#2 -- February 29, 2004 -- "Watanabe Publisher -- Removal of Margin-Dating"

Recently a threesome of "same-image" prints came our way--of course, giving us the opportunity for a direct side-by-side comparison of these three prints. The image of which we speak is the beautifully shaded "interior view" of Eisho Narazaki's 1932 print, "Interior of Asakusa Temple," seen just below.

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NARAZAKI's 1932 print, "Interior of Asakusa Temple" -- "C-seal," "D-seal," and "6mm-seal"

The interesting thing which was immediately noted was the different location choose for "seal placement" in the print's two earliest states, and then, the realization that the print's "margin-dating" which is carved into the print's "key-block" had been carved OFF prior to the printing of the two later examples.

While we were well familiar with this practice of carving OFF a print's "margin-dating" once a print's "first edition" printing had been completed with respect to prints published by Unsodo Publisher, we did not immediately recall seeing this practice having been done by Watanabe Publisher. To learn more about this removal of "margin-dates" by Unsodo, please see our discussion given in our "Quick Reference" article titled "The Seals of Unsodo Han."

Side-by-side comparion of "C-sealed," "D-sealed," and "6mm-sealed" Prints

As can be readily seen in all three states ("C-sealed," "D-sealed," and "6mm-sealed") of the "Interior of Asakusa Temple" print above, Watanabe has maintained the print's "title" in all three of the print's (upper) right margins. However, only the EARLIEST state--a "First Edition" "C-sealed" print (leftmost print)--is seen to have the "margin-dating" lower right which reads "1932, March 17."

The reader will also notice that the middle print's "D-seal" is applied to the print's lower RIGHT margin--possible to do since there is now "space" here to do so after the removal of the "key-block's" margin-dating. This is why in the earliest print, the "C-seal" is instead seen in the lower LEFT margin.....there simply was "no room" for it at the right side.

Seemingly then, at least then in the case of this Watanabe-published print by Narazaki, Watanabe has mirrored the Unsodo Publisher's practice of "date removal" once a print's first edition printing is completed. Further observations will be needed to determine how widespread this practice may have been within Watanabe.