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 EDO-TOKYO MUSEUM

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  • Picture Scrolls Depicting the Battle of Sekigahara
    1847

    The forces led by Ishida Mitsunari, Shimazu Yoshihiro, and Ukita Hideie are arranged in battle formation. Kobayakawa Hideakifs troops are visible on a distant mountain. The Battle of Sekigahara is about to begin.
    This image is from a set of picture scrolls depicting that decisive battle, which led to the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate.
    The scrolls also depict the course of events that led up to the Battle of Sekigahara. They begin with a council of Toyotomi elders and magistrates loyal to the late Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his son and heir. Next are depicted the attacks on Fushimi Castle, Gifu Castle, and the Sanada clanfs Ueda Castle. The scrolls culminate with paintings of the Battle of Sekigahara.
    That battle took place on October 21, 1600, in Mino province (now Gifu prefecture). The Hideyoshi loyalists, led by Ishida Mitsunari, had expected to defeat Tokugawa Ieyasu at Sekigahara. Instead, Ieyasufs victory opened the way to his establishing hegemony over all of Japan with the Tokugawa shogunate.
    Many copies of the Battle of Sekigahara Picture Scrolls are extant, but the original has been lost. The copies were all made in the latter half of the Edo period. They are believe to have been owned by various daimyo clans, since some have had accounts related to a particular daimyo clan added to them. What inspired their production is not known, but given that these picture scrolls, all on the same subject, were made and kept at locations throughout the country, it seems likely that there was a movement in the latter half of the Edo period to recognize the importance of the Battle of Sekigahara and keep alive the history of the roles the ancestors of the daimyo had performed there.
    (No. 96200017)

  • Shankfs Mare on the Tokaido
    Jippensha Ikku (author and artist)
    1802-1822

    The adventures of Yajirobei and Kitahachi, nicknamed Yaji and Kita, as they set out together from Edo to travel the Tokaido highway are the subject of this comic novel. The title (Hizakurige, in Japanese) refers to traveling on foot, using onefs own legs instead of riding a horse. Yaji and Kita have set out on a pilgrimage to the Ise Grand Shrine. Their many blunders and the unexpected events they encountered on the way are described in prose and illustrations.
    Yaji and Kidafs popularity reflects the commoner travel boom from the mid Edo period on. To please their readership, after reaching their original destination, Ise, the pair went on to Kyoto and Osaka. Their journey in print lasted thirteen years, between the publication of the first volume to a volume with the origin story added at the end. Including the sequels, it took a total of twenty-one years for this extremely long novel to be completed.
    The author, Jippensha Ikku, was born to a warrior-class family in Suruga province (now Shizuoka prefecture). While he briefly served a town magistrate, he then apprenticed himself to an author of joruri puppet opera plays. When the publisher Tsutaya Jusaburo discovered his talents, he began writing popular fiction. He began Shankfs Mare on the Tokaido when he was thirty-eight, drawing the illustrations as well as writing the text. Supporting himself exclusively as a writer, he had written more than 500 books when he died at the age of 67 in 1831.
    In terms of literary history, Shankfs Mare on the Tokaido is regarded as the starting point for the comic novel and one of that genrefs masterpieces. Its timing was significant. The publishing world had been stifled by the harsh regulations imposed by a series of conservative measures promoted mainly during the Kansei era (1789-1801) and known as the Kansei Reforms. But the comic novel, with its penetrating humor, helped revive the industry. Yaji and Kita brought, through laughter, a new breath of life to the everyday world of Edo. Their popularity lives on today. Their travels are still presented in movies, television, manga, and other media. Love for them transcends historic periods and generations.
    (No. 86200139-86200161)

  • Famous Sites of the Provinces Ranking
    Latter half of Edo period (1746-1841)

    Sumo ranking sheets (banzuke) are a common sight here, given that Ryogoku, where our museum is located, is also the location of the national sumo stadium. These printed sheets list the sumo rikishi in order of rank, based on their previous successes in tournaments. The sheet is divided into East and West (on the right and left sides). The more powerful the rikishi, the higher he is placed on the sheet, with the highest ranking, their names written in large characters, on the upper right. The rankings can thus be grasped at a glance.
    gSumo-like ranking sheetsh (mitate banzuke) using the sumo ranking sheet format became a popular way to present rankings of all sorts of things. In this example, the subject is gfamous places in all the provinces.h As the title indicates, it ranks famous places throughout Japan. As in a real banzuke, it lists the referees, Matsushima and Amanohashidate, in the center, under the three very large characters meaning gFor your reading pleasure.h Then, on the East (the righthand side), we see the top rankings given to Sarashina in Shinano province and the Sumida River in Edo. On the West we see Yoshino in Yamato and the Ohigawa (Ohitsugawa) river in Yamashiro province. These Edo-period picks for famous places are still familiar place names today. Looking at these rankings, we realize that people in Edo were knowledgable about famous places not just nearby but throughout the country as a whole.
    Publishing sumo-like ranking sheets became popular in the Bunka and Bunsei eras (1804-1831), in the latter half of the Edo period. They were produced in particularly large numbers between the arrival of Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in 1853 and the early Meiji period (1868 to about 1888). These ranking sheets, which were highly affordable, were a popular pleasure and also a valuable source of information.
    (No. 98200408)

  • A Map of Kinai, Tokai, Tosan, and Hokuriku Regions from the Official Survey Maps of Japan
    1867

    In the closing years of the Edo period (and the Tokugawa shogunate), with the state of both internal and external affairs growing increasingly tense, the shogunate sought the establishment of an institution that would survey, research, and educate people in Western scholarship. The result was the foundation of the Institute for the Study of Barbarian Books at Kudanshita, Edo, in 1856. As the institutefs operations expanded, it was moved in 1862 to a site outside the Hitotsubashi gate of Edo Castle and renamed the Institute for the Study of Western Books. The following year, the institute having grown even further, it was renamed the Institute for Western Studies and positioned as the most important of the shogunatefs educational institutions.
    The Institute for Western Studies published the map shown here. It was based on a small-scale map from the Map of the Coastal Areas of Japan by Ino Tadataka, which was completed in 1821.
    Ino Tadataka was born in Yamabe-gun, Kazusa province (now the town of Kujukuri in Chiba prefecture) in 1745. At the age of seventeen, he became the adopted son-in-law and heir of the Ino family, well-established sake brewers and rice dealers in the village of Sawara, Katori-gun, Kazusa province (now the Sawara district in the city of Katori, Chiba prefecture). Retiring from running the family business at the age of fifty, he moved to Edo (Fukagawa Kuroe-cho, now Monzen Nakacho in Koto city, Tokyo). There he became a disciple of Takahashi Yoshitoki, an astronomer serving the shogunate, and mastered the latest in Western calendar construction and surveying techniques. At the age of fifty-five, he set out to conduct a survey of Ezo (Hokkaido) and the Oshu Kaido, the highway connecting Edo and the Shirakawa castle town, in present-day Fukushima prefecture. He subsequently conducted ten surveys of all of Japan to provide the data for the Map of the Coastal Areas of Japan. Sadly, he died in 1818, at the age of 73, before the mapfs completion in 1821.
    His painstaking work was reproduced, almost unaltered, as woodblock printed maps, of which this image is one example.
    (No. 91221131)

  • Famous Views of Tokyo: Garden of Hotel
    Utagawa Hiroshige III
    1868

    This polychrome print depicts the Inn for Foreigners (known as the Tsukiji Hotel), which opened in Tsukiji, Tokyo, in the eleventh month of 1868. Under the treaties of amity and commerce that the shogunate signed with several other countries, Yokohama and other ports had been opened to trade, and trade had also begun in Edo. To meet the expected demand, an inn for foreigners was built in Tsukiji, Edo, in the area established as a foreign settlement.
    The American architect Richard P. Bridgens, who is known for designing Shimbashi Station, also designed this hotel. Shimizu Kisuke II of the Shimizuya (now Shimizu Corporation) was entrusted with its construction. Despite the unstable political situation in Japan, as the forces supporting restoration of imperial rule fought to defeat the Tokugawa shogun, construction proceeded apace, and the hotel opened shortly after the launch of the new Meiji Restoration government.
    Tsukiji Hotel was a Western-style structure, with a tower, but included many traditional Japanese elements, including namakokabe exterior walls, in which the surface is covered with flat, rectangular tiles with raised fine plaster in the interstices between the tiles. Its architectural style might be called quasi- or pseudo-Western.
    The English-language newspapers of the day referred to it as the Yedo Hotel (gYedoh is an older rendering of gEdoh). The views of Mount Fuji from its guest rooms and its Japanese-style garden facing Tokyo Bay were famous. Over a hundred examples of polychrome prints depicting the hotel are known, some quite lavish. This single-sheet polychrome print, which was published when the hotel opened, was sold at a price affordable for the general public.
    The Tsukiji foreign settlement, however, did not prosper as well as Yokohama, with its trading port, did, and in time the hotel found itself in financial difficulties. After closing and reopening several times, it was sold to the Japanese navy. It then burned to the ground in the Ginza Fire, in the second month of 1872.
    Just three months later, Japanfs first railway began operating between Yokohama and Shimbashi. The Ginza was rebuilt after the fire in red brick structures, and the area was swiftly transformed. A horde of polychrome prints depicting these new famous places in the city appeared, delighting their audience.
    (No. 95202788)

  • The Great Taisho Earthquake Disaster Sugoroku Board
    Yamamura Koka
    ca. 1924

    This illustrated sugoroku board, used for playing a game similar to snakes and ladders, takes the Great Kanto Earthquake, which struck on September 1, 1923, as its theme. The game starts from the gshaking beginsh panel. The playersf pieces advance from panel to panel, each depicting the devastated post-quake state, as they aim for their goal, the final panel: gLife, belongings, and safety.h
    Each of the pieces has a movement destination written on it, in response to the roll of the dice. The first roll of the dice determines whether that piece will head to ghomeh or gevacuation center.h If the dice say gevacuation center,h the piece moves to Hibiya Park, the Marunouchi, Asakusa Park, or Ueno Park, all actual evacuation centers. The panels depict life as an evacuee in detail: temporary housing, tents, stalls offering, for example, open-air haircuts, dumplings, or beef bowls, and bathing in the moat of the Imperial Palace.
    The pieces then follow various routes, depending on how good their luck is, out of the evacuation centers. Making it to the goal is hardest if the piece lands on the gdistressh panel. About one in two die there and go back to the gshaking beginsh starting point. If injured or ill, they may go to the grescue squadsh or get lost.
    The panels also include gYoufre in Luckh panels that bring happy encounters, resuscitation, birth, or repairs to onefs house. Depending on the dice, the route to the goal opens.
    The very idea of exploring the outcome of a disaster in a sugoroku game may seem rather repugnant. But because this version of the game is set up so that the players must struggle to move towards their goal of safety, it also gives a sense of the suffering people experienced and their determination to recover.
    (No. 88200433)

  • Greek Boku-chan Piggy Bank, from Fuji Bank
    1964

    Round, black eyes, plump cheeks, and a cheery smile: this boy, named Boku-chan, is a piggy bank in human form. Fuji Bank (now Mizuho Bank) set a goal of gboosting individual savings,h to which end the bank offered these piggy banks as gifts in the branches in June and December, the months when companies distributed bonuses to their employees.
    According to the bankfs records, the inspiration for Boku-chanfs design appeared when an employee in its public relations department happened to be looking at his little boy, who had just turned one, at home. For seven years, starting in 1962, sixteen version of Boku-chan, clothed in costumes from around the world, were born.
    This photograph shows the Boku-chan for June of 1964, dressed in as a Greek Olympian. Since 1964 was the year of the Tokyo Olympic Games, another version referenced Japanfs Olympic team uniform, with Boku-chan wearing a red jacket and holding a white hat in his hand. That December, a Boku-chan wearing a costume inspired by Mexico, the site of the next Olympics, appeared. The basic design of this Boku-chan piggy banks was utterly cute, and the special touches added to some, including those whose hats or the things they were carrying could be taken off and put back on, suggest the designersf desire to satisfy the expectations of the people eagerly awaiting the next version.
    For the next version, three types of costumes-from the Arabian Nights, the British Royal Guard, and a bullfighter-were proposed, and people voted for the one they liked best. Ultimately all of these Boku-chan would see the light of day. Getting people to go to the bank to vote on them was a publicity strategy to establish Fuji Bank as gthe bank it is easy to visit.h
    (No. 97001330)

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