『明治畸人傳』/ “Meiji Kijin Den”

[1906], Published by Hakubun-kan

This book about erratic people was published 6 years before Meiji period ended. Those stories of eccentric people in Meiji, often feel comical and they aim to be so, but also it could be Japanese idea of stylishness.

The structure of this book that puts women’s photography and drawing in the introduction, feels like an ancestor of modern Japanese magazine.

『日本古典全集 第二回 採輯諸國風土記』正宗敦夫著/ “Nippon Koten Zenshu Vol.2 Saishu Shokoku Fudoki”, Atsuo Masamune

[1928], Published by Nippon Koten Zenshu Kanko Kai

A researcher of Japnese literature, Atsuo Masamune teamed up with Tekkan Yosano and his famous wife Akiko, on compiling the collected works of Japanese classic. They met in Okayama prefecture where Masamune was born, and started working on this Koten Zenshu. Of 266 volumes of this series, Masamune published 196 of them all by himself. This one is about “Saishu Shokoku Fudoki”, which means ancient records of provincial mythology.

『撥禁作品集』小田切秀雄編/ “Hakkin Sakuhin Shu”, Hideo Odagiri

[1948], Published by Yagumo Shoten

The editor of this book, Hideo Odagiri[1916-2000] is a literary critic who did a lot of analysis of marxist art. This early work of him is a compilation of banned piece of novels, critiques, poems and drama by other authors. Some of them were apparently too anti-government like this poem;

妻子兄弟もろともに

Wives, children and brothers, all together

最上、至善、至優、至美

The highest, the best, the most quality, the most beautiful

家庭の為にストライキ。

For my family, I strike

- 『ストライキ』小塚空谷 / Exerpt from “Strike” by Kuya Koduka

Some of them might have been banned because of sexual content, but it does not feel too explicit from the modern viewpoint.

『竹久夢二』木村毅 /”Takehisa Yumeji” by Takeshi Kimura

[1968], Published by Kobundo

Yumeji Takehisa created his own painting style called “Yumeji Shiki Bijin”, and is extremely influential in art and literatures, but he had actually never been professionally educated in designs or poems. Takeshi Kimura, an author and a friend of Takehisa from his home town Okayama, attempts to depict Takehisa’s enigmatic and unrecognized image.

『江ノ島』浅野安太郎著/ “Enoshima”, Yasutaro Asano

[1941], Published by Enoshima Shrine

Enoshima is a historically-famous scenic tombolo in Kanagawa prefecture, but this one is not a typical guidebook for it. Published by Enoshima Shrine, this book is focused on the history of the small offshore island. 

『眼で見る昭和』朝日新聞社編/ “Showa in Photographs”, The Asahi Shimbun

Showa period started in 1926 and last until 1982, and it is often difficult to define the atmosphere of the long and chaotic era. Making use of enormous pictures, this book tells the story of Showa with a convincing sense of reality.

『萬葉集』竹田祐吉著/ “Man’yoshu”, Yukichi Takeda

[1942], Published by Shibundo

"Man’yoshu" is one of the most famous Japanese classic from Nara period, which is also the oldest collections of Japanese poetry. It mean "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves" in literal sense, and was originally compiled around 759.

Yukichi Takeda, a researcher of Japanese literature, edited “Man’yoshu” for children on this book. They are only selected works and the number of pages are 209 with simplified chronological table and a little commentaries.

Yukichi is the most notable for his analysis on “Man’yoshu” and “Kojiki”; he was awarded the Japan Academy Prize for his reseach on “Man’yoshu”.

『心のあと 出盧』幸田露伴著/ “Kokoro No Ato Shutsuro”, Rohan Koda

[1905], Published by Shun’yodo

Shigeyuki Koda[1867-1947], best known as his pen name Rohan Koda is a  eminently versatile author born in Tokyo. Best known as pseudo-classicist novelist who were acquainted with Buddhism, he also wrote several annotations on Japanese classics, such as Basho Matsuo’s.(『芭蕉七部作』)

”Kokoro No Ato” is thoroughly rhythmic, written in the literary style. This little-known collection of poems beautifully shows Koda’s variant aspects as a religious scholar, an essayist and a classic researcher. It is absolutely worthy to note that he successes in emotionally expressing the sense of the Meiji period, being immensely influenced by classics at the same time.