1698. Item #89955
Hayashi Razan 林羅山, author
(Eari 絵有) Kaidan Zensho 怪談全書 [Ukiyozōshi 浮世草子], 5 vols.
Edo & Kyoto
Genroku 元禄 11 
25.1 x 17.6 cm. String- bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. (Hayashi Razan 林羅山 (1583-1657) was the Confucian tutor of the third Tokugawa shogun and translated the Kaidan Zensho 怪談全書 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 Kyoto and Edo as this set was, in Genroku 元禄 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. Kaidan 怪談, or “Monster Tales,” fit in with tales of the Demi-Monde, the wonderful distorted humans of Toba-E 鳥羽絵, scatology, erotic shunga, shunga parodies and “mitate” 見立絵 (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 - as such criticism was not welcomed.
Illustrated with b+w woodblock in the tradition of the ukiyo zôshi 浮世草子. 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.