Re: Western clocks in 19th century Japan - addendum

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Posted by Hans Olof Johansson on November 06, 2002 at 10:42:12:

In Reply to: Re: Western clocks in 19th century Japan posted by Hans Olof on November 06, 2002 at 09:10:58:


Trying to delve a little deeper into the history of clocks in Japan, I came across this description in Japanese Names and How to Read Them, by Albert J Koop and Hogitarô Inada (Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1961), p 47-48:

HOURS. - Under the old system (abolished as from 1873 in favour of the Western chronology) the Japanese day was divided into two parts: (1) from sunrise to sunset, and (2) from sunset to the next sunrise. Each of these parts was divided into six equal 'hours' or, rather, intervals of two hours (more or less); these were called toki or, in comosition, -ji. Obviously, in winter the night 'hours' would be of greater length than the day 'hours', and vice versa in summer, the proportionate graduations being in practice calculated for the beginning of each half-month and remaining constant for that period.

There is also an interesting footnote:

Clocks were regulated in two ways: either the dial-signs were fixed and the movement regulated at intervals throughout the year, or the movement was constant and the dial-signs capable of being pushed backwards or forwards as required.

The answer to your question why Kunichika depicted the clock like he did, could well be that he did so because the clock really looked like this. It may in fact be a Japanese 24-hour clock with Roman numerals, that have been adjusted for the actual time of daylight.

Best regards,
Hans Olof

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