A dear friend is, like me, organizing her books – an exercise in realizing that we don’t live in eternity and must be realistic about what we can still accomplish, so get rid of most. She asked me if I would be interested in some titles and so she sent me four books for which I now have to find some place. Among these is a MS by Henry L. Joly and Inada Hogitaro, The Books of Goblins and Fantastic Dreams of Toriyama Sekiyen Toyofusa, dated Feb-Mch 1909, and apparently unpublished. 

We know Joly (1876-1920) as a professional electrical engineer and chemist with a great love for Japan, authoring his Legend in Japanese Art (1908), the just fabulous Red Cross Exhibition Catalogue (1915), his catalogue of the Behrens Collection (1913), and quite some works on signatures on tsuba and netsuke and on swords. Inada (died 1940) is probably best-known for the still invaluable Japanese Names and How to Read Them (1923) together with Koop, but also for his cataloguing of the prints exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in the years 1909 to 1914.

They decided to make full translations, with occasional annotations, of the four books that Toriyama Sekien 鳥山石燕 (1712-1788) devoted to ghosts, goblins and apparitions, in their transcription the Yedzu Hiakki Yagio (1776), Hiakki Tsure Dzure Fukuro (1784), Konjaku Zoku Hiakki (1779), and Hiakki Yagio Shui (1781). According to a preliminary note “The following translations are taken from our copies, once in the library of Félix Regamey, who had numbered the pages consecutively from 1 to 260, including all prefaces and postfaces.”

The Nure Onna Courtesy Smithsonian Institution, Washington

Isn’t it funny to realize that Emile Guimet and Félix Regamey were together traveling Japan, Guimet searching images of Gods for what is now the Panthéon Bouddhique as an annex to the Musée Guimet in Paris, while Regamey was hunting for ghosts and goblins. Anyway, I thought it might be good to create some kind of sub-blog titled, for example, A Ghost A’day Keeps the Doctor Away — until I searched the internet to see whether ‘Sekien ghosts’ would give some result. And lo, there I found that Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda already in 2017 published their Japan Pandemonium Illustrated. The Yokai Encyclopedias of Toriyama Sekien. So I ordered a copy that will arrive in a few weeks. Now, I decided to only publish the Joly/Inada translations of the prefaces and postfaces instead, hoping you may like them and possibly also get interested in the Alt & Yoda book. 

The first work in the series that Sekien composed, is the Hyakki yagyō 百鬼夜行 in 3 vols hanshibon, of 1776, also known as Gazu hyakki yagyō 畫圖百鬼夜行 and Ehon hyakki 繪本百鬼.

Vol 1 – 10 sh: 3 pp pref signed Tōto xxshi Shiyō Shujin Rōsan 東都□士紫陽主人老蠶 dated Anei kinoto hitsuji no fuyu  安永乙未冬 (Winter of 1775); 1 p contents; 1 p calligraphy In 陰 (the negative principle) by Rōsan 老蠶; 2 pp frontispiece: portraits of Jō and Uba as the ‘Tree Spirits’; 13 pp ills. Vol 2 – 12 sh: 1 p calligraphy 陽 (the positive principle); 1 p contents; 22 pp ills. Vol 3 – 10 sh: 1 p calligraphy 風 (Wind); 1 p contents; 15 pp ills; 2 pp postface signed Sekien Gessō no shita, s: Toriyama uji, Toyofusa 石燕月窓下 印:鳥山氏, 豊房, dated kinoto no hitsuji no aki kikugatsu 乙未乃秋菊月 (Autumn, IX/1775); 1 p colophon: Toriyama Sekien Toyofusa 鳥山石燕豊房/ assisted by his pupils 校合門人 Shikō 子興 (Eishōsai Chōki 栄松齋長喜)/ Gessha 月沙/ an announcement for a sequel to be cut soon 畫圖百鬼夜行後編 近刻/ block-cutter Machida Sukeemon 彫工 町田助右衛門/ Anei go hinoto saru no haru 安永五丙申春 (I/1776)/ publ Izumoji Izuminojō 御書房 出雲寺和泉掾/ Enshūya Yashichi 書林 遠州屋弥七, both in Edo.

The preface reads:

There are extraordinary changes in nature so that a stone may become a sparrow and a fude [brush] may change into a grasshopper. Toriyama Sekiyen has followed the avocation of a painter for many years and his brush changes also in many ways as he depicts almost everything that is known in nature.

He published Toriyama Biko 彦 some time ago [also known as Sekien gafu 石燕画譜, 1773] as everyone knows, now he is going to publish another one after Hiakki Yagio [Nightly Parade of a Hundred Ghosts] of old pictures, changing and revising (them). It is divided into six volumes numbered In Yo Fu 風 U 雨 Kwai Mei (negative, positive, wind, rain, darkness, brightness).

These books are entitled Yedzu Hiakki Yagio, he then asked me for a preface, & I could not refuse his request as we have been good friends for many years in poetry meetings, only I hesitated because of the maxim of Confucius (Kunshi wa) Kwai Roku Ran Shin (wo katarazu) (well bred people) dare not talk about Bakemono – (Rongo [the Analects of Confucius])

Written in the winter of Anyei, Sheep year [1775]

Shio Shujin Rosan 紫陽主人老蠶

Then there is a Postface (Batsu)

Poetry is the expression of feelings in words (voice) and painting is poetry without words, there is ”sight” but no voice but it gives all kinds of expressions and feelings as well to anyone who understands it.

As there were SanKaiKyō 山海經 in China and Hiakki Yagio by Motonobu [the painter Kanō Motonobu 狩野元信 1476-1559] in this country already and I dared to draw these pictures I was requested by a publisher to let him print them, and he was so earnest in his desire that I have decided to let them be transferred onto cherry wood blocks, in the hope that they may interest all children.

Sheep year, autumn, Kikuzuki (September [IX/1775]) under moonlight windows (1)

Sekiyen (Toriyama) Jibatsu (2) [石燕自跋]

1 – name of studio, Gessō no moto (ni oite) [月窓元]

2 – self postface 

This is a long one for the moment, but maybe it may incite you to want to know more and order the Alt & Yoda book. And I will soon come back to the prefaces to the three sequels that Sekien made.