Ikuno Ginzan Kogi den [trans.: Model Citizens at the Ikuno Silver Mine]
by OGAWA, Gansho
Four fine double-page woodcuts. 43 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. wrappers (wrappers a little rubbed & tired, minor & mostly marginal worming at front & back), part of the orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. [Ikuno]: 1849. First edition of this most uncommon and interesting book on the Ikuno silver mine in Hyogo Prefecture. Silver was mined there from the 16th century until the late 20th century and was an important source of income for the central government. The town of Ikuno greatly increased in size due to the mining activities and a school for the children of samurai and government officials was created. This school - Reitakukan - instructed the children in academics, ethical behavior, and the local industries. A series of textbooks was published by the school over the years for the students; this is one such example. This work was written at the request of the prefectural governor, Katsuda (or Katsuta). He asked Ogawa to select and describe citizens of the town who demonstrated high ethical behavior. In this book, Ogawa describes 13 men and women who qualified in various ways (honesty, generosity, faithfulness to one's husband, filial piety, etc.), in spite of suffering various illnesses, many of which seem clearly related to the mining activities of the area. Following this, there is a section entitled "Kaiko ryakuki" [trans.: "History of the Ikuno Silver Mine"]. Here, Ogawa provides an account of the natural history of the area, mining activities (with woodcut illustrations of miners in shafts), panning for gold by women, the various kinds of minerals found in the mines, etc. In the text, there is a long passage on silicosis ("endoku" or "yoroke"), the occupational lung disease common to miners. Ogawa describes the symptoms of miners' phthisis due to inhaled mineral dust and smoke and offers a recipe for a medicine which would prevent the illness from developing. He notes that miners died very young and only a few of them exceeded thirty years of age. Ogawa (1812-84), taught at the Ikuno school for many years. Very good copy. WorldCat locates only a 1910 reprint.
(Inventory #: 6085)
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