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ALLEN, Charles Bruce; Murata Fumio & Yamada Koichiro. - [Seiyo Kasaku Hinagata].

Tokyo, Gyokuzando 1872 (Meiji 5). Four volumes 23x15cm publisher's wrappers with printed title labels. Illustrations through the text and full page plates - copper engravings. Labels rubbed and mildly chipped; a rather good copy. ¶ The first western architecture book published in Japan. I'm intrigued by the choice of the modest 'Cottage Building, or hints for improving the dwellings of the labouring classes' - one of Weale's utilitarian Rudimentary Treatises. Why not European grandeur? American mass production? Allen's small book first appeared in 1849-50 and remained in print, progressively updated, into the 20th century. This translation was made from the 1867, sixth edition. A sensible enough choice I guess, but when has sense played any part in the introduction of new ideas? Murata Fumio edited 'Seiyo Bunkenroku' (1869 &c) - based on the reports of the Takenouchi mission of 1862 - which focused on England so the connection is clear enough. That there was any significant group pushing for philanthropic reform this early in the Meiji restoration comes as a surprise to me; perhaps this book was chosen as a slap in the face to the opponents of westernisation and modernisation. Ostensibly it was a response to the 1872 Tokyo fire. Allen's book was given by an Englishman to the translator as useful for information on fire-proof buildings. Could it be that simple? Worldcat finds no copy outside Japan - Columbia apparently has a later reprint. A search of the specialist libraries I can think of found no more.
AUD 1500.00 [Appr.: EURO 904.75 US$ 946.89 | £UK 785 | JP¥ 141926] Book number 10644

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