1698. Item #89955
[EHON - UKIYOZÔSHI] Hayashi RAZAN, author. Eari KAIDAN ZENSHO 5 volumes. Edo & Kyôto, Genroku 11 . 25.1 x 17.6 cm. String- bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Hayashi Razan was the Confucian tutor of the third Tokugawa shogun and translated the KAIDAN ZENSHO from Chinese sources in 1627, adding some Japanese legendary material and domesticating the tales in general. It circulated in manuscript for most of the 17th century as a very influential literary genre source. It appears to have first been printed in Kyôto and Edo as this set was, in Genroku 11.
This is the seminal work of the "spooky story" genre in Japan. Selected from a variety of tales, many of which used animals to represent failures in Neo-Confucian virtue, it served as a foundational element of the KAIDAN genre in Japan. Why is it in a humor list? For many of the same reasons snakes and ants are both considered “mushi” (insects) in Japan. KAIDAN, or “Monster Tales,” fit in with tales of the Demi-Monde, the wonderful distorted humans of TOBA-E, scatology, erotic shunga, shunga parodies and “mitate” (ukiyo-e parody pictures), which often reference the most sober and didactic East Asian cultural elements in a burlesque fashion. The purpose was some amalgam of eroticism, naughtiness, certainly humor, and perhaps just a touch of social commentary about the hypocrisies of any society. Disguised - such criticism was not welcomed.
Illustrated with b+w woodblock in the tradition of the ukiyo zôshi. Our copy is a bit thumbed, but in a nice impression, with the original worn covers and printed paper title labels. All in a custom clasped chitsu case.