Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal B2
[The first documented use of seal B2 is on the two 1937 winter cards. It is the bottom half of seal B used as an independent seal.]
[For illustration of seals, see the Seals article.]
This specially commissioned woodblock print was modeled on an original painting on paper about two or three times larger whose current location is unknown.
Mr. Masao Morikawa was for many years the Secretary to the President of Doshisha University in Kyoto.
He was also Rakusan's long-time friend and one of his important and influential local patrons.
In 1937 Morikawa commissioned Rakusan to produce a winter card design (WC1937A) for himself, and another (WC1937B) for the then-President, Hachiro Yuasa.
The WC1937B card was sent out by President Yuasa in his official capacity as President of Doshisha University to his Western friends and professional contacts.
The heavyweight card stock is single-folded and the cover has an embossed well into which the woodblock print is tipped.
The card is formatted with the proportions of the mounting for a hanging scroll: wide margins above and below the well and very narrow margins on each side of it.
The woodblock print has also been trimmed to narrow margins to fit comfortably within the well.
The WC1937B card stock has machine-printed text on both sides of the interior fold.
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 print to the cover.
For the inside of the WC1937B card Mr. Morikawa provided the text of a holiday greeting and a description of the design.
The title used here for WC1937B is taken from this description since, apart from the Rakusan signature and seal combination, no identification or other printing appears on the print itself.
Inside on the right side is machine-printed:
THE SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM PRESIDENT HACHIRO YUASA
DOSHISHA UNIVERSITY 1937 KYOTO, JAPAN
Inside on the left side is machine-printed:
THE KING DORMITORY
COLLEGE OF COMMERCE
GIVEN BY PRESIDENT STANLEY KING OF AMHERST
COLLEGE IN 1930 IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER,
JUDGE HENRY AMASA KING.
REBUILT IN 1935 AFTER THE DISASTROUS
TYPHOON OF 1934. THIS PRINT WAS DONE BY
RAKUSAN TSUCHIYA OF KYOTO.
The King Dormitory building was not a recognizable tourist destination, and the design would not necessarily have had wider sales appeal. Therefore WC1937B was apparently never reprinted, and copies are rarely encountered today.
The year 1937 marked the start of World War II in East Asia and contacts with individual Westerners fell off dramatically.
Therefore for any subsequent winter cards the dating of their first publications are conjectural.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Doshisha Archives Center, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan; [not illustrated online but on permanent display in a building hallway]
When it was built, King Dormitory was beyond the northern outskirts of Kyoto.
Today the area once occupied by its College of Commerce is now part of the enlarged Iwakura Campus of Doshisha University, and the surrounding area is completely built up. In 1977 the university trustees authorized the removal of the King Dormitory building to make room for new construction.
As with the choice of the Doshisha location for WC1936, the need to advertise and acknowledge a very generous gift was undoubtedly the reason for this choice of subject for WC1937B.