Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal W
||+ Rakusan Tsuchiya [cursive romaji signature]
[For illustration of seals, see the Seals article.]
WC1936 was created in 1936 as the result of a special commission by Mr. Masao Morikawa, the Secretary to the President of Doshisha University in Kyoto. As part of his Doshisha duties, Morikawa handled much of the dealings with foreign visitors and potential donors. He was also a long-time personal friend and an important and influential patron of Rakusan. Morikawa often brought Doshisha guests to visit Rakusan and see his studio.
The original (and only) distribution of the WC1936 print was as the cover of a winter holiday greeting card sent out in 1936 in two versions. Morikawa had commissioned the original card for his superior, Mr. Hachiro Yuasa, the President of Doshisha University. The interior of the card sent out by Yuasa has a machine-printed, dated, holiday greeting; and a brief history of the Friend Peace House building. Since Rakusan had no machine-printing facilities of his own, the text would have been pre-printed by a commercial printer and then brought to Rakusan to attach the woodblock print to the cover.
|interior text of Yuasa version (Doshisha Archives Center)
On the left inside page:
FRIEND PEACE HOUSE
同志社布哇寮 [doushisha hawai ryou, Doshisha Hawaii Dormitory]
ESTABLISHED BY DR. AND MRS. THEODORE RICHARDS OF HONOLULU, HAWAII ON THE EAST OF THE HISTORIC OLD IMPERIAL PALACE OF KYOTO; MAINTAINED UNDER JOINT AUSPICES OF THE FRIEND PEACE SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE OF HONOLULU AND DOSHISHA UNIVERSITY; AND DEDICATED TO THE PROMOTION OF CHRISTIAN INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP AMONG THE YOUTH OF THE FAR EAST.
On the right inside page:
MR. HACHIRO YUASA SENDS CHRISTMAS GREETINGS AND THE BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR
Office of the President Doshisha University 1936 Kyoto, Japan
Morikawa adapted copies of WC1936 for his personal use by adding his own handwritten inscriptions onto to the woodblock print on the cover (see second example at top). The original card stock for President Yuasa was a larger sheet double-folded into quarters. The machine printing was on two adjacent quarters, and Morikawa was able to cut that half off, cleanly removing the pre-printed Yuasa interior text. The remaining single-folded portion had only the print on the cover, and the inside was blank. The two personalized Morikawa inscriptions are written in an informal style of all-capital block letters:
In black ink at top left within the design area of the print:
SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM THE MORIKAWAS 1936
In the bottom margin of the print in gray ink:
FRIEND PEACE HOUSE, DOSHISHA UNIVERSITY, KYOTO
Both versions come from the same first edition printing, and there is no evidence WC1936 was ever reprinted.
Friend Peace House is not a familar tourist destination, and Rakusan would have had little subsequent demand for these cards to sell as souvenirs.
As a result, copies of WC1936 of either version are rarely encountered.
(Note that the copies of the two versions used as illustrations here were photographed in different collections at different times and under different conditions, and the colors of ink and paper are actually exactly the same in both.)
Morikawa selected the design to be adapted as a woodblock-printed winter holiday greeting card from a series of sample paintings.
Morikawa chose LK3-11(see below), but it required slight modification to the composition and the addition of more colors.
The resultant revised painting WC1936-0 (LK3-12) was the eventual model for the woodblock print WC1936:
|(original painting on paper)
The image area of the resultant print includes a primary woodblock-printed 'Rakusan Tsuchiya' cursive romaji signature at lower left incorporated as part of the design.
In carving WC1936 Rakusan omitted the man passing at lower left in the WC1936-0 painting in order to provide a place for this signature.
WC1936 remains the only winter card woodblock print design for which the direct original painting prototype has been located.
This painting is more than twice the size of its woodblock print, which is unusual since all other Rakusan prints are the same size as their documented models.
This difference is no doubt due to the very small size of the finished winter card prints.
WC1936 is the only winter card print in a horizontal format; all the others are vertical.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I (Yuasa version): Doshisha Archives Center, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. [not illustrated online but on permanent display in a building hallway].
Edition I (Morikawa version): Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, USA; X1078.1-.9. [not illustrated online].
Friend Peace House, フレンドピースハウス, furendo piisu hausu
, is a historic building owned by Doshisha University which houses international students and foundation offices.
(Its official name is in Basic English, a simplified version of English sometimes taught by early missionary teachers.)
Friend Peace House has since 1936 also been called 布哇寮, ハワイ寮, hawai ryou
, 'Hawaii Dormitory'. (In 1936 (and until the end of World War II) the Japanese names for many foreign places (including Hawaii) were written with kanji. Today those names are conventionally written in katakana.)
The building was originally built as a home for a missionary family in the late 19th century across the street from the eastern edge of Kyoto Imperial Park. All of the Rakusan views of this building are of the more elegant west entrance which faces the park.
The property also extends to the next street to the east, and today there are entrances from both streets.
In 1936 Doshisha University decided to sell the building and its large lot (which is a few blocks distant from the main Imadegawa campus of the university).
However, Dr. and Mrs. Richards bought the property with the idea of renovating it and presenting it back to the university.
They paid for the renovation, repurposing, and renaming of the building and provided an endowment from their foundation.
The Richards' 1936 gift commemorated both the 25th anniversary of the Friend Peace Foundation of Hawaii and also the 60th anniversary of the founding of Doshisha University.
The building was renovated again in 1997 and was registered as a Material Cultural Asset on March 2, 2006.
The Richards Friend Peace Scholarship is still offered to Christian students in the Asia-Pacific region through the Hawaii Conference Foundation.
The magnitude of the Richards' gift (and the need to advertise and acknowledge it) no doubt led Morikawa to choose this subject for the official 1936 card.
Doshisha University, 同志社大学, doushisha daigaku, was established in 1875; and it is one of the oldest private universities in Japan. Another of its buildings figures in winter card WC1937B.