Design Record of the Ryōgoku Bridge after Its Reconstruction and Repair


Ryōgoku Bridge over the Sumida River in Edo (present-day Tokyo) was a lively place in the Edo period (1600−1868), the scene displays fireworks and other entertainments in the neighborhood of the bridge. First built in the middle of the 17th century as a wooden bridge, it was renovated and repaired several times before it was rebuilt using modern construction methods in 1904. This document is a pictorial record of the reconstruction of the bridge in 1839. The document is concertina-folded and each section of the bridge is depicted twice. The length of the whole document is over 4 meters long. Its most remarkable feature is that the bridge deck is illustrated on another piece of paper, which is pasted over the page to form a flap. When the paper is turned over, the wooden beams and supports illustrated underneath can be seen. In this presentation, the same page is captured in two consecutive frames: one is of the illustration drawn on the flap; and the other, the one below. For example, when you turn over the illustration of the bridge deck, shown in frame 11, the removed picture appears in frame 12. The detail of the illustrations is such that even the birds swimming on the river are drawn.

Last updated: January 8, 2018