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Ojishin rekinenko [Thoughts on the Year of - YAMAZAKI, Yoshishige (or Yoshinari) - 1856. 
Title-page with woodcut illus., seven double-page color-printed woodcuts (in grey & blue), & one woodcut in the text. 33 folding leaves. Small 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers (block-printed title label gone), new stitching. Edo: Ishizaka Jinjuro, 1856. First edition of a rare book; WorldCat locates a 1996 reprint only. This book was written just after the Ansei Edo earthquake, one of the greatest natural disasters of the late-Edo period. Yamazaki (1797-1856?), who came from a family of pharmaceutical merchants, was a writer on various scientific and literary subjects. In the present work, Yamazaki speculates on the causes of the earthquake and describes a method to predict earthquakes (rising temperatures, magnetic anomalies, the stars are particularly clear, etc.). He provides a history of the most important earthquakes to occur in Japan and the woodcuts depict scenes during and following an actual earthquake, including an enormous tsunami. There are references to earthquakes in Italy and some of the leading European and Chinese geologists on the causes of earthquakes. Most importantly, there is a double-page woodcut depicting what we believe to be the first earthquake resistant-building plan published in Japan. Because electricity was considered to be the force behind both earthquakes and lightning, the proposed design model would defend against both. The house had a central metal pole, sunk into the ground, and protruding above the roof, with a lightning rod at the top. Four large jars were sunk into the earth like wells, one on each side of the structure. Iron chains were attached from the top of the pole to each well. The system would conduct electricity from storms and stablize the building at the same time. Fine copy. Some minor worming carefully mended.
[Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
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