1935 Nikkō Tōshō-gū Pop-up Souvenir Card, Shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu

日光東照宮栞 / [Nikkō Tōshō-gū ‘Bookmark’]. - Main View

1935 Nikkō Tōshō-gū Pop-up Souvenir Card, Shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu


Tourist tchotchkes meet Japanese craftsmanship.


日光東照宮栞 / [Nikkō Tōshō-gū ‘Bookmark’].
  1935 (undated)     8 x 6 in (20.32 x 15.24 cm)


This is a curious c. 1935 pop-up card of the Tōshō-gū Shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Japan's Tokugawa Shogunate, located in Nikkō. On the reverse is a map of Nikkō and a depiction of a famous red lacquer bridge there.
A Closer Look
This card includes a three-dimensional pop-up representation of the shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and, on the verso, a map of Nikkō noting the location of other culturally significant sites, such as the shrine of Tokugawa Ietmitsu, Ieyasu's grandson who also served as shogun, and the Futarasan Shinto shrine. The verso also includes a depiction of red lacquer Shinkyo (Sacred) Bridge across the Daiya River near the entrance to the Tokugawa Shrines. The slide which allows the temple to pop-up on the verso is controlled by a pin stamped with the character for 'friendship' (友). The card's original owner has written 'Tomb of Ieyasu and temples, Nikka' on the recto and 'Sacred Bridge of red lacquer' on the verso.

Due to its cultural significance and surrounding mountains, forests, and hot springs, the town has become nationally renowned for its beauty, and even is the subject of a memorable ditty, 'Never say kekkō [splendid, wonderful] until you've seen Nikkō.' Though this example looks to have been picked up by an English-speaking tourist, the card would have been designed to cater to Japanese domestic tourists, who increased in number throughout the Taisho and early Showa eras, spurring a greater sense of shared national identity and patriotism.
Publication History and Census
This card contains no date or publication information aside from a copyright registration number. It was likely purchased on site from a souvenir vendor or from the maker themselves. The appearance suggests a date roughly in the 1930s. It is not cataloged in any institutional holdings and is scarce to the market.


Very good.