The book that I chose to discuss for this post is an unusual one. It may have listed the title and other details of the book, but it is in Japanese. While I studied Japanese in my undergrad program, it has been a while, and I only got to the fourth class for Japanese language. Needless to say, I could not read any of it. Luckily, the book consisted of mainly illustrations, with only a little bit of Japanese text at the beginning of some of the volumes.
The book itself was nearly impossible to find online. However, through the use of technology, I was able to use the photos I took to use Google Lens on what appears to be the title page. A rough translation, assuming Google translate was correct, is “A Hundred Rules of Flower Arrangement.”
The book consists of four volumes, one for each season: spring, summer, fall, and winter. When I used this title and the year of publication (1959) little came up, so this seems to be a rare find. The only sites where I found this book were that of a Japanese auction house and on Amazon.
The structure of the book is quite interesting. It consists of four volumes housed in a wrap-around case, called a Hako Chitsu. Hako Chitsu cases first developed in the beginning of the Meiji Era, which lasted from 1868-1889. They were made from stiff cardboard and covered in cloth. The hooks that keep the boxes closed are called kohaze and are traditionally made of bone. The four volumes inside the case are in a Japanese binding technique called Yamato, which dates to the twelfth century.
(For more information on Japanese bookbinding techniques, see this article on the Web site of the American Bookbinders Museum.)
I found it quite interesting that even though this style of binding was not particularly popular in the mid-twentieth century, it was nonetheless used for this set of volumes. My guess is that this is because the book is about Ikebana, the art of flower arranging, which goes back to roughly the 1480s in Japan, and so the publishers chose a historical binding style to suit the topic.
The images of flower arrangements, which make up most of the books contents, are color lithographs, which is evident because of the noticeable patterns of small circles in some of the areas of color.
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