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Souvenir Prints

SP1 (basic)

SP1 (advertising)

SP1 (dedication)

SP2-0 (original painting)


SP2-b (greeting)

SP3 (detail)

SP4 (detail)

After World War II Rakusan created or adapted the four basic designs in this gallery as woodblock prints composed to accommodate secondary text. Subsequently added text included his Western style name, address, other advertising, or holiday greetings; as well as personal dedications in Japanese scripts.

Although related in purpose and similar in format, these designs were not overtly designated by Rakusan as comprising a formal series. However, their association and grouping is original to Rakusan who kept a few examples of all four designs within a single folder in his personal collection. For convenient reference here these designs are called Souvenir Prints and have been assigned temporary numbers beginning with SP.

Almost all documented examples of Rakusan souvenir prints are variously emended copies of SP1. Hundreds of copies of this popular design were printed, inscribed, and distributed, primarily between 1947 and 1956. The numbers of copies of SP1 approach or surpass those of the best known major series Rakusan designs.

In contrast the other three designs are almost unknown apart from the original folder in the Tsuchiya family collection. This folder includes what are currently the only documented examples of SP2-b (both with and without the greeting), SP3, and SP4; as well as a very few copies of SP1 with unique advertising text and/or accidentally spoiled dedications and markings. SP2-a is known only from a single circulated copy, but an example of this version is missing from the folder. It is therefore possible that additional souvenir print designs or versions could still remain to be discovered.

[Click on the thumbnail to bring up a subpage which includes a larger image of the design, additional details and images, and links to related designs.]

© 2012 (revisions © 2015, © 2022) Dr Michael J P Nichols

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