Sagabon, Ise Monogatari (Tales of Ise)

On exhibit


No. 70474

The earliest Kokatsuji (old movable type) book of Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise). Sagabon refers to books which Suminokura Soan published in Sagano, Kyoto, in the Keicho era. Soan was a wealthy merchant from Kyoto who engaged in international commerce(vermilion seal ship trade) and excavated the river Takasegawa, and he was also an excellent calligrapher with knowledge of Confucianism. Characteristics of Sagabon were 1) wooden movable types carved with Chinese characters in a semi-cursive or cursive style and Japanese hiragana characters were used, 2) wooden types include not only single type but also Renmentai movable types (consecutive carving wooden movable types blocks) of double-, triple-, and quadruple- sized ones., 3) luxurious designs were applied to the paper and binding, and 4) in Sagabon, books of Japanese literature were printed. Also, it is said that this book is the first book of Japanese literature with printed illustrations. The artist who drew the illustrations is said to be Kano Ichiun. The colophon of this book has a handwritten paraph of Nakanoin Michikatsu who was a classicist and a court noble.