Shosō 書窓 (Window on Books) - Conceived and Designed by Onchi Kōshirō
IHL Cat. #2652
The magazine Shosō 書窓, seen translated as "Window on Books", "Window for Books" and "Window of Writing," was designed and edited by the seminal artist, book designer and art theorist Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郞 (1891-1955). Over its 103 issues, published between April 1935 and June 1944, it "set the standard of excellence for Japanese graphic design." Published by Onchi's good friend Shimo Tarō 志茂太郎 (1900–1980) of the Tokyo-based publishing house Aoi Shobō アオイ書房, the magazine was devoted to the art of the book in Asia, Europe and the US. Each issue was a collection of articles, illustrations, photographs and, on occasion, a woodblock frontispiece by either Onchi or a fellow print designer of the sōsaku hanga (creative print) school. It provided a platform for Onchi to expound on his design ideas, including serialization of his essays on book design, later compiled and published in book form in 1952 as Art of the Book (Hon no bijutsu 本の美術).
"Onchi planned each cover with original lettering, calligraphy, and design. Contributors of hand-printed hanga, in addition to Onchi, included Fujimori Shizuo, Fukazawa Sakuichi, Furukawa Ryusei, Henmi Takashi, Hiratsuka Un’ichi, Kawakami Sumio, Kawanishi Hide, Maeda Masao, Maekawa Senpan, Munakata Shikō, Sarshina Genzō, Sekino Jun’ichirō, Takei Takeo, and Taninaka Yasunori."
書窓 (Shosō) 13, VOL 3 NO 1, June 1936
The below issue is notable for its hand-printed woodblock frontispiece (kuchi-e) titled "Flower" by Onchi, originally designed by him in 1928. It precedes by several pages a graphic feature consisting of seven black and white photographs of spring flowers contributed by Ozaki Kihachi (1892-1974); poet, keen observer of nature and amateur photographer. In addition to Onchi, contributors to this issue include poet and novelist Mizuno Yōshū (1883-1947), haiku poet and physician Mizuhara Shūōshi (1892-1981); short-story writer (sometimes referred to as the father of the Japanese short-story), poet, and essayist Akutagawa Ryūnosuke (1892-1927); prolific author of short-stories, novels and essays Uno Kōji (1891-1961); Shosō's publisher Shimo Tarō (1900–1980), avant-garde poet Kuneko Mitsuharu (1895-1975); novelist, playwright and lyricist Hata Kōichi (1886-1957); architect Endō Arata (1889-1951); novelist and music critic Kodō Nomura (1882-1963) writing under his music critic pseudonym Araebisu; music critic Yamane Ginji (1906-1982), and benshi (narrator of silent films), actor, essayist, and radio and, later, television personality Tokugawa Musei (1894-1971). Sōsaku hanga artists Kawanishi Hide (1894-1965) and Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960) are also represented through reproduced illustrations from their books.
 Prints of Onchi Koshiro, Keishosha Ltd., 1975, cat. 114. This almost complete catalog raisonne notes that Flower was exhibited at the Tabletop Association Exhibition (卓上社展) which held its first exhibition in 1928 at the original Maruzen Nihonbashi store.
Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郞 (1891-1955)
Please click on any image below for a detailed enlargement.
Pages are shown in Japanese order, reading from right to left.
All transcriptions and translations are my own and subject to error.