Top of page

Book/Printed Material The Monkey King, Songoku.

About this Item


  • The Monkey King, Songoku.


  • In December 1936, Dainihon Yubenkai Kodansha began publishing the Kodansha Picture Books series aimed at an audience younger than that of its youth-oriented magazine, Yonen Club. Using the best nihonga (traditional Japanese painting) artists and Western-style illustrators of the time, the popular series aimed to create titles to be looked at as opposed to being read. At its peak, Kodansha was publishing one million copies per month. It had published 203 titles when the series ended its publication in April 1942. First published in 1939, Songoku was the 95th title. The version presented here was published in 1949, and there are some changes from the original. The text was changed from katakana to hiragana (both are syllabic writing, with the latter used more for Japanese words and katakana usually for foreign loanwords and onomatopoeia) and the extra short stories from the original version were omitted. The original story came from a Chinese novel called Journey to the West, published during the Ming dynasty, which would have been very familiar to Japanese children. In this version, after a stone monkey born from the stones of Mount Huaguo (in Jiangsu Province, China) became king of the monkeys, he trained under a mountain hermit and was given the name Songoku in Japanese. He went on a rampage in heaven and was confined by Buddha to the Marble Mountain. This work is an enjoyable picture book that colorfully depicts the lively movements of the characters and humorous expressions of the monkeys. The text was written by the novelist Uno Koji (1891-1961); the pictures were provided by Honda Shotaro (1893-1939). Shotaro was a popular children's painter, who painted illustrations for children since the beginning of the Taisho period (1912-26) and worked on the famous illustrated magazine for children Kodomo no Kuni (The country of children).


  • Honda, Shōtarō, 1893-1939 Illustrator.
  • Uno, Kōji, 1891-1961 Author.

Created / Published

  • Tokyo : Kodansha, 1949.


  • -  China--Jiangsu Province--Lianyungang
  • -  Japan
  • -  1949
  • -  Buddhas
  • -  Children's books
  • -  Children's literature
  • -  Monkeys
  • -  Picture books


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 30 folios : illustrated, color ; 26 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Diet Library.
  • -  Content in Japanese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666552

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. For information on contacting WDL partner organizations, see this archived list of partners

The Library asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here.

Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For additional information and contact information for many of the partner organizations, see this archived capture of the World Digital Library site from 2021.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Honda, Shōtarō, Illustrator, and Kōji Uno. The Monkey King, Songoku. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1949. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Honda, S. & Uno, K. (1949) The Monkey King, Songoku. Tokyo: Kodansha. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Honda, Shōtarō, Illustrator, and Kōji Uno. The Monkey King, Songoku. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1949. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.