Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
View of Kanagawa (Kanagawa no zu: 神奈川之図) 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)
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 'Kanagawa dai no kei' version - note the clouds in the sky (1)
British Museum - Hiroshige's 'Kanagawa dai no kei' version - note the clouds in the sky (2)
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna - note the clouds in the sky
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art - they date their copy to 1836 with both Moriya Jihei and Sanoya Kihei seals
Honolulu Museum of Art
The Spencer Museum of Art
This is number four in the series. The Kunisada print stays true to the template supplied by Hiroshige with the exception of the bijin in the foreground. More telling is the difference between the example in the Lyon Collection and that in Vienna, especially in the treatment in the sky.
In Tokaido Landscapes: The Path from Hiroshige to Contemporary Artists, 2011, #4, p. 16, speaking of the original Hiroshige print it says in a text by Sasaki Moritoshi: "At the west end of the Kanagawa station, high ground of the hill is lined with teahouses with ocean views. It is a pastoral scene that is hard to associate with present-day Yokohama. On the street, women desperately try to pull travelers into their teahouses. Below them, a pilgrim accompanied by a child and another pilgrim, carrying a portable Buddhist shrine on his back, make their way up the hill. They are on religious journeys. One can sense a tranquility in them that has no connection to the tussling men and woman ahead of them. This print contrasts nature and human affairs as well as action and repose."
In the original Hiroshige print women are seen grabbing at travelers trying to pull them into their establishments. Kanagawa was a suburb of Edo which was known for its good, but inexpensive restaurants. It also offered the same things as the main pleasure district for Edo, the Yoshiwara, but without all of the same restrictions, thus making it a more relaxed environment.
Our source for this information is Hiroshige: l'art du voyage, Paris, 2012, p. 55.
In Masterworks of Ukiyo-e: Hiroshige, the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō by Muneshige Narazaki. 1969, p. 30 it says: "It seems extremely likely that Hiroshige, when he traversed the Tōkaidō for the first time, had with him a copy of Jippensha Ikku's "Shank's Mare," which describes Kanagawa in the following words: "There is a row of tea house on one side of the embankment, all of which are two-storied. The corridors in the tea houses all have banisters, and the view of the seashore is superb." Here we see waitresses tugging at the sleeves of the travelers in an attempt to persuade them to enter the tea houses - and so sweeten for a time what was often a bitter journey."
Kanagawa is about 5½ miles from Kawasaki and is now part of Yokohama.
Sanoya Kihei (佐野屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
landscape prints (fūkeiga 風景画) (author)