Recently I read Soseki's autobiographical novel Michikusa and found the following passage:
Of course, he was able to get whatever toys he wanted. Tools for utsushi-e (写し絵) were also included in it.In Notes section at the end of Michikusa, the following description is given about utsushi-e:
The thing that reflects pictures drawn on glass onto a screen made of cloth or paper, in the dark; a magic lantern.These indicate that the shadow picture was one of popular toys in Meiji period, to which childhood days of both Soseki and Yukawa belonged. Soseki was born in 1867; Yukawa, in 1907; and I in 1935. As for the year of birth, therefore, Yukawa and I are closer than Soseki and Yukawa. However, there was a big change of cultural environments when electric lights spread through the country [an almost full spread in Tokyo was achieved in 1912 (Ref. 1)]. In my childhood, I saw a projector of 8-mm film in a nearby home already being used instead of a magic lantern. Thus, Soseki and Yukawa had much in common in their childhood, and I have to admit that the translation, "shadow pictures," by Brown and Yoshida was quite right.
- Chronology of electricity from Taisho to Showa, A Web page of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.