14 results
Beauties of Yoshiwara
Seirō Bijin Awase (Beauties of Yoshiwara) is one of the finest multicolored woodblock printed books in Japan. It was published in 1770. The book depicts 166 courtesans of the Yoshiwara, the pleasure quarter in Edo (present-day Tokyo), with the names of the courtesans and the brothels where they worked, with a haiku (a short poem) in the background of each illustration. The work consists of five sections in five chapters. The original title slip on which the book title and the volume title were printed is attached to the center ...
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National Diet Library
7th War Loan. Now--All Together
C.C. Beall (1892-1967) was a commercial illustrator who drew comics and book covers. He based the image on this World War II war loan poster on the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of the second American flag to be raised on Iwo Jima. The photo made a huge impact after being published as part of news reports on the battle. This poster was part of the campaign for a 7th War Loan subscription, which took place in May 1945, just days after victory in Europe. Officials were concerned that the ...
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Library of Congress
A View of Mimeguri Shrine from the Sumida River
This work by Shiba Kokan (1747-1818), a famous Western-style painter of the late Edo period (1600-1867), is the first copperplate etching by a Japanese artist. It depicts the landscape of Mimeguri Shrine at Mukōjima, eastern Edo (present-day Tokyo), as seen from the bank of the Sumida River. Because the etching was made for a peep-show box, left and right are reversed. Kokan was interested in Western science and wrote works on astronomy and geography. In this picture, he uses Western perspective drawing technique.
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National Diet Library
Imperial Diet
This multicolored print shows the second temporary Imperial Diet building. It was built in 1891 in Hibiya Uchisaiwaichō, central Tokyo, to replace the first temporary Imperial Diet building, which was destroyed by a fire. Its style combined elements of Japanese traditional architecture with Western elements attributable to its German architect. Imperial Diet sessions were held in this building 48 times before it too burned down, in 1925. The present National Diet building was constructed in Nagatachō, Metropolitan Tokyo, in 1936.
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National Diet Library
Morning Glory Flowers
This pictorial book from 1854 is known as one of the best books on morning glories published in Japan. It reflects the morning glory mania that began in 1847 and that was widespread among the people of Edo (present-day Tokyo) at that time. The book features colored prints of 36 morning glory flowers and leaves with strange shapes, by Hattori Sessai (1807-?), a Japanese painter known for his naturalist works. The descriptions were written by Bankaen Shujin, also known as Yokoyama Masana (1833-1908), who was a retainer of a Tokugawa ...
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National Diet Library
Gajō icchō
The term ukiyo-e, literally “pictures of the floating world,” refers to a genre of Japanese artwork that flourished in the Edo period (1600–1868). As the phrase “floating world” suggests, with its roots in the ephemeral worldview of Buddhism, ukiyo-e captured the fleeting dynamics of contemporary urban life. While being accessible and catering to “common” tastes, the artistic and technical details of these prints show remarkable sophistication, their subjects ranging from portraits of courtesans and actors to classical literature. These woodblock ukiyo-e prints are selections from the series Meisho Edo ...
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Library of Congress
The Young Maiden Oshichi
The term ukiyo-e, literally “pictures of the floating world,” refers to a genre of Japanese artwork that flourished in the Edo period (1600–1868). As the phrase “floating world” suggests, with its roots in the ephemeral worldview of Buddhism, ukiyo-e captured the fleeting dynamics of contemporary urban life. While being accessible and catering to “common” tastes, the artistic and technical details of these prints show remarkable sophistication, their subjects ranging from portraits of courtesans and actors to classical literature. From the series Edo Meisho (Famous sites of Edo), this 1867 ...
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Library of Congress
The Courtesan Shigeoka of Okamoto-ya; The Courtesan Sugatano of Sugataebi-ya; The Courtesan Hanamurasaki of Tama-ya
The term ukiyo-e, literally “pictures of the floating world,” refers to a genre of Japanese artwork that flourished in the Edo period (1600–1868). As the phrase “floating world” suggests, with its roots in the ephemeral worldview of Buddhism, ukiyo-e captured the fleeting dynamics of contemporary urban life. While being accessible and catering to “common” tastes, the artistic and technical details of these prints show remarkable sophistication, their subjects ranging from portraits of courtesans and actors to classical literature. Bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) capture the trends in feminine beauty ...
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Library of Congress
Ishinpō
Ishinpō, the Japanese encyclopedia of Chinese medicine, was compiled by Japanese author Tanba Yasunori (912–95) in the Heian period. It is a collected work of quotations from more than 200 works on traditional Chinese medicine dating from the Sui and Tang dynasties (581–907), comprising about 10,000 items. It preserves a large amount of medical lore from books that have since been lost. It is also the earliest medical work existing in Japan. Originally in 30 juan, it was issued in 982 and presented to the Japanese emperor ...
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National Central Library
Eight Sights in the Environs of Edo
This work is a series of nishiki-e (Japanese multicolored woodblock prints) that depict eight scenic spots around Edo (present-day Tokyo). The series, dating from about 1838, is one of the greatest artistic masterpieces from among the many woodblock prints of Utawaga Hiroshige I (1797–1858). The work consists of: Azuma no mori yau (Night rain at Azuma no mori); Haneda rakugan (Wild geese alighting at Haneda); Gyōtoku kihan (Returning sailboats near Gyōtoku); Sibaura seiran (Mountain vapor at Shibaura); Ikegami banshō (Evening bell at Ikegami); Koganei-bashi sekisho (Evening glow at Koganei-bashi ...
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National Diet Library
Map of Bushū Toshima District, Edo
This work is a reprint of a cadastral map, originally produced around 1630–31, showing land ownership in central Edo (Tokyo). The original map is considered the oldest and most accurate extant plan of the city, and multiple reproductions of it were made until the end of the Edo period (1603–1868). The map has several defining features, one of which is that all text labels read in the same direction, in the style of modern maps. It also includes pictorial representations of significant areas such as Edo Castle, the ...
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Library of Congress
Reproduction of Chōroku-Period Map of Edo, with Later Additions
This map shows villages in the province of Musashi that later grew together to form the city of Edo (present-day Tokyo). Edo Castle, built in 1457, is placed in the center of the map, which includes shrines, village names, and a tameike (reservoir) constructed in 1606, which dried up around 1877. A brief historical background on the establishment of the city is provided in red letters on the lower left. The title of the map implies that it was modeled on a map from the Chōroku period (1457–59), made ...
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Library of Congress
Pictorial Map of the Tōkaidō Highroad
This pictorial map depicts the Tōkaidō Highroad which ran between the cities of Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. The original Tōkaidō Bunken Ezu (Scale map of the Tōkaidō) was drawn by woodblock artist Hishikawa Moronobu (circa 1618–94) in 1690, based on a survey of the road made in 1651. Various iterations of this map have circulated, including black and white prints and large scrolls meant to be spread out on a desk for armchair traveling. This version is painted with ink and watercolor on two smaller scrolls, suggesting it was ...
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Library of Congress
Map of Coastal Defense
In 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the United States Navy entered the port of Yokohama near Edo (Tokyo) with an intimidating fleet of steam warships. His objective was to open Japan’s doors to trade after nearly two centuries of restricted contact with the outside world. Perry’s visit prompted the Edo shogunate to reconsider, with feudal lords in the area, the method of coastal protection and to order the construction of forts around present-day Tokyo Bay. This okatame (coastal defense) map depicts the system of defense as it ...
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Library of Congress