aohon 青本
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
An Edo period illustrated book of popular fiction *kusazoushi 草双紙, with a cover *hyoushi 表紙, that is yellowish-green in color *moegi-iro 萌葱色. Thought to have originated around the same time as the *kurohon 黒本, and to have flourished from around 1744-74. The stories were geared primarily toward young readers, and included plots adapted from *kabuki 歌舞伎 plays, joururi 浄瑠璃 ballads, martial stories and subjects, gunkimono 軍記物, and tales of vengeance, adauchimono 仇討物. Aohon were printed on inexpensive half-size *hansetsu 半切, paper in the form of slim booklets, each with five folded pages stitched together at the cut edges. Each book had a front and back cover, with a title strip *daisen 題簽, affixed to the front cover. Pictures might be assigned to one side of the double page or leaf, or else there would be double-page illustrations on facing pages with explanatory text. The woodblock printed pictures were somewhat more important than the text. It was customary for the artists to write the texts themselves, although with the aohon of Kansuidou Joua 観水堂丈阿 (fl. ca. 1750-60), the author and artist were acknowledged separately for the first time. Among author-artists or print designers of aohon were Tomikawa Fusanobu 富川房信 (Ginsetsu 吟雪; fl. 1750-70), and the Torii artists *Toriiha 鳥居派, Torii Kiyomasu 2 二代鳥居清倍 (1706-63), Kiyomitsu 清満 (1735-85), and Kiyotsune 清経 (fl. 1757-79). Works by Fusanobu and Kiyomasu were particularly prevalent. Fusanobu produced over two hundred aohon and kurohon, including the 1771 RYUUGUU SOGA MONOGATARI 龍宮曽我物語 in which he followed the plot of traditional historical narratives, but placed the characters in a totally fanciful setting. This was a device commonly used by later kusazoushi writers. Aohon followed *akahon 赤本 and preceeded *kibyoushi 黄表紙 in the development of illustrated popular fiction.


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