American on Horseback, 1862


This ink and color wood-block print by Utagawa Yoshikazu (active 1848–63) was published in Edo (Toyko) in 1862. It depicts an American naval officer in black coat and top hat on a rearing brown horse, a dog in the foreground and civilians nearby. Along the top edge is a caption in Japanese which reads Kita Amerika shû no uchi Gasshûkoku mata Kyôwa seiji shû (On the North American Continent, the United States, also called the Republic). It comes from a series known as Foreigners from the Five Nations. The image relates to the years following Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s two naval expeditions to Japan in 1852–53 and 1854, when Westerners were becoming an increasingly common sight in cities such as Yokohama, and it provides an interesting Japanese impression of a foreigner. Yoshikazu is best known for Yokohama-e: prints depicting Westerners from the enclave of this city. The print is from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library.

Last updated: January 8, 2018