Cover print shows people dancing around a namazu dressed as a representative of Kashima shrine in an annual ritual held before the start of the new agricultural season. The image of the rabbit represents the zodiac year of the rabbit (1855).
The life, history and culture of Japan have always fascinated us. Old Japanese postcards and greeting cards are unusual but interesting in a special way. The way the Japanese experience greetings goes beyond the imagination of the average person from any other country in the world.
Postcards and greetings were made in the late 19th century. Every greeting card and every postcard has its own peculiar story.
In Japan, anything is possible. There is a logical explanation for each card.
A crowd of elderly people, carpenters, young wives, china-shop owners, entertainers, Yoshiwara prostitutes, physicians, and others are offering prayers to the kaname-ishi rock, believed to have the power to keep earthquakes in check. When a person in the crowd voices his doubts about the rock’s powers, the rock responds, “I assure you that if the earth moves even a little I will stand on my head.” In the original Japanese, this answer features a pun on the words ishi-gaeshi (“overturning a rock”) and ishu-gaeshi (“taking revenge”).
In this print, Daikoku, the popular god of wealth, showers people with money while the god Kashima restrains a namazu.
This print shows a massive steamship-like namazu approaching the city. The creature is spouting money, and people on shore beckon for it to come closer. The depiction of this namazu conjures up images of Commodore Perry’s black ships, which arrived in Japan in 1853 and eventually forced the country to open its ports to Western commerce.