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IKEDA EISEN [AKA KEISEI EISEN]. - [Shinpan Edo no Hana Gofukuya Sugoroku]

[Tokyo], Yamashiroya Matabe [1820 - 1850?]. Woodblock print 67x46cm, printed in black, blue and pink; folded. Smudges and soiling, a couple of small chips from the top edge. A pretty decent copy. ¶ Another lesson, if we need it, that the Japanese had connected and mastered the important stuff of life long before the rest of us: advertising, fun and shopping. In this sugoroku - a racing game - Eisen takes us through the most prestigious dry goods stores and drapers - ie high fashion - of Edo (Tokyo) until we reach Ebisu and Daikokuten - gods, respectively, of merchants and wealth. In other words, who isn't this game for? Every working Edo inhabitant with a speck of ambition will want a place among the great merchants, rubbing shoulders with such gods while their wealthy patrons have confirmed that their shopping habits are blessed by the gods. The titans of fashionable commerce here include Echigoya (now Mitsukoshi), Shirokiya (which lasted some three hundred years, its ghost is a department store in Honolulu), Iwaki Sotoya, Matsuzakaya (still going), Ebisuya, Daimaru (still going), Shimaya, Sawanoi and Izukura. Eisen did more than one sugoroku: this, one of more prosaic sights of Edo, one of the Tokaido road, and an elaborate sort of fourth one - the set of courtesan prints which together form a game - are the ones I've traced. I've found two other copies of this shopping adventure, in the UC Berkeley library and in the fabulous sugoroku collection of the Edo Tokyo Museum. They are printed in yellow rather than blue.
AUD 1250.00 [Appr.: EURO 799.25 US$ 902.56 | £UK 694.25 | JP¥ 102808] Book number 9806

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