A Book Worm








本書は復刻版ですが、天保のオリジナルがほしいというなら、60万円ほどで取引されています。実は、続編も刊行されていて、こちらの方は数が少なく、市場にでれば、状態にもよりますが 200万円くらいになります。

  • No.016
  • “Sekka Zusetsu” Doi Toshitsura
  • TUESDAY, 19th NOVEMBER, 2013 by Yoshiyuki Morioka

Jimbocho is famous as a town with close to 200 bookstores, but as this town is almost unparalleled in the world, it is also famous as a tourist spot for foreigners visiting Japan.
When I worked in a used bookshop in Jimbocho and was watching the shop, foreign tourists often asked me about books.

I was asked about all fields – everything from chinaware to architecture to Zen – but by far the most asked question was about Ukiyo-e. Prints by Hokusai or Hiroshige were great gifts. They are for sure the best gifts as memorabilia from Japan. Not many customers sought books on family crests, but I recall there being one. I got the feeling that he was looking for it as a design source. I had the trump card for his request for a book on family crests.

That trump card was the“Sekka Zusetsu”I’m presenting this time. Sekka Zusetsu is a pictorial book of snow crystals authored by the fourth vassal lord of Koga (modern Koga-shi in Ibaraki Prefecture), Doi Toshitsura in the 3rd year of Tenpo (1832). It is an extremely beautiful book in which 86 types of snow crystals that Doshitsura spent 20 years observing are recorded.

Although it of course isn’t a book on family crests, the customer was without a doubt overjoyed with its Japanese and natural science image.
This book is a reprint, but if you want the original Tenpo edition, you can bargain for it for as much as 600,000 yen. In fact, the sequel edition was printed in fewer numbers and costs as much as 2,000,000 yen depending on its condition.
However, the original book is online, so it can be viewed more easily. These designs are from almost 140 years ago, and yet if put on T-shirts or stoles they could be a very beautiful item.