UMass Amherst
Iinuma Yokusai

Zōtei sōmoku zusetsu
Tokyo, 1875.
18 vols.

Call no.: QK369.I5 1875

A botanical pioneer, Iinuma Yokusai (1783-1865) was a physician originally from Nichimura, Japan, who enthusiastically pursued the study of native plants under the influence of books imported from the Dutch. Iinuma's major work, the title of which can be translated as "An iconography of plants indigenous to, cultivated in, or introduced into Japan," merges artistic beauty and botanical skill, provides an illustration of each species, with the Japanese name (transliterated), Latin binomial, and the Linnaean family to which it belongs.

Iinuma's work on the herbaceous plants of Japan first appeared in twenty volumes published between 1856 and 1861, and was reprinted in this edition of 1875. The illustrations are simple line drawings printed in black and white, but provide effective demonstration of the major features of each plant. In some of the plates in the SCUA copy, the floral structures have a delicate wash of watercolor added as highlights.

Zōtei sōmoku zusetsu is considered the first modern illustrated work in Japanese botany and was cited favorably in the west as early as 1875.

title page

Alpinia Alpinia japonica (Zingiberacaea)

Chimaphila Chimaphila japonica (Ericacaea)