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Shunjo Ichijima-Essayist

Hideyuki Fujiwara
Head of the Department of Collection Management, Waseda University Library

Shunjo Ichijima (from the frontispiece of “Kaikoroku (Memoir)”).

In 2007, Waseda University celebrated its 125th anniversary and held events to commemorate the milestone on a grand scale. Many stories were told about Waseda University’s pioneer days (originally Tokyo Senmon Gakko), and names such as Azusa Ono, Sanae Takada and Shoyo Tsubouchi often appeared alongside founder Shigenobu Okuma.

But mention the name Shunjo Ichijima, and it pales in comparison to the likes of Takada and Tsubouchi, let alone Okuma. For starters, he is in a different league in terms of general recognition. Many of you reading this article may be asking yourselves, “Who is Shunjo Ichijima?”

The man with 4 faces.

Shunjo (Kenkichi) Ichijima (1860-1944) was born in Kitakanbara county in the realm of Echigo (present day Agano City in Niigata Prefecture). He was born into the Kakuichi / Ichijima household, a branch family of the Ichijma Family, a prominent farming family in the Echigo realm. After spending his youth there and studying Chinese Classics and English, he moved to Tokyo and entered the University of Tokyo, where he formed a lifelong bond with Sanae Takada and Shoyo Tsubouchi, as well as finding favor with Azusa Ono and Shigenobu Okuma. Afterwards, he dropped out, just short of graduation, and on directions from Shigenobu Okuma, joined the Constitutional Progressive Party, and wielding a powerful pen, started up a newspaper company in his native Niigata prefecture, before succeeding Sanae Takada as editor of Yomiuri Shimbun. He also put himself in the political world as a member of the House of Representatives, involved in introducing bills relating to the Ashio mineral pollution incident and railroad construction. He worked with vigor before ill health forced him to retire from politics at the age of 41. It was around this time that Tokyo Senmon Gakko changed its name to Waseda University, and with a new library under construction and a recommendation from Takada, who was in charge of university administration, Ichijima was employed as Waseda University’s first library curator. He actively worked alongside administration to build the foundations of what is now a valuable and extensive collection of books, and going on to support the development of Waseda University. In his later years, as an essayist, he wrote and published more than 20 volumes of work, and was rated as the “greatest authority in the modern essay world.” (Advertisement for “Shunjo Zuihitsu (Shunjo ‘s Essays)” in “Waseda Gakuho” 383). It is in this way that Shunjo Ichijima, journalist, politician, librarian and essayist was a colorful man with at least 4 different faces.

Shunjo Ichijima’s Essays

Up until now, commentary on his life has been centered on his time as a library curator. It is true that when he was taken on as curator, the 30,000 collection of books in the library rapidly increased to 100,000 titles in his 5th year. Many of the valuable works boasted by Waseda University Library were adopted in the Ichijima era, and it is understandable that the 15 years served as curator played a tremendous part in Shunjo’s life. Although he played various roles in the running of Waseda University as a lecturer and director, his greatest deeds were achieved as curator. But his life wasn’t only in the library. Particularly, his essay collections from his later years are extremely interesting, covering many areas of Shunjo’s interests, with a wide range of content backed up by knowledge. In recent years, there have been movements to reevaluate Shunjo Ichijima the essayist, with republication of his essay collections, and even publication of revised books on his essays on particular fields. In this article, I would like to give an outline of those and introduce Shunjo Ichijima, the essayist. Titles in this essay appearing in “ ” represent published essay collections, ‘ ’ individual essays from that collection, and [ ] handwritten essays in possession of Waseda University Library.

Essay Overview.

From the 1921 publication of “Kani no Awa (Foam of a Crab),” to his final work “Shunjo Danso (Shunjo’s Stories)” (in 1942, Shunjo published, including revised editions and coauthored works, 23 volumes of essay collections. The contents of these can be generally classified in to 5 categories. 1) works about his life, 2) Waseda University (Library), 3) libraries and reference materials, 4) critical biographies, and 5) his general interests.

About his life, he mentioned, “We had as many as 40 large junks, (omitted) and as a rule we would receive a chest with a thousand gold pieces on their return” when writing on his family’s prosperous shipping business “Yoro Manpitsu” ‘Waga Ie no Kaisogyo (My Family’s Shipping Business),’ and in “Shunjo Danso” ‘Enzetsu Omoidebanashi (Memories of Public Speaking),’ he lamented on the state of public speaking, popular at the time, “public speaking was pitiful and childish in our student days.” But he didn’t have many opportunities to bring up his family of himself in his essays. For the great talker he was, Shunjo was generally silent when it came to these topics.

Zuihitsu Waseda” (cover)

Naturally, he wrote many pieces relating to Waseda University. Especially in “Zuihitsu Waseda (Essays on Waseda)” (1935 edition), and in regards to Waseda’s 50th anniversary commemorative publication “Hanseiki no Waseda (The Half Century of Waseda),” which looks at Waseda’s history from side on or behind, and as stated in the foreword, Waseda took shape from its early days to the 1920s. In other essay collections, he talks about his memories as curator, especially the joys and hardships of gathering books. After his illness and becoming curator of the remodeled library on Takada’s recommendation, he talks about how “hunting for books on a daily basis helped me recuperate” (“Bunboku Yodan (Another Story about Writing)” ‘Shoseiro Dansetsu’). He especially put a lot of time into collecting Japanese and Chinese books, but he put that down to the fact that “a lot of Japanese and Chinese books on the market at the time were still quite cheap”(“Kaikoroku” ‘Waseda Daigaku no Kaiko (Retrospection of Waseda University)’), but even more than that, he expressed in the same essay that the reason behind this thinking was “if we don’t put in an effort now to collect Japanese and Chinese books, we will forever regret it in the future.” In “Shunjo Manpitsu (Wibbles of Shunjo)” ‘Waseda Daigaku no Nidai Kisho (Two Curiosa of Waseda University),’ he goes into depth about being presented the national treasures “Raiki Shihon Shoji”and “Gyokuhen” (both manuscripts from the Tang Dynasty), by Mitsuaki Tanaka.

He has also written on, not just Waseda University Library, but libraries and material gathering in general. He labels libraries as “large community studies” (“Shunjo Daisuiroku” ‘Dokusho Banno (Versatileness of Reading Books)’), and gives insight into his plan to offset problems libraries faced at the time (“Zuihitsu Shunjo Rokushu (Six Types of Shunjo’s Essays )” ‘Toshokan no Fubi to Sono Hosoku Shian (Inadequacies of Library and My Complementary Plan )’).

He sums up his thoughts about libraries as “25 pleasures” (“Shunjo Zuihitsu” ‘Kosho Asari to Toshokan Seikatsu (Hunting for the Archives and Library Life)’), clearly stating the enjoyment of collecting books, cataloging and putting out for display, as a part of a series of jobs in a library. Beneficial advice for any librarian today.

Critical biographies can be split into 3 categories, his personal acquaintances and friends, modern artists and writers, and anecdotes on foreign writers. Most of his work on foreign writers can be found in his first collection, “Kani no Awa,” with little seen elsewhere. Writings on acquaintances and friends related to Waseda are compiled in “Zuihitsu Waseda,” but there were too many to print in a single volume, so his stories on private connections are told in other essay collections. For example, his friend from student days, Shoyo Tsubouchi’s first ever haiku poem was written in a letter addressed to Shunjo (“Shunjo Daisuiroku” ‘Tsubouchi Shoyo Ou’), a fact probably unknown to many. Also, from his days as editor at Yomiuri Shimbun, when he wrote “the incessant thoughts continue” (“Bunboku Yodan”‘Koyo Yamabito’), and in an essay about Koyo Ozaki (“Kaikoroku”‘Meiji Shonen Bundan no Kaiko’)), he reveals his grief over the much too early passing of Ozaki.

Some of Shunjo’s published essays.

Shunjo has penned many essays on early-modern writers, but of these, he has compiled a whole volume on the famous, late Edo period, Wang Yang-ming scholar, historian and Chinese poet, Rai Sanyo, and even that has been revised several times with additional supplements (“Zuihitsu Rai Sanyo (Essays on Rai Sanyo)”first printing 1925). After that, Izumi Yanagida read much work on Rai Sanyo, but spoke highly of Shunjo by saying, “When it comes to straight out interesting, Ichijima’s ‘Zuihitsu Rai Sanyo’is definitely number one”(‘Zuihitsuka Shunjo Ou no Omokage (Remnant of the Essayist, Shunjo )’ ”Waseda Gakuho”701).

Shunjo has also penned many works on the theme of his interests and pastimes. He had a hobby of collecting many different things such as old Classics, letters written by famous people, seals and miniature books. He goes into great detail about his love of books, and especially his collection of Classics enough to say, “I would need hundreds of pages to talk about them all.” (“Shunjo Zuihitsu”‘Tosho Shumi Ippan’). He also has many essays focusing on seals, particularly two he received from old friends bearing the inscriptions “Shima Kenkichi In (Seal)” (Kenkichi Shima’s seal),and “Shunjo,” which were the starting point of his collection (“Shoseiro Zappitsu” ‘Nika no In (Two Seals)’), and his relationship through seals with Ango Sakaguchi’s father, Goho (real name, Niichiro, president of Niigata Shimbun, writer). (“Zuihitsu Shunjo no Rokushu” ‘In no Kekkon (Marriage of Seals)’). Indeed, we have been left with many anecdotes from a man of many hobbies. Many of the seals he collected or had made for himself by engravers close to him are presently stored at Waseda University’s Aizu Musuem (“The Complete Shunjo Ichijima Seal Collection of the former Toyooka Art Gallery,” under the supervision of Hirokuni Kitagawa, 2008). Although Shunjo has left us numerous essays, he says that those essays were writings “left to the will of the pen, dictated by the heart, and moved by emotions.” (“Zuihitsu Shunjo Rokushu” ‘Watashi no Zuihitsukan (My Thoughts on Essays )’). There is nothing he can not put down on paper. He has also been known for remarking that “essays are in the same league as department stores.” (“Shoseiro no Zappitsu” ‘Zuihitsu Kogoto (Chiding for Essays)’).

Here I have focused on the aspects of Shunjo Ichijima, the essayist. There is an actual notebook of Shunjo’s resembling this article. It has a record of his daily life from youth, written records, and newspaper and journal clippings of various events pasted inside. Waseda University currently holds a collection of Shunjo’s journals from 1886 to 1939. a mountain of records, tirelessly transcribed and covering daily happenings, visitors, exchanging letters, and various other matters. On top of that, at his peak, Shunjo would produce one volume of essays a month. According to a journal from his latter years he wrote, “This years journal is titled “Jigomouroku,” and I will write one volume of essays a month, and complete 12 volumes by year-end. This is my essay.” (Excerpt from his 1932 journal [Shoseiro Nisshi]). These records came from notes which were transformed into printed essays. They were comments about newspaper and journal clippings, and thoughts written down as they came to mind. These journals and records became material for his published essays in his later years.

A journal from one year reads, “I have been relaxing lately and have not written much, but I have been receiving an honorarium of 1000 yen from various places, so I am pleased to know that I will be able to enjoy a few drinks of sake in my old age.” (Outlined in his 1933 journal [Shoseiro Nisshi]). He entered the working world as a journalist, had experience as a house representative, and then became curator of Waseda University Library. For a man of so many achievements, he was also an essayist in great demand. You will be able to view many of Shunjo’s works at the currently under construction Kotenseki General Database. (http://www.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kotenseki/. I hope you all take the time to have a look.

2010 marks the 150th anniversary of Shunjo’s birth. To commemorate this, Waseda University will erect a bronze statue of Shunjo in the library. The library already has statues of Shigenobu Okuma, Azusa Ono, Sanae Takada, and Shoyo Tsubouchi. In the courtyard of Center for Scholarly Information (Central Library), where stands statues of Isoo Abe and Suishuu Tobita as a trace of the baseball ground that used to be there. But there has never been a statue of Shunjo, the man who could be said to be the library’s most important figure. Up until now, all the calls for Shunjo to be recognized in the form of a statue have fallen on deaf ears. Now the library, which had the most intimate relationship with him, will be home to his statue, as well as holding an exhibition reliving his life and paying homage to his achievements. Through the records he has left behind, I hope that, not only Waseda University, but all of modern Japan, can experience the man who was Shunjo Ichijima.

Shunjo Ichijima Exhibition Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Essayist’s Birth
Center for Scholarly Information 2F Exhibition Room, 3F Ichijima Memorial Room
March 5 - April 21, 2010 (closed Sundays and public holidays)
Exhibition Room) 10:00-18:00
Memorial Room) 10:00-17:00 (14:00 on Saturdays)
Memorial Room will be closed when being used for meetings etc.
Waseda University Library tel:03-3203-5581

From 13:00 on March 5th in the entrance hall of the venue (in front of Central Library entrance), the unveiling ceremony of the Shunjo Ichijima Kenkichi Sensei Zou (Professor Shunjo Kenkichi Ichijima Statue) will be held.

List of published Shunjo Ichijima essays
Title Publisher Date of Publication
Kani no Awa Kidan 150 Hen Waseda University Press December 1921
Geien Isseki Banashi” Volume 1, 2 Waseda University Press April 1922
Zuihitsu Rai Sanyo” First Edition Waseda University Press March 1925
Zuhitsu rai Sanyo” Revised and Enlarged Edition Waseda University Press June 1926
Shunjo Zuihitsu Waseda University Press December 1926
Mandan Meiji Shonen” Historical Association Edition Shunyodo January 1927
Zuihitsu Shunjo Rokushu Waseda University Press August 1927
Shunjo Hitsugo Waseda University Press August 1928
Shunjo Manpitsu Waseda University Press December 1929
Shunjo Mandan” Sun, Earth Ichijima Kenkichi Publications(Not for sale) October 1931
Shoseiro Zappitsu Bookdomsha November 1933
Shunjo Daisuiroku Chuokoronsha December 1933
Bunboku Yodan Kanboku Association, Nanyu Shoin August 1935
Zuihitsu Waseda Kanboku Association, Nanyu Shoin September 1935
Bunjin Bokkaku wo Kataru Kanboku Association, Nanyu Shoin December 1935
Shunjo Kanwa Kenbunsha February 1936
Yoro Manpitsu Shobutsutenbousha March 1936
Zuihitsu Rai Sanyo” Complete Revised Edition Kanboku Association Nanyu Shoin June 1936
Kujira Kanroku” (Gakugei Zuihitsu 5) Toenshobo December 1936
Yoseijigi Fuzambo November 1939
Kaikoroku” (Ichijima Shunjo Senshu1) Chuokoronsha March 1941
Shunjo Danso Chitoseshobo August 1942
Zuihitsu Rai Sanyo” (Ichijima Shunjo Senshu 2) Chuokoronsha November 1942
Non-essay works containing Shunjo’s ideas
Okuma Kou Ichigen Ichigyo Waseda University Press February 1922
Hanpo, Shunjo, Shoyo San Ou Atami Mandan
Zanun Usuda Editor
Fujishobo (released by Shunyodo) October 1929
Hanpo, Shunjo, Shoyo San OuMandan
Zanun Usuda Editor
Fujishobo August 1930
Atami wo Kataru Shoyo, Hanpo, Shunjo San Ou zadanroku
Zanun Usuda Editor
Onsen Ryokan Juraku: Atami July 1936
Shunjo 80nen no Oboegaki Waseda University Library Publications May 1965
Recent re-releases etc.
Ichijima Shunjo Kosho Danso” (Nihon Shoshigaku Taikei 3) Seishodoshoten August 1978
Hanpo, Shunjo, Shoyo San Ou Atami Mandan”Re-release Narusawabunko: Atami November 1982
Ichijima Shunjo Zuihitsu Shu” (Total 11 Volumes) Kress Publications May 1996
Shunjoshi Yuroku” (Chi no Jiyubito no Sosho) Kokushokankokai April 2006

Hideyuki Fujiwara
Head of the Department of Collection Management, Waseda University Library

Born in 1963. Completed Master’s degree at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Science. Majored in Japanese history (ancient history, archival research). Notable publications: “Ichijima Shunjo Zuihitsu-Shu” commentary and bibliography,’ Gashi no Kenkyu’ (“Shikan”) 142), ‘Waseda Daigaku Toshokan Shozou Inozu (Daizu) ni Tsuite (Regarding the Ino’s Map (Great Map) in the Collection of Waseda University Library )’”Waseda Daigaku Toshokan Kiyo” 54) etc.