akakohon 赤小本
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. small red book. A type of *akahon 赤本. Woodblock printed picture books with red covers, apparently first published in the 17c. Some sources suggest that the books were published from the Enpou 延宝 (1673-81) to the Houei 宝延 (1704-11) eras, and may be older than the akahon in origin. The akakohon was about 12 x 9cm (as opposed to the 18 x 13cm size of akahon) with a cover *hyoushi 表紙, that is red and five or six leaves of folded double pages. They were published as one booklet or in sets of two fascicles. The text would take up approximately the upper one-fourth of each page with the illustration taking up the lower three-fourths of the page. Stories were primarily fairy tales for children. The style of illustration often followed that of Hishikawa Moronobu 菱川師宣 (ca.1618-94). One example of akakohon is a book of the Kyouhou 享保 (1716-36) era, the Nezumihanami 鼠花見, illustrated by Kondou Kiyoharu 近藤清春 (fl. ca.1704-20). The term akakohon came into use after the beginning of the Meiji period. Before that, the books were simply called kohon 小本. Around the Kyouhou era, a few very small akahon were published, called hiinamamehon 雛豆本.


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