Japanese Woodblock Print, dated 1935, published by Shozaburo Watanabe with publisher's red 6mm seal (used 1946-57), Watanabe gift seal and another Watanabe seal are on the verso with hand written note by Shozaburo Watanabe reading: "To Mr. Happer".
SIZE IN INCHES: oban, 15.5 x 10.5 inches
COMMENTS:This is an interesting print for several reasons. It is not known in the Watanabe catalogue, it bears several rare Watanabe seals, and it bears a hand-written note from the father of shin hanga, Shozaburo Watanabe. The Mr. Happer mentioned in Shozaburo Watanabe's note was none other than the well known Hiroshige expert John Stewart Happer.
JOHN STEWART HAPPER (1863-1937) was an American who was born in Canton, China. He studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. In 1891 he went to Japan as manager for the Standard Oil Company. He then became manager for the American Trading Company in Kobe, and in 1904 was tranfered to the firm's London office. In 1909 he sold his collection of Japanese prints at high prices in two sales at Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge in London. One of the sales was devoted to Hiroshige, and Happer's scholarly catalogue was a pioneering work in the field. That year he returned to Kobe as manager for the Indian Oil Refining Co. of New York.
After his marriage to Mabel Bacon in 1915 he moved to Tokyo where he lived until his death. In his later years he lectured on Japanese art and taught English at the high schools of Waseda University, Tokyo. He published "Japanese Sketches and Prints" in 1934. Happer had a special interest in the work of Hroshige, styling himself as "Hiroshige Happer". His friends erected a memorial tablet to him at Togaku Temple in Tokyo, where Hiroshige was buried.