1948. Item #90956
Kawai Kijirō 川合喜二郎. Kappaban ABC 合羽版 ABC. Sei-ensō [privately printed]. Shōwa 23 . 17.5 x 14.7cm hardcover alphabet book bound Western style opens Japanese style with a blue stencil-printed, wraparound dust wrapper of a horizontal nude female. The front wrapper has the title 合羽版 ABC [Kappaban ABC] stenciled horizontally in brown with the author’s name stenciled vertically in brown on the rear wrapper. The stenciled colophon is tipped in on the final cho and numbered 37 of 100.
The covers have a brown finish that gives the appearance of woodgrain and are stenciled in black and dark red, with the title and author’s name and a nude on the front cover and a design and “Kijiro” on the rear cover. Printed on heavy handmade paper, which appears to be coated with persimmon tannin (kakishibu 柿渋), giving it a light brown hue. There is a section of paper with English writing and a partial illustration adhered to the inner front board. Initial cho has a stencil of a bird in blue with the other side being the title page. True to its efforts as an ABC book, there is a strip of paper with arbitrary English text and a partial illustration adhered to the inner front pastedown. We have seen other copies with the same feature and a different scrap of text. A total of  cho. The following  cho serve as an index, with the word for that letter of the alphabet in English, from Angel to Zeppelin, with its equivalent in Japanese and an explanation below it.  cho follow, each side featuring a multicolor stenciled English word with a corresponding stencil image. Some of the words are typical for an alphabet book, such as “Butterfly,” “King” and “Moon,” while others are more unexpected, such as “Pistol” and “Negro.” The alphabet pages have a gray line across the top and bottom edge of the page while the index pages have a red line at the top edge and the middle of the page.
Good condition. A lovely version of an ABC book that highlights the lost stencil artform of Kappaban 合羽版, also known as kappazuri 合羽摺 or katagamizuri 型紙摺. A wonderful production, particularly unusual in early postwar Japan.