Tokyo: 1945. Stock ID #158138
Coloured poster showing a woman fanning the mosquitoes away from her sleeping baby. Burning mosquito coils are visible in small pit near the concerned mother. 44 x 57.5cm. Light creasing where poster has been folded, otherwise very good. This poster advertises a mosquito repellent incense named Seburikō. The text accompanying the title translates as "Mosquito repellent of Sanka (Driving mountain monsters away)"; "Elegant smoke"; "Sanitation for this summer", and "Mosquito and insect proof".
The Sanka people are a people who are often equated with gypsies in European society. The Sanka people of Japan live and travel within the mountains. It appears from this poster that "Driving mountain monsters away" seems to be the name of the mosquito repellent made by the Sanka. The mosquito repellent advertised here, Seburikō, was produced by Misumi Hiroshi 三角寛 at the Mikuni Yakusō Kenkyūsho 皇國薬草研究所 [Mikuni Institute of Medicinal Plants Research].
Misumi Hiroshi (1903-71) was a very "colourful character". He started his career as an Asahi Shiinbun journalist in 1926, mainly working as a crime reporter. While working on a robbery case, he heard a detective say "The culprit ran fast; he might be Sanka", which was the catalyst for his interest in this mysterious mountain people.
Following his career as a journalist Misumi Hiroshi became the popular author of a series of novels with Sanka as main characters. In 1942 he founded Mikuni Yakusō Kenkyūsho [Mikuni Institute of Medicinal Plants Research] and became a director. During the war he sold medicinal plants he claimed to be used by Sanka to the Imperial Japanese Army. At the time the Japanese army were fighting in the Pacific and prevention of malaria was a crucial issue for their operations. After the war Misumi Hiroshi ran cinemas and gained a PhD in literature in 1962 for his research on the Sanka. However, possibly in keeping with his rather "colourful character", his research has been questioned by scholars since! (When referring to this item please quote stockid 158138).