People from Foreign Lands: Americans, French


After nearly two centuries of restricted foreign contact, Japan was increasingly exposed to Western culture in the 1850s as new trade agreements prompted cross-cultural interaction. The influx of unfamiliar technology and customs incited anxiety as well as awe among the Japanese populace, and their strong curiosity is evident in the detailed depictions of foreign subjects by ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) artists. This print, created in 1861 is by Utagawa Yoshitora (flourished 1850–70), one of the foremost pupils of the popular ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798–1861). It depicts an American soldier and a French soldier and two ladies. The ladies hold their conversation on the left of the picture, while the soldiers, one armed with a sword and the other with a bayonet fixed on his gun, talk while facing the viewer on the right.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Yamadaya Shōbei or Shōjirō, Japan


Title in Original Language

外國人物 亜墨利加 佛蘭西

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print on hōsho paper : woodcut, color ; 22.3 x 32.5 centimeters (block), 24.4 x 36.2 centimeters (sheet)


  • From series entitled: Gaikoku jinbutsu (People from foreign lands).

Last updated: May 18, 2012