Friday, March 31, 2023

Hiroshima 1929 expo booklet with Nintendo ad

Today we will take a look at the booklet shown below, which is almost a century old. Inside we will discover a nice little nugget of Nintendo history.

The booklet is roughly B6 size (132 by 190 mm), contains 128 black and white printed pages, a color pullout and a color printed front and back.

The title is Great Hiroshima Guide (大廣島案内), which is printed in large red kanji on the front.

The sub title reads Showa Industry Expo Conference (昭和產業博覽會恊贊會), which is sponsored by Hiroshima City (廣島市主催).

As an aside, for those of you not familiar with the changes over time to the writing style of Japanese script, this booklet stems from an era when the custom was to write top-to-bottom and right-to-left.

Great Hiroshima Guide (1929) front page

The drawing on the front shows various landmarks of the city of Hiroshima, including Hiroshima Castle.

On the back we immediately recognize the Itsukushima shrine, located at the shoreline of the nearby Itsukushima island (also known as Miyajima).

Great Hiroshima Guide (1929) back page

The colofon at the back of the booklet indicates that it was printed in March of 1929. That is 94 years ago!

It also states that the booklet was not for sale (非売品).

The booklet was commissioned by the city of Hiroshima, in cooperation with the "Showa Industry Expo Association" (昭和產業博覽會恊賛會), and presumably handed out for free to (prospective) visitors of the expo.

The publisher and editor was Yakichi Ishikawa (石川彌吉).


In the preface, the editor explains that the booklet covers the main attractions ("famous places") of the city of Hiroshima and surroundings, using "as many pictures as possible". Information about shops and products is "provided by advertisements".

Indeed, besides editorial content, more than half of the booklet is filled with advertisements.


At the front of the booklet, there is a very nice pullout map, printed on one side in color. When pulled out, it measures about 46 centimeters wide.

The front of this map shows a drawn aerial view of the city of Hiroshima, with indication of the tram lines and tram stops as well as the locations of the expo. The back shows a map of the greater Hiroshima area, with all railway connections.