Important acquisitions

Sights and Scenes on the Tokaido.

Author Kazumasa Ogawa & James Murdoch
Title Sights and Scenes on the Tokaido.
Imprint Tokyo: K. Ogawa
Date of Publication 1892
Language English
Notes This handsome volume was one of a series of views of Japan that the pioneering photographer, Kazumasa Ogawa (1860-1930) produced in the 1890s. Ogawa set out to photograph a Japanese society that was rapidly vanishing. His images recorded Japanese life, customs, culture and scenery at a time when Japan was modernising after emerging from self-imposed isolation during the second half of the 19th century. The photographs were then reproduced using the collotype process, a high quality photomechanical process capable of creating sharp images with a wide variety of tones. Ogawa published and printed all of the collotypes personally from the original prints, becoming a master of the process. His collotype books all had distinctive paper covers, lithographed in colour with a repeating pattern of concentric overlapping half circles, stylized clouds with leaves inside and breaking waves in silver. This particular book traces the route of the historic Tokaido (Road of the Eastern Sea) which starts in Tokyo and follows the Pacific coast for 320 miles where it joins the Nakasendo (Central Mountain Road) at Kusatsu. There are 20 black and white collotype plates containing a total of 44 images based on photographs by Ogawa himself, another Japanese photographer, Kusakabe Kimbei, the Italian photographer Adolfo Farsari, and also one by a Scot, William K. Burton (William Kinnimond Burton, an engineer and photographer, who in 1887 was appointed as first professor of sanitary engineering at Tokyo Imperial University). Ogawa clearly had an international readership in mind for his books. For the descriptive text in English which accompanied each plate of this book, he turned to another ex-pat Scot based in Japan, James Murdoch (1856-1921). Murdoch was born in Kincardineshire; from humble origins he was able to graduate M.A. with first-class honours in classics in 1879 from Aberdeen University and take up a scholarship at Oxford. After returning to Aberdeen he then emigrated to Australia in 1881, where he worked as a teacher and journalist. In 1889 he became a lecturer in European history at the First Higher School in Tokyo, an elite institution which young men attended before entering Tokyo Imperial University. His job gave him time to pursue a literary career as well, including writing a novel, "Ayame-san", which was published in Japan and London. Apart from a brief spell in South America and London, Murdoch remained in Japan until 1917, marrying a Japanese woman and working in various teaching jobs. He wrote three volumes of a history of the country before returning to Australia where he taught Japanese. The volume was acquired by NLS when the library of the 17th Earl of Perth was sold at auction in 2012.
Shelfmark FB.l.408
Reference Sources http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/ogawa/ogawa_tokaido.shtml; Australian Dictionary of Biography
Acquired on 31/08/12
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