Shima Art Company

Daikokuya as a Source of Prints

by Kotaro Sumii

In the main article, I wrote that the prints of Shima were, at least, manufactured at Daikokuya of Tokyo. Here are my thoughts about the source of prints, along with some evidence.

  1. According to Marc Kahn's article about Mr. Muller, Bob said that Shima would have knock-off blocks carved by a Tokyo bookstore/publisher and publish their own facsimiles of the popular designs. So, the source existed in Tokyo.

  2. S. Koizumi took over Daikokuya from the Matsuki family after their deaths (1930s/1940) (ref: "Crows, Cranes and Camellias: the Natural World of Ohara Koson", page 32 note 37). Koizumi, the successor of Daikokuya, knew how to make wood-block reprints, especially, of Koson.

  3. The old Daikokuya had sold their publishing rights and blocks to Hasegawa Shoten (ibid, note 41). click for a closer view This left the new Daikokuya, now owned by Koizumi, with few prints to sell. So, Koizumi had to make knock-off prints to live.

  4. I have a new-year's greeting card (1936) from Shinnosuke Koizumi of Daikokuya. The address was: Nippori, Arakawa-ward, Tokyo. Daikokuya's business was the contract publication of wood-block prints (ukiyo-e, hanga, picture postcard).

    click for a closer view Examples of proposed knock-off prints, sketched by Koizumi, are illustrated to the left. The animal figures were cut and pasted onto water-colored backgrounds. The signature of an imaginary artist, "Chikashige", with Koizumi's seal is seen in two of three. On the back of one of the sheets, Koizumi asked Hango to place an order for publication of these three sketches.

  5. Many of prints by Shima were plagiarized from Ohara Koson's designs. In "Crows, Cranes, and Camellias", the originals of these prints were said to be published by Daikokuya or by an "unknown" publisher. click for a closer view I believe that the unknown publisher was Daikokuya. None of the designs of Shoson by Watanabe or of Hoson by Kawaguchi were reproduced by Shima.

  6. Other Shikishi-ban prints by Daikokuya, which are similar to Shima's prints, can be seen to the right. The artists' names, Biho, Ryomi?, and Seiko, were only seen in Daikokuya's shikishi-ban prints. I think that no other publisher than Daikokuya would like to use these designs.


In conclusion, I believe that some/most of Shima prints were manufactured by Daikokuya. The quality of Shima's prints was quite high.

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