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Heibonji Mita関連写真

Heibonji Mita


  • Biography
1876-1960. Collector. From the end of Meiji, Mita hosted the society of hobby collectors called Garakutashu, interacted with various collectors as its founder, and immersed himself in the world of hobbies. He loved new things, and when roller skates were introduced to Japan at the end of the 19th century, he purchased a pair immediately, and story goes that he turned the second floor of his house into a roller-skating rink around which he loved to roller-skate.

  • Association with Minato City
He turned the attic of his house in Shiba Takanawa into the main hall of Garakutashu and named it Shumizan Heibonji.

Mita was the son of a timber merchant in Shiba Kuruma-cho (now 2-chome Takanawa). He was a bright child and studied drawing from Kiyochika Kobayashi and satirical poems and Chinese verses from Senryu, but because he had lost his hearing from an injury when he was small, he became the landlord of an area near Sengaku Temple without taking over the family business. In 1909 he became the founder of Garakutashu and recruited similar hobbyists from around the country by calling himself Honzan Heibonji. Many collectors of mokugyo (wooden temple blocks), foxes, and cats gathered, and the membership was truly diverse with Lords, doctors, craftsmen, geisha, and foreigners. Legend has it that the journalist Gaikotsu Miyatake and the Czechoslovakian architect A. Raymond also frequented Heibonji’s home.

Heibonji was a big fan of Soseki Natsume, and he himself wrote an illustrated book called Wagahai mo Neko dearu (I, too, Am a Cat).His youngest daughter married Soseki’s eldest son, violinist Junichi Natsume. Their eldest son is the manga critic and essayist Fusanosuke Natsume.

References
Fusho no Mago (Unworthy Grandchild) (Fusanosuke Natsume / Chikuma Shobo)
Hamidashi no Bunpo: Haishagaku wo megutte (Rogue Grammar: On the Study of Losers) (Masao Yamaguchi / Heibonsha)
Uchida Roan Sanmyaku: Ushinawareta Nihonjin Hakkutsu (Uchida Roan Range: Discovering the “Lost Japanese”) (Masao Yamaguchi / Shobunsha)

  • Related Publications
Fusho no Mago (Unworthy Grandchild) (Fusanosuke Natsume / Chikuma Shobo)
Hamidashi no Bunpo: Haishagaku wo megutte (Rogue Grammar: On the Study of Losers) (Masao Yamaguchi / Heibonsha)
Uchida Roan Sanmyaku: Ushinawareta Nihonjin Hakkutsu (Uchida Roan Range: Discovering the “Lost Japanese”) (Masao Yamaguchi / Shobunsha)
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