Source, translation of inscription, artist, and other works
January 19, 2013 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Can my Japanese-reading MeFite base shed some light on this delightful image?

The image shows an ukiyo-e style painting or print depicting Ken Griffey Jr. at bat in a 1987 to 1992 Mariners uniform, cropped tight around shoulders and head, with the Japanese rising sun framing his head in the manner of a halo. I would guess the image is intended to represent Greffey in his rookie season, 1989.

At top left there is a two-part inscription in fliud calligraphy and another breifer one at lower right, accompanied by a red stamp or an image element designed to resemble one.

I am hoping the hive mind knows:

who the artist is
if the work was part of a series
if a part of a series, viewable URLs of other images from it
what the inscriptions say
if the work is an actual woodblock print, a single watercolor, or some other print medium

In particular, I am curious about the use of the sun as a design element. I had thought the era of Japanese interest in Seattle baseball began later.

Thanks for your thoughts.
posted by mwhybark to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: base? what did i type that iOS corrected to that?

anyway. my MeFite Japanese speaking and reading peeps, what say you?
posted by mwhybark at 12:01 PM on January 19, 2013

Response by poster: I got it! I must have typed something like "baseball fans" and not noticed it fail to render. sorry about that.
posted by mwhybark at 12:04 PM on January 19, 2013

On the top left, the right hand text-box says Seattle Mariner and, to its left, phonetically sounded out, Ken Griffey, Jr. I'm googling for more info but no luck so far.
posted by mustard seeds at 12:14 PM on January 19, 2013

Response by poster: is the inscription lower right a sig?
posted by mwhybark at 8:28 PM on January 19, 2013

Response by poster: I'll drop in some other links to Japanese works depicting baseball, since I am finding them.

Baseball, Hisara Tanaka, 1950.

Baseball, Sanzo Wada, 1956.
posted by mwhybark at 8:55 PM on January 19, 2013

Response by poster: Baseball Tournament, Sumio Kawakami, 1932.
posted by mwhybark at 8:57 PM on January 19, 2013

Yes, I think the inscription on the lower right side is a signature. I could only descipher the first two characters, 山邊 (Yamabe), which is a surname. I googled it with Ken Griffey, painter (in Japanese), etc., but didn't find anything relevant.
posted by clearlydemon at 11:25 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lower right inscription means "drawn by Yamabe". (山邊 画)
posted by monocot at 1:51 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Can you guys get anything from the chop? Isn't that canonically an owner's mark or some such?
posted by mwhybark at 1:08 PM on January 20, 2013

Response by poster: I think we are getting there, bit by bit.

Noe Yamabe: born in LA, spent time in Manzanar, uses traditional Japanese-style illustration to show American sporting pursuits:

Samurai Fisherman

Samurai Golfer

No direct illo finds yet, bummer.
posted by mwhybark at 1:17 PM on January 20, 2013

Response by poster: What a badass. I sure hope it's this guy.

Noe Yamabe dresses in an Elvis costume during the Japanese Summer Obon Festival at the Valley Japanese Community Center in Sun Valley, Ca June 27, 2009.

Looks like he used to have a couple websites for his apparel designs but they are expired.
posted by mwhybark at 1:27 PM on January 20, 2013

Response by poster: I should note there do appear to be Yamabes in the Seattle region as well, but I am having no luck finding traces of art associated with them.
posted by mwhybark at 1:37 PM on January 20, 2013

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