• View of Shinagawa (<i>Shinagawa no zu</i>: 品川之図) from the chuban series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (<i>Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi</i>: 東海道五十三次之内)
View of Shinagawa (<i>Shinagawa no zu</i>: 品川之図) from the chuban series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (<i>Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi</i>: 東海道五十三次之内)
View of Shinagawa (<i>Shinagawa no zu</i>: 品川之図) from the chuban series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (<i>Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi</i>: 東海道五十三次之内)
View of Shinagawa (<i>Shinagawa no zu</i>: 品川之図) from the chuban series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (<i>Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi</i>: 東海道五十三次之内)

Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)

View of Shinagawa (Shinagawa no zu: 品川之図) from the chuban series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi: 東海道五十三次之内)

Print


ca 1838
Signed: Kōchōrō Kunisada (香蝶楼国貞)
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Censor's seal: kiwame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - published by Moriya Jihei
National Diet Library - published by both Moriya Jihei and Sanoya Kihei
British Museum - Hiroshige's 'Shinagawa hi-no-de'
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art - they date their copy to 1836
Bryn Mawr
Honolulu Museum of Art
The Spencer Museum of Art

This is number two in the series.

Compare the print in the Lyon Collection to the one in Vienna. The sky in both of them is treated differently. However, the one in Vienna is much closer to the print by Hiroshige.

Gian Carlo Calza in his description in Hiroshige: The Master of Nature of the original Hiroshige print re-imagined in this scene said: "Shinagawa was the first post station along the Tōkaidō [about 5 miles from the Nihonbashi]. This print shows us the tail end of the daimyō's retinue, rather than the lead in the previous prints. A number of shop women [not included in the Kunisada version] observe the procession from their kiosks. If it had not been such a formal and intimidating group, they wold have been making eager overtures to potential clients. In the lower right corner we see the heads of some curious local inhabitants. [These are incorporated into this Kunisada print.]"

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In Tokaido Landscapes: The Path from Hiroshige to Contemporary Artists, 2011, #2, p. 14, speaking of the original Hiroshige print it says in a text by Sasaki Moritoshi: "In this scene of Edo-period Shinagawa, before Tokyo Bay (then Edo Bay) was reclaimed and built upon, the sea spreads out to the left as travelers begin the journey from Edo to Kyoto. At the side of the road a signpost marks the entrance to the post town. A daimyo's procession is passing through, heading west. In the early printings of Shinagawa, the morning sun peaks out from behind the boats at the far left, as suggested by the subtitle. The previous print, Nihonbashi, depicted the start of the journey before dawn. This print reflects the passage of time required to get to the Shinagawa station."

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In the catalog of an exhibition shown in Paris in 2012-13, Hiroshige: l'art du voyage, there is a very brief description, and 'brief' might be too generous a term, of the 'Vue d'auberges et de la baie d'Edo à Shinagawa'. One thing caught my eye where it says: "L'avancée de terre dans les eaux de la baie d'Edo est l'ile Tsukudajima, oû vivent des pêcheurs." I am loosely translating here the term 'L'avancée' as ' the projection'. The reason that this passage is important is because it is the first time I had noticed that Hiroshige's print shows the tip of Tsukudajima, the island from which the fishermen on the boats seen in both prints embark, while Kunisada's design has left it out entirely. Why? This is where it becomes most interesting.

Kunisada was known best for his figures of bijin or beautiful women, while Hiroshige was emphasizing the landscape. My conclusion: Kunisada or the publisher's staff drew a landscape which gave the verisimilitude of Hiroshige's original design, but did not follow his model assiduously. Again we have to ask ourselves the question "Why?" The answer appears to be relatively clear: Kunisada is only using Hiroshige's inventions as a means of emphasizing his own particular skills. We are meant to look at the women more than the setting. However, it should be noted that in this Kunisada series we are getting the best of both worlds.

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The sloping, dark gray mass on the right-hand side of this print is described In Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints from the James A. Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts on page 162 as being Yatsuyama.

A National Diet Library website says of Yatsuyama: "A hill that was at the northernmost tip of Shinagawa-shuku Station. In the "Edo Sunago" published in 1772, the origin of the name was said to be that previously there were "8 headlands here" or there where "the residences of 8 Daimyo (feudal lords)". In addition, it was also called "Mt. Dainichisan" because in 1700 there was a Dainichi-do Hall on this land. At the coast at the base, there were moorings for ships of approximately 18m both length and width which were used by travelers and visitors. The land from this hill was used in engineering and construction works such as the building of stone walls for the seashore area about the bottom of Yatsuyama, and recovery from flowing of the Meguro-gawa River, so today the hill is mostly flat."

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Miriam Wattles in her doctoral thesis wrote in a footnote on p. 232 that moon viewing parties were often held on the 26th day of the 7th month in the nineteenth century: "...viewings were often held at restaurants in Shinagawa."


Sanoya Kihei (佐野屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
landscape prints (fūkeiga 風景画) (author)