Shōchan, Japan’s First Lovable Comic Book Hero;

Early Manga

[The Shōchan Library].

Created by Kabashima Katsuichi 樺島 勝一, artist & Oda Shōsei 織田小星, author. Each vol. with numerous black & white woodcuts. 32 vols. (listed below). 12mo, orig. color-printed wrappers. Osaka: Enomoto Shoten 榎本書店, 1925-26.

In these very rare examples of early manga, Shōchan and his friends visit strange countries and worlds, where they encounter bizarre fantasy creatures. “Shōchan was ‘born’ on January 25, 1923 (the twelfth year of the Taishō period: the ‘Shō’ in ‘Shōchan’ is the ‘shō’ in Taishō, so the boy was the same age as the era), on the children’s page of the new daily (later weekly) tabloid Asahi Graph. Its editor asked Kabashima Katsuichi [1888-1963] and Oda Shōsei [1889-1967] to create a new picture story with a Japanese hero and an animal companion. Oda had recently returned to Japan after years of foreign travel and gave Shōchan his own adventuresome spirit. Kabashima was already an established professional illustrator, familiar with the work of Aubrey Beardsley, the Vienna succession, Aart Nouveau, and other contemporary movements in Europe. He gave the boy a sweet character, a stylish modern wardrobe, an adorable companion, and his signature wool knit cap. Children adored the cap.”–Roger S. Keyes, Ehon. The Artist and the Book in Japan (NYPL: 2006), p. 63.

With the initial success of The Adventures of Shōchan, other manga featuring Shōchan were created, including these, in this collection:

1. The Shōchan Library:

2nd Series (January 1925): 7 vols.

3rd Series (March 1925): 7 vols.

9th Series (September 1925): 5 vols.

2. Sonogo 其後 (June 1926): 3 vols.

3. Shōchan zuku kozō 正チャン ズク小僧 (August-September 1925): 2 vols.

4. Zuku kozō ズク小僧 (February 1925): 7 vols.

5. Zuku kozō bunko ズク小僧文庫 (September 1925): 1 vol.

In fine condition. Our set is very rare; we can find no examples in the United States.

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 10195