104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010  | 
(212) 254-4710  |  Mon - Fri, 10AM - 6PM
Follow Us:
  • We are happy to call you during the auction and place bids on your behalf. To arrange phone bidding, please call Swann's bid department during business hours.

    (212) 254-4710 ext. 0
    Mon - Fri 10AM - 6PM


    Or, e-mail a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to phonebids@swanngalleries.com. Be sure to include a phone number where we can reach you.

    Bids may also be submitted via fax. Send a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to (212) 979-1017. You will receive a confirmation before the sale.

    Sale 2496 | Lot 385
    Price Realized: $469With Buyer's Premium
    Show Hammer Price
    • Click Image To Enlarge

      Additional Images
    • Sale 2496 Lot 385

      (STORYTELLING.) Mumei No Ha Ha. (The Unsung Mother.) Complete set of 20 offset color Kamishibai story plates in original paper envelope with printed paper label. 10 1/2x15 1/4 inches each sheet size; light toning, otherwise very nice; outer sleeve with slight tears. Japan, Showa 19 (1944)

      Estimate $600 - 900

      A fine set of Kamishibai story plates in both subject matter and condition. The pictures were displayed within a miniature stage to illustrate shows on the street corners of Japan. These stories were designed to impart a sense of nationalism and morality to children, subtly acting as a tool of wartime propaganda.

      This is the heartbreaking tale of a Japanese mother whose son was killed in World War II. The mother is a hard worker but the people of the village do not acknowledge this; her son makes a Kunsho, or military medal, out of flowers and gives it to his mother out of respect of her hard work; she reflects on this memory and his boyhood innocence; the mother watches over her sleeping son on the night before he goes off to war; the son is now in the thick of the war; mother talks to her daughter about her plans to work in the factory making warplanes to support her son; the son receives a letter from the mother explaining her new job in the airplane factory; he imagines her face as he reads the letter; he writes a return letter to her; the fighting resumes early in the morning; the son fires a machine gun as the fighting intensifies, the Japanese soldiers are expecting aerial assistance; a shell explodes and the son is wounded; airplanes do come but they are American; the son dies in the arms of his friend; mother receives the letter explaining her son's death; she reads the letter to her daughter; mother imagines his spirit as he comes to say goodbye; the news of her son's death is crushing, but she forces herself to return to work in the airplane factory; she is back at work, carrying the memory of her son. In the end, it is an emotional dark narrative reflecting the horrors and sacrifices of war.

      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $469