Lot 26

Autograph Album.- Incl. Mitsuko Coudenhove

Autograph album including the signature of Mitsuko Coudenhove-Kalergi, one of the first Japanese people to immigrate to Europe, also comprising autographs by a few members of her family and other contributors, three-quarter morocco, tooled boards, wear to edges and corners, 8vo, Austria, [early 20th century].

***A diplomat and brilliant linguist, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi  was named Deputy Minister of Austria-Hungary to Japan. He often visited a curios shop owned by a samurai family. One fateful day, his horse slipped on ice and he fell. Mitsuko Aoyama, the owner’s teenage daughter, ran to his aid and made a lasting impression on the 32-year-old bachelor. First the Count convinced Mitsuko’s father to let her work as a parlor maid at his legation and then he asked  for her hand in marriage. He flatly refused, but the couple defied him and married anyway in 1892. As a result, 18-year-old Mitsuko was disinherited and forever banned from her father’s house. She gave birth to two of their sons in Tokyo. In 1897, the family decided to move to Vienna, where she stayed until her death in 1941. All of her children were well-educated and spoke multiple languages; her second son, Richard Nikolaus, became the founder of the ‘Pan-Europa’ movement after WWI. The Japanese-Austrian Countess inspired Jacques Guerlain to create a perfume called ‘Mitsouko’.

Estimate: £150-£200