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My Japanese

English ed. 1895 (Meiji 28) Catalogue No. 189
『わたしの日本語』(Watashi no nihongo
著者:S.L.G.(Author : S.L.G.)
絵師:不明(Illustrator : anonymous)
出版者:ケリー・アンド・ウォルシュ社(Publisher : Kelly & Walsh)

■ 解説
おり、さらに表紙にはちりめん本を出版する長谷川弘文社の総代理店のKelly & Walshが発行したことが印刷されているが、これ以外に長谷川弘文社と関係づけられる事柄は記載されておらず、出版の経緯などはわからない。また、著者については表紙に“WORDS & MUSIC BY S.L.G.”.とあるが、このイニシャルから人物や団体を特定することは難しい。出版年は「明治廿八年五月十日印刷、仝月十三日發行」に従うならば1895年となる。
内容は“a topical song of Japan”と副標題が付けられた歌集である。冒頭に4頁のピアノ楽譜があり、この楽譜中に1番の歌詞が入れられている。楽譜の後には挨拶、お茶屋、人力車夫、骨董屋、乞食、旅券点検の場面を歌う1番から6番までの詩が、内容に合った絵とローマ字綴りの日本語を英語で紹介した“glossary”(用語解説)と共に見開き2頁に書かれている。書名の“My Japanese”はこの用語解説を指すものであろう。

■ Explanation
 The book lacks both a title page and a colophon, and the identities of the author and the illustrator are unknown. In the lower righthand corner of the back cover is a cinnabar seal impression 3.8 centimeters long and 2.3 centimeters wide, its characters indicating the ownership of copyright. More specifically, it translates as follows: "Printed on 10 May 1895, published on 13 of the same month; 19 Motoiwai-cho, Kanda Ward, Tokyo; publishXX (one undecipherable character) and printed by Sei Hirose." On the front cover is an indication that the book was published by Kelly & Walsh, the sole agent for Hasegawa Kobunsha, which published Crepe-paper books, but there is no other evidence of a connection with Hasegawa Kobunsha, and the facts of the publication remain unclear. As for the authorship, the credit "words and music by S.L.G." is printed on the cover, but it is impossible to specify a person or group from these initials. If the aforementioned seal impression is authentic, the book was published in 1895.
  Subtitled "A topical song of Japan," the book is a collection of songs. The first four pages are occupied by a piano score, on which the first verse is written. The score is followed in order by six verses, one each for an introductory greeting and the five scenes showed "Ochayas" (i.e., Teahouses), Ricksha-man, Antique Shops, Beggars, and Passport Check. Each verse is written on a two-page spread together with pictures corresponding to the content and a glossary with romanized Japanese entries and their definitions in English. The title "My Japanese" apparently derives from this glossary.