History of cartoon
illustrated books between the 17th and the 19th century

Kabuki guidebook
Kabuki guidebook

A lot of illustrated book were published in Japan since mid-term of Edo period (1603-1867)when the long peace continued.
Such illustrated books were called "Kusazoshi", and had changed as follows.

●Red-book "aka-hon" : for children
●Black and Blue-book "Kuro-hon" , "Ao-hon" :story of the kabuki etc.
 (Kabuki is the traditional Japanese drama performed by male actors.)
●Yellow-book "Kibyo-shi":
 The theme of this book was a fashion and an event, and overflowed in the joke and the popular word.
 This book was popular in an absurd content.
 In it, there was a technique of  "Word Balloon"  connected with a modern cartoon.
 Katsushika Hokusai, known as one of the great masters of Japanese pictorial art (ukiyo-e), produced illustrations for these books in his young days.
 "Kibyo-shi" would be serious in about ten years because of the control of the shogunate, and finally became only the lesson and the morality stories (ex. revenge tragedy).
●Character-oriented book "Goukan" , "Yomi-hon"
 A lot of sentences are needed to read a complex story. In a word , jokes and styles disappeared, and it became a novel.
 The content of the book became romantic novel, and a lot of apparitions appear.
 Then, let's introduce Katsushika Hokusai's cut-in illustration. An easy story is as follows.

  Ohana and Ihei are lovers. Ohana is trafficked , and becomes the mistress of Ito. Ihei gives up Ohana, and marries ugly Osawa.
  Ihei and Ohana meet miraculously, and love revives.
  Ito starts making two people marry.
  When Ihei does mimicry that has a mania for gambling, Osawa commits suicide.
  Ohana and Ihei marry happily.

  And then,the ghost of Osawa that became a snake attacks them.

ghost of Osawa
1 The revengeful ghost of Osawa is surprised at the gun that Ihei shot.

ghost of Osawa
2 ghost of Osawa, Ihei and Ohana:Ohana doesn't see the ghost.

grudge of Osawagrudge of Osawa
3   ...deep-seated grudge of Osawa:Villagers are in fear.

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