Educational ukiyo-e

Educational colored woodblock prints from 1873. Have I linked to this before? Oh well.

First comes the practical material. For example, Types of rice. "Broadly speaking, [rice] can be divided into three types: uruchi [non-glutinous], mochi [glutinous], and tōboshi [a native, red variety also called akagome]. Uruchi and mochi can each be further subdivided into early, medium, and late strains...." Japan's early-Meiji program to catch up with Europe and America in the boredom race had clearly already born fruit.

The "moral lessons" aren't much better. This studying boy (勉強する童男) depicts its anon/eponymous hero as a frowning midget in a sembei box practicing his calligraphy while his peers frolic with dogs and toys outside. On the other hand, carelessness (疎漏) can get your legs set on fire.

(Aside: Notice that there are always adults watching the proceedings from somewhere in the picture. The moral lesson here is not "God/utilitarianism/Natural Law wants you to do this, and never to do that", as it would be in most western traditions. It is "People will see what you do, and if they don't like it, you'll be in trouble." And that goes double for you, Héctor Elizondo!)

Next comes what really makes the site worth linking to: Japanese-style pictures of the "great names of the West". You knew that Ben Franklin drawing down the lightning would be in there, but I bet you never expected James Watt getting scolded by his aunt for staring at the kettle.

The natural laws and paper models are just a letdown after that.

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