The theme of our “2nd COLLECTION” is “FIREWORKS”. The inspiration came from Hirayama Jinta’s firework illustrations. In 1883 Hirayama became the first Japanese to receive an American patent as a fireworks expert. The Ukiyo-e designs by an unknown painter seemed exotic and captured that brief moment when fireworks light up the night sky. It is hard to believe that this design is more than 130 years old. We made a slight modification to this design to express our “Kyokarakami” (Kyoto paper).

「Illustrated catalogue of night bomb shells」1890年頃(型録表紙)・横浜市中央図書館所蔵

MOTIF モチーフ

浮世絵風にデザインされたエキゾチックな図柄。 An Exotic Design Fashioned after the Ukiyo-e Style

明治期に海外への輸出用に発行された型録は、昼花火・夜花火・庭花火などの種類別につくられ、取り扱い方法・価格表・製品番号も振られた現代のカタログと変わらない構造になっています。映像技術のない時代、花火の一瞬の輝きを見事にとらえ、簡略化されたデザインは、当時の浮世絵師のクオリティの高さが伺えます。 ※これら型録は、横浜市立図書館ホームページから閲覧が可能です。

The catalogue used for exporting overseas during the Meiji Era divided fireworks into “Day light bomb Shells”, “Night bomb Shells” and “Garden & lawn pieces”, contained a how to use explanation, price list and product number. It was made exactly the same as the modern-day catalogue. In an era where there was no cinematography, the high quality of these Ukiyo-e painters that captured the flash of fireworks in a simple design is very evident. (* It is possible to view the entire catalogue at the Yokohama City Library Homepage)

「Illustrated catalogue of night bomb shells」1890年頃(No.69/No.94)・横浜市中央図書館所蔵

STORY ストーリー

日本人で初めて米国の特許を取得した花火師・平山甚太 Hirayama Jinta - The First Japanese to earn an American Patent as a Fireworks Expert


In 1883, Hirayama Jinta became the first Japanese to earn a patent from America as a fireworks expert. Hirayama was born in 1840 in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. He worked for a while as an accountant for the Mikawa Yoshida clan, but shortly gave that up and traveled to Yokohama to try his hand at business. In 1877, together with Iwata Shigeho from Buzennakatsu, Hirayama founded a fireworks company in Yokohama. The company was named Hirayama Enka Seizosho. That same year he sponsored a very successful fireworks display at the Yokohama Park. Hirayama’s company became very well-known and was flooded with orders not only from Japan, but from overseas, as well. The export catalogue that they produced for international sales is still preserved at the Yokohama Library. In 1883, Hirayama received the American patent. In 1890, he moved back to his hometown of Toyohashi and 10 years later, in 1900, he died at the age of 60.