unusual book: Crime and Punisment in Modern Japan

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Posted by Mark Waldman on February 19, 2002 at 10:03:19:

I am seeking information on a Japanese book I recently acquired that I believe is called "Crime and Punishment in Modern Japan" circa 1894. It is a folding book of 60 numbered double pages, 10"x7" when folded (1 1/2 inches thick when closed, no cover. On each one is a colored scene which I believe is offset or lithograph drawing, done in the style of a woodblock. Each diptyph shows various people, samarais and geishas depicting acts of crime and capture by authorities. The first double page, for example, has the English number "1" in the left upper corner and depicts a geisha kneeling in front of a musical instrument and opening a purse, with another woman watching behind a screen with a nature scene printed in black and white (colors are pale yellow, green, tan, black and blue, with some orange used for fire; some lips and wounds appear to be handpainted with red). Japanese text is written across the top, and on the bottom, in English, is written in script "A singing girl's theft." Other scenes include arresting criminals, tying up criminals in unusual, almost kabuki style contorted positions, prisoners, brandings on criminal's arms, executions (including burning at the stake and crucifictions), etc. The last several pages show modern police and prisons in black and white drawings. There are also 7 pages of notes and a cover page (email me for a downloadable picture, since I don't know how to upload one to this site).
What information does anyone have on such a book? Are there many others that pictorially show similar the changes in Japanese life of the late 1800s and early 20th century? If this is offset, when was it introduced in Japan?


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