Below is my message from yesterday, only that I removed the link to the book. :(
Happy to inform that a full copy of one of the most rare and sought after books in origami has been found. It is Origami Shuko, by Isao Honda, and the copy belonged to Gershon Legman.
I purchased Origami Shuko from his widow, Judith, as part of the contents of his amazing archive. I knew this finding would stir quite an excitement in the little origami community interested in the history of origami, so I wanted to make sure about a couple of issues before posting it in this forum. Yesterday I had the pleasure and honor to speak with Joan Sallas (through internet) who offered his point of view and hopefully we'll hear from hims soon.
One of the main questions looming on this book was why is it so rare that nobody has seen it before? David Lister said:
. Lister also said:
The other problem -and that's why so many people wanted to put a hand on that book- was about ownership that Akira Yoshizawa claimed on some of the models.
A.Y. wrote time and again to Gershon Legman regarding this issue and, in a way, asked for help or advice. All that Legman could tell him at that time was that he should try to sue Honda. "Why do you not simply sue him at law, in the courts of Japan?!", said Legman to Yoshizawa in a letter dated July 23, 1959. And before the end of the letter, he had a better idea: "Why you do not just walk in on him at his house and give him a good punch in the nose!! Then sue him”.
Of course Legman wanted to go as deep as he could regarding the truth behind the mysterious book. So he wanted to see the real thing. When he requested Honda a copy (he offered to pay for shipping and for photocopies), Honda apologized saying that he had lost the book! (letter from Legman to Yoshizawa, July 6th, 1971).
Yoshizawa was not as surprised as Legman thought he would be regarding Honda's answer. Yoshizawa was convinced that Honda had lied for a reason: “I have heard that you asked Mr. Honda to send you a copy of his Origami Shuko (1944). It seems unlikely to me that an author should have no copies of his own works on hand. On the contrary, I believe that he cannot comply with your request because the content of that book is now extremely embarassing to him. I shall send you a copy that I have on hand”. (Letter from Yoshizawa to Legman, April 13th, 1972).
But why Honda would be so embarrassed? Because he had stole some models from Yoshizawa? Or there was a more serious reason? That's something we don't know for sure although some hypothesis have been raised. Hopefully we get comments here from members of this list (Joan?).
Yoshizawa did as he promise and sent Legman a xerox copy of the book. The red marks on some pages are marks that Yoshizawa made for Legman to see where his own name appeared and which where his own models. That means that Honda didn't actually steal from Yoshizawa. He included his name on them. But A.Y. was still angry at him. So why? Maybe Honda didn't ask him for permission in advance? Or because there was something worth hiding? And that leads to an important question: Why Yoshizawa didn't sue Honda in the end? What do you think?
This is a fascinating story, we have ideas but want to hear from you first.
Look forward to your comments.