japan, Chosen and Manchuria. Report on Conditions Met with During the Tour of the League of Nations Interchange of Health Officers
As part of its work in the area of international health, the League of Nations organized the “Interchange of Health Personnel” for the purpose of affording “opportunity to Health Officers of different countries for seeing the organization of and equipment of, and the methods employed by the health services of the country visited….” In October–December 1926, a delegation led by A.R. Wellington, senior health officer in the Federated Malay States (present-day Malaysia), undertook a tour of health facilities in Japan, Korea (then under Japanese rule and known as ...
Military Situation in Manchuria before 18 September 1931. Map Prepared for Lytton's Report on the Sino-Japanese Conflict
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied its key cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Situation in Manchuria: Report of the Lytton Commission of Inquiry
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied key Manchurian cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Akogi
Noh is a classical Japanese performance art that developed into its present form during the 14th and 15th centuries under the patronage of the shogunate. It became one of the favorite pastimes of the ruling class in Japan. Noh drama consists of dance and music. An utai-bon (book of lyrics) was made for each song in the drama. Noh was most popular during the 17th century, so many utai-bon, or Noh libretti, were published at that time. Shown here is a part of an utai-bon of Kanze-ryū style, one of ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Maps of the Japanese Coastal Areas (Ino Maps)
Inō Tadataka (1745−1818) was a famous Japanese surveyor and cartographer during the Edo period. He is known for completing the first map of Japan based on actual measurements, which he himself made by traveling throughout the country over a period of many years. Dainihon enkai yochi zenzu (Maps of the Japanese coastal areas) was compiled as a final version of Tadataka’s many maps and was presented to the shogunate in 1821. The work, which covers almost the entire country, is composed of three sets of maps of different ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Outline Map of Japan
This picture map of Japan was published at the end of the 17th century. The cartographer, Ishikawa Tomonobu (also known as Ryūsen and Ryūshū, date of birth and death unknown) was an ukiyo-e artist and mapmaker. He is said to have been a student of Hishikawa Moronobu (1618–94), often considered the first ukiyo-e artist. It is the first map of Japan by Ryūsen with an imprint of his name. Said to be based on an original commissioned by the shogunate government, it was distorted and enlarged on the woodblock-printed ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Scaled Coastal Map of Japan, Eastern Provinces (Ino Maps)
Inō Tadataka (1745−1818) was a famous surveyor and cartographer of the Edo period in Japan. He is known for completing the first map of Japan based on actual measurements, which he himself made by traveling throughout the country. In 1800 Inō surveyed the area from Edo (present-day Tokyo) to Nemuro (in present-day Hokkaidō) on the Ōshū Highway. He continued measuring other parts of eastern Japan until 1803. He compiled the results of his surveys into three sets of maps of different scales, which he presented to the shogunate in ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Tales of Ise
Ise monogatari (The tales of Ise) is a collection of some 125 brief episodes, combining elements of prose and poetry, that dates from the early Heian period (9th−10th centuries). The protagonist is believed to be modeled on Ariwarano Narihira (825−80), a handsome aristocrat who had many romantic affairs. The main character’s romances, friendships, heartbroken wandering life, and various other stories are narrated in a style that owes much to waka (literally, Japanese poems). The work had a great influence on later Japanese literature, including Genji monogatari (The ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Album of Appreciation of the Fragrance of Spring
Takuhanga is a printing technique in which a cloth-covered cotton ball containing black ink is patted on wet paper placed on an intaglio-engraved woodblock. The technique derives from takuhon, the art of rubbing found in Chinese copybooks printed from the works of old masters of calligraphy. This late-18th-century takuhanga album includes poems in the Chinese style celebrating the spring scenery of Kyoto written by learned men from the city who were students of Chinese literature, including Iwagaki Ryūkei (1741−1808). The drawings are by prominent Kyoto artists from the time ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Portrait of Ono Ranzan
Tani Bunchō (1763−1840) was a representative painter of the late Edo period who is said to have perfected Edo Nanga, a school of Japanese painting that flourished in this period. The subject of the painting, Ono Ranzan (1729−1810), was a leading specialist in the traditional pharmacognosy (study of medicines derived from natural sources) of the day. Ranzan asked Bunchō to paint the portrait just a year before his death. Bunchō first made a sketch of Ranzan’s right side, which Ranzan did not like, insisting that the bump ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Picture Book of Chrysanthemums
The chrysanthemum, the flower loved by Tao Yuan-ming (365−427), a distinguished Chinese poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty, was brought to Japan around the beginning of the Heian period (794−1185). The plant took root on Japanese soil and by the Edo period (1600−1868) several hundred different types of chrysanthemum were being cultivated in the country. Gakiku is the first picture book of chrysanthemums published in Japan. Its beautiful illustrations and Chinese-style poems introduced readers to 100 different varieties of the flower. The text and lines are printed ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Tsukishima
Tsukishima is a Kōwaka-mai (dance drama) ballad that dates from the Muromachi period (1336−1573). It is also called Hyōgo or Hyōgo tsukishima. The literal meaning of “tsukishima” is "making an island," and the ballad is based on an episode in which Taira no Kiyomori (1118−81), a general and noble, built a new port in Fukuhara, Hyōgo. The story starts with Kiyomori's decision to build the port. To ensure the success of the construction, 30 people are captured in order to be made human sacrifices to the gods ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Ibuki Dōji, the Boy from Mount Ibuki
This picture scroll of an otogizōshi (Japanese fairy tales of the Muromachi era, 1392−1573), recounts the childhood of Shuten Dōji, the oni (demon) who would one day be subdued by the real-life warrior, Minamoto no Yorimitsu. It tells the story of Shuten Dōji’s birth and his childhood on Mount Ibuki in the old province of Ōmi, protected by wild animals and feeding on magical herbs that prevented old age and death, up to the time he went to live on Mount Ōe-yama in the former province of Tanba ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Insect Book
Ehon mushi-erami (The insect book) is by the ukiyo-e painter Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753−1806). It was created by him before he produced the bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) for which he is famous. Each double page of the book contains a painted illustration of a plant and two species of insects, along with two kyōka (a poem style originating from waka, literally, Japanese poems). The kyōka are ostensibly insect-themed love poems. In all, 15 colored wood-block prints are included. The work demonstrates Utamaro’s skill at drawing, as well ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
A Sketch Book of Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)
The sakura (cherry blossom) is the most famous flower of Japan, the beauty of which has long inspired artists in Japan. Created in the middle of the 19th century, Ōka-fu (A sketch book of cherry blossoms) contains the names and illustrations of 29 varieties of sakura, which are painted on silk with delicate brushwork. The artist, Sakamoto Kōnen (1800−53), studied herbal medicine under his father, Sakamoto Jun'an, physician-in-ordinary to the sovereign lord of Kishū Domain (present-day Wakayama Prefecture). Sakamoto Kōnen also worked in Kishū Domain as a ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Taishokan
Taishokan is a story loosely based on the life of Fujiwara no Kamatari (614−69), who was a famous court official. In the story, the daughter of Kamatari is married to the emperor of China. When she hears that her father is going to build the main hall of the Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara, she sends him Mugehōju, a precious crystal with divine powers, as a gift. While a military escort is sailing to Japan with the crystal, dragons attack the ship and the treasure is carried down to the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Chronicle of Japan, Volumes 1 and 2
Nihon shoki (Chronicle of Japan) is the first official Japanese history book, edited by Imperial Prince Toneri and others and completed in the fourth year of the Yōrō era (720). The 30 volumes cover the period from the mythological age to the time of the Empress Jitō (end of the seventh century). The first and second volumes, which deal with the mythological age, have been highly regarded in Japan since ancient times. The oldest existing manuscript of Nihon shoki dates from the Heian period (794−1185). The first published edition ...
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Illustrated Manual of Medical Plants
This book is considered the first full-scale botanical art book in Japan. It was published in the late Edo period and comprises 92 volumes (volumes 1−4 remain incomplete), including more than 1,900 varieties of plants. The author, Iwasaki Kan’en (1786−1842), was a shogunate vassal. The work contains colored illustrations of wild species, garden species, and imported species, captioned with taxonomic names, and includes biological explanations and other information. The plants are classified and arranged according to the 16th-century Honzō kōmoku (Bencao gangmu in Chinese), a Chinese ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Diary of Mansai
Mansai (1378−1435) was an abbot of the Daigo-ji Temple in the early Muromachi period (14th−15th centuries). Born into an aristocratic family, Mansai was adopted by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and ordained into the priesthood. He served three shoguns, not only as a priest but also as a political adviser and close associate. Mansai witnessed many important events in politics, foreign relations, literature, and society and was privy to the top secrets of the nation. Mansai jugō nikki (The diary of Mansai) is thus an important historical source. The National ...
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Commentary on The Analects of Confucius
Rongo (Analects) is famed as the collection of the words and deeds of Confucius. As the most cherished scripture of Confucianism, the book greatly influenced the culture of China and neighboring nations. It is said to have been introduced to Japan around the fifth century. The first published edition of Rongo in Japan was made in Sakai, a city in present-day Ōsaka Prefecture, in the 19th year of the Shōhei period (1364), and is known as the Shōhei version. The wood blocks of the first edition disappeared in early days ...
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Lotus Sutra
The practice of printing Buddhist scriptures on the reverse of letters from the deceased to pray for the repose of his or her soul became common from the end of the Heian period (late 12th century) onward. The scrolls shown here contain the text of a Buddhist sutra called Myōhō renge-kyō (Lotus sutra). They are printed on the reverse of letters sent from Daitō Genchi, the second abbot of Kakuon-ji Temple in Kamakura. It is believed that Hōjō Sadatoki’s wife, to whom the letters are addressed, and some others ...
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Buddhist Sutra “Jū-issai-fukutoku-zanmai-kyō”
The hand copying of Buddhist sutras was believed to confer great merit and spiritual benefit, so that from the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the sixth century, numerous manuscripts were reproduced throughout the country. Shown here is a volume from the hand-copied Issai-kyō (a Buddhist corpus) commissioned by the Empress Kōmyō (701−60), wife of the Emperor Shōmu, to pray for the repose of her parents, Fujiwara no Fuhito and Tachibana no Michiyo. The work commissioned by the empress amounts to about 7,000 volumes, which include almost all ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Completion of Mere Ideation
In Japan temples were the center of publishing until the Middle Ages. The Kasuga edition of the Buddhist scriptures was produced at the Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara. These scrolls, from that edition, contain the text of Jōyuishikiron (The completion of mere ideation), a commentary on the work by the Indian scholar Seshin (Vasubandhu in Sanskrit) known as Yuishiki sanjūju (Triṃśikā-vijñapti-kārikā in Sanskrit, Weishi sanshi song in Chinese). The commentary was translated into Chinese during the Tang dynasty by a Chinese monk named Xuanzang. It was a canon of the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Analects of Confucius
Rongo (Analects) is famed as the collection of the words and deeds of Confucius and has greatly influenced the culture of China and neighboring nations as the most cherished scripture of Confucianism. It is said to have been introduced to Japan around the fifth century. This work is called the “Tenmon version,” the second version of the published Rongo in Japan after the Rongo shikkai (known as the Shōhei version) first published in Japan in the 19th year of the Shōhei era (1364). The Tenmon Analects were published in the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Military Epic about the Life of Yoshitsune
Gikei ki tells a fictional story based on the life of Minamoto Yoshitsune, a famous military commander of the 12th century. In the book, Yoshitsune’s elder brother Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun in the history of Japan, becomes suspicious of his younger brother’s ambition after his glorious victories in a series of battles. By order of Yoritomo, Yoshitsune is expelled from Kyoto, hounded, and finally forced to commit suicide. The tragic story of Yoshitsune has long been popular in Japan and was often described in novels and dramas ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Buddhist Sutra “Bimashōkyō”
The hand copying of Buddhist sutras was believed to confer great merit and spiritual benefit, so that from the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the sixth century numerous manuscripts were reproduced throughout the country. In the late Heian period, there arose the Mappō (age of Dharma decline) doctrine, which held that Buddhist teaching, and consequently the protection of Buddha, would decline. At a time of religious pessimism coupled with the very real decline of the aristocracy, many court nobles sought to attain the after-death passage to the Pure Land ...
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Story of the Moon and the Sun
Tsukimitsu no sōshi (Story of the moon and the sun) is one of the otogizōshi, Japanese fairy tales of the Muromachi period (1336−1573). In the story, Hō’ō and Sansō, sons of a very wealthy man in Magada-koku, Tenjiku (an old name for India), were exiled by their stepmother to Shiomizu Island. Their dead birth mother changes herself into a large bird of paradise in order to protect and raise them. The boys eventually are rescued by their father, and grow up to be tsuki (the moon) and hi ...
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A Collection of Japanese Paintings
This picture book is by Hishikawa Moronobu (died 1694) a representative artist in the earliest days of ukiyo-e. It consists of 20 pictures depicting popular scenes from classical Japanese literature, including Ise monogatari (The tales of Ise), Genji monogatari (The tale of Genji), and yōkyoku (chants of Noh plays). Moronobu was the first artist who put his signature on printed books. On the colophon of this work, he identifies himself as Yamato-e-shi (artist of classical Japanese paintings), thereby showing his professional confidence in himself as an artist. The National Diet ...
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The Sanmai-bashi Bridges in Ueno
This nishiki-e (Japanese multicolored woodblock print of ukiyo-e) depicts beautiful women coming and going in front of the Sanmai-bashi Bridges (“three bridges side by side”) in Ueno-hirokōji, Edo (present-day Tokyo). Cherry trees in the woods around Kan’ei-ji Temple can be seen in the distance. Kan’ei-ji Temple was well known as the best cherry blossom-viewing spot in the city of Edo, and even now, many people visit it in the cherry blossom season. In the foreground are the three bridges side by side. The women appear to be taking ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Beauties of Yoshiwara
Seirō Bijin Awase (Beauties of Yoshiwara) is one of the finest multicolored woodblock printed books in Japan. It was published in 1770. The book depicts 166 courtesans of the Yoshiwara, the pleasure quarter in Edo (present-day Tokyo), with the names of the courtesans and the brothels where they worked, with a haiku (a short poem) in the background of each illustration. The work consists of five sections in five chapters. The original title slip on which the book title and the volume title were printed is attached to the center ...
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Japan
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Japan is Number 73 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Written by John Harington Gubbins (1852−1929), a former British Foreign Office official and secretary of the British Legation in ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Girl's Day
The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This print is one sheet of an illustrated book from between 1716 and 1736. It shows three richly dressed women or girls eating and drinking, probably celebrating Hina Matsuri (Girl's day ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
First Nerchinsk Regiment of Zabaikal Cossack Troops
The First Nerchinsk Cossack Regiment was created in 1898 on the basis of the First Chita Regiment. In May 1899, the regiment was relocated from Chita to the Ussuriisk Region. In 1900, it was sent to Manchuria in connection with Russia’s participation in the European effort to quell the Boxer Rebellion, an uprising against foreign influence in China. The regiment later participated in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 before returning to Chita after a six-year absence. This book is a historical outline of the regiment’s activities in 1898-1906 ...
Contributed by Russian State Library
7th War Loan. Now--All Together
C.C. Beall (1892-1967) was a commercial illustrator who drew comics and book covers. He based the image on this World War II war loan poster on the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of the second American flag to be raised on Iwo Jima. The photo made a huge impact after being published as part of news reports on the battle. This poster was part of the campaign for a 7th War Loan subscription, which took place in May 1945, just days after victory in Europe. Officials were concerned that the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Memoirs and Travels of Mauritius Augustus Count de Benyowsky: Consisting of His Military Operations in Poland, His Exile into Kamchatka, His Escape and Voyage from that Peninsula through the Northern Pacific Ocean, Touching at Japan and Formosa, to Canton in China, with an Account of the French Settlement He Was Appointed to Form upon the Island of Madagascar
Maurice Benyowsky (1741 or 1746-1786) was born near Trnava in present-day Slovakia, at the time part of Hungary and the Austrian Empire. After service in the Austrian Army, he joined a Polish nationalist movement fighting for freedom against Russia. He was arrested and exiled to Kamchatka in the Russian Far East. He escaped captivity and undertook an expedition to explore Kamchatka and the North Pacific. In 1772, he made his way to France, where he secured permission from King Louis XV to establish trading posts on Madagascar. In Paris, he ...
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A Voyage Down the Amoor: With a Land Journey through Siberia, and Incidental Notices of Manchooria, Kamschatka, and Japan
Perry McDonough Collins was appointed the American Commercial Agent to the Amur River in March 1856. He arrived at his post in Irkutsk in January 1857 after a 35-day overland journey from Moscow. On June 4, 1857, he began a trip down the Amur River, which forms the border between the Russian Far East and northeastern China. On July 10, he arrived at the mouth of the river, becoming the first American to sail its course. In March 1858 Collins sent a report to the U.S. Department of State ...
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Dharma Wonder Boy
This early-18th century work by an unknown artist is a typical example of Nara-ehon, the illustrated manuscripts or hand-printed scrolls and books produced in Japan from the Muromachi (1333-1573) through the mid-Edo (1615-1868) periods. The Hōmyō dōji is originally an East Indian story with roots in Buddhism. Like many such stories, it begins with the characteristic phrase, “Once upon a time in the land of the Buddha...” It goes on to tell the story of a child who was chosen to become a sacrifice for a giant snake. The child ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: Commentary on Key Words and Phrases, Volumes 55-57
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: Genealogy, Volume 58
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Tale of Genji: A Sequel, Volume 59
Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji) is often considered the first great novel in world literature. The author of the work, Murasaki Shibuku, was born around 978 and spent most of her life at or near the imperial court in Kyoto. After a brief marriage to an older man, she entered the service of Empress Akiko (or Shōshi) around 1005 as a lady-in-waiting. The novel consists of 54 books or chapters that recount the life and romances of Prince Genji, the young, handsome, and talented son of an emperor. The novel ...
Contributed by Library of Congress