Mimura Chikusei (三村竹清)

Chikusei MIMURA (male, May 4, 1876-August 26, 1953) was a bibliographer in Japan. Throughout his life, he lived as a populace scholar. He was also good at seal-engraving.

His real name was Seizaburo MIMURA, but used 'Chikusei' for his go (pseudonym), as his family ran a bamboo wholesaler. MIMURA also used 'Akira' for his betsu-go (another pseudonym). He was born in Kyobashi, Tokyo.

Brief Personal History
MIMURA dropped out elementary school, and served an apprenticeship at the age of 12. He saved his allowance and purchased "Huainanzi (The Masters/Philosophers of Huainan)." Being a bookworm, he kept purchasing and reading books, ending up in 8 years with a volume which could fill a small boat. When he served the Russo-Japanese War as a chief orderly, he was such a booklover that he brought in "Jusankyo (Thirteen Classics)" while marching, and troubled his friends as he had them carry the books on their back. Other than classic Confucian writings, MIMURA read a wide variety of books including sharebon (witty books). Those books soon overflew his boarding house. In the meantime, he started writing, using thoughts and ideas he put down in more than 20 notebooks.

To enrich his knowledge and education, he also started studying Keisho (important literatures in Confucianism) and Sinology (study of the Chinese classics) under 長坂或斎. He also learned shoho (penmanship) under Daiiki NARUSE, Nihonga (Japanese-style Painting) under Kinpo Ikeda and Kanpo ARAKI, and drawing under Fuko MATSUMOTO. On seal-engraving, he was deeply influenced by Zoroku HAMAMURA. Thus, MIMURA cultivated literary education and techniques, and acquired a wide and deep knowledge of literature. He enjoyed Chinese-style poem, paintings and calligraphic works, seal-engravings as well as waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables), kyoka (comic tanka poem of thirty-one syllables) and haikai (seventeen-syllable short poem). In particular, he has established a name as a seal engraving artist.

Taken under the wing of book collector Tokuro NAKAGAWA and visiting him frequently, MIMURA began to associate with Kyoko YAMANAKA, Wakaki HAYASHI, Roan UCHIDA, Shigetomo KODA, and Shachiku ONO. MIMURA joined a group of reproducing extremely valuable books, established in 1918 and sponsored by Seisaku YAMADA, in its second phase, and made a good contribution in searching and reproducing kikosho (extremely valuable book) for a long time. Through Beisan-do master Seisaku YAMADA, MIMURA get associated with Shoyo TSUBOUCHI and Shunjo ICHISHIMA. At the request of Shoyo, MIMURA presented an inscription for a monument at a hot spring in Atami Minakuchi village in 1921. In 1935, MIMURA also provided a writing for the epitaph on the tombstone of Shoyo.

Based upon his detailed and extensive knowledge about the people of the old which he accumulated through reading of old books, MIMURA began writing biographies. He intentionally avoided writing about famous people, but deliberately picked up those who lived rather unrecognized in the history. He chose magazines as inconspicuous as possible in which his biography works were carried, and he almost ignored manuscript fees. Even so, MIMURA left astonishingly enormous volume of works.

Senzo MORI called Chikusei MIMURA, Wakaki HAYASHI (son of Kenkai HAYASHI), and Engyo MITAMURA as 'three great experts on Edo period.'

He died in Yugawara in the summer of 1953. He was 79 years old.

Diary
Chikusei's diary, "Fushusodo nichireki," is in custody at the TSUBOUCHI Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University. This diary, beginning in 1910 and ending in January 1953, records his life in detail, and few mistakes in writings or ellipses and incorrect characters are found. The diary, consisting of an enormous 145 volumes, or an equivalent of 15,000 pages of writing manuscript, is introduced by a research society of Chikusei MIMURA diary in the bulletin "Theatre Research," published by the TSUBOUCHI Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University, since its volume 16, 1993.

Literary works
"Heihei Bonbon Shijuin"
"Edo Chimeiji Shuran" Oka Shoin, 1929
"Hon no Hanashi" (Tales about Books) 1930
"Kakisute" 1935
"Kinsei No Shoden" Futami Shobo, 1940
"Chikusei MIMURA Anthology" edited by Senzo MORI, with Kozo HIDA, Mitsutoshi NAKANO, series 23 of "Nihon Shoshi gaku Taikei" Seishodo Shoten, 1982

vol. 1 "Zosho Inpu" (Compilation of book seal marks), "Zoku Zosho Inpu", "Zosho Inpu Dai San Shu" "Shinsen Kochu Hyakuin," "Kinsei Kaofu"

vol. 3 "Zokucho Showa"

vol. 4 "Kinsei Nosho Den" (Stories of Skilled Calligrapher in Early-Modern Times)

vol. 5 "Inwa Injin Den" (Story of Engravers of Tenkoku)

vol. 6 "Kinsei Bunga Den"

vol. 9 "Edo Hanashi" (Tales on Edo)

vol. 10 "Chikusei Zosho Mokuroku" (Catalogue of Chikusei Library)