Nijuasobi. Yochienho or Yochienho nijuasobi [trans.: Kindergarten Manual: Twenty Different Types of Toys]. Shinzo SEKI.

“Froebel Gifts”

Nijuasobi. Yochienho or Yochienho nijuasobi [trans.: Kindergarten Manual: Twenty Different Types of Toys].

Twenty fine woodcut illus. in the text. 17 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. orange patterned wrappers, orig. block-printed title label on spine, new stitching. Tokyo: Aoyama, 1879.

First edition of the book which first introduced the educational theories of Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782-1852), educational reformer, into Japan, where they remain today an important part of the educational policies for young children. Froebel was the founder of the concept of “kindergarten,” a standard institution which rapidly spread throughout Europe, North America, Korea, and Japan.

Froebel’s educational reforms were introduced into Japan by a disciple, Clara Zitelmann, who moved to Japan in 1876 and became head teacher of the kindergarten at the Tokyo Women’s Normal School (today’s Ochanomizu University). This was the first public kindergarten established by the government. As she spoke no Japanese, she communicated through the school’s principal, Shinzo Seki (1843-80), who thoroughly embraced Froebel’s concepts. Seki had lived in England for some years and the two communicated through their common language of English.

In this work, Seki introduces Froebelgaben (“Froebel Gifts”), play materials which, along with singing, dancing, and growing plants, were each important aspects of this child-centered approach to education created by Froebel. Sets of “Froebel Gifts” were widely produced and distributed throughout the world; we know that Frank Lloyd Wright was give a set at about age nine and he claimed he learned the geometry of architecture through the blocks in the set.

The fine woodcuts depict children at play with various materials from the “Froebel Gifts.” The surrounding texts give detailed information regarding how the child should play with the materials, how the teacher should introduce the materials, etc. Some games and materials native to Japan, including origami, are also depicted. The children are all shown sitting in Western chairs and working at Western tables.

Some worming, for the most part carefully repaired, and a bit of marginal foxing.

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 6132

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