Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎Anonymous Artists‎ > ‎

True View of Asakusa Park, around Twelve-Story Tower: Famous Places of Tokyo

Picture of the Occupation of the Taku Forts and the Hard Fight of Navy Lt. Colonel Hattori

Japanese Color Lithograph

True View of Asakusa Park, around Twelve-Story Tower: Famous Places of Tokyo

by unknown artist, 1921

S. Watanabe Woodcut Print Shop

IHL Cat. #2063

About This Print

This lithograph by an anonymous artist, brings us a "true view" of the area near the twelve-story Ryōunkaku (Cloud Surpassing Pavilion) in 1921. Strolling along the Gourd Pond in Asakusa Park is a family dressed in their Sunday best. From the carp leaping up from the pond, to the spring cherry blossoms, to the airship and two bi-planes overhead, all signs are auspicious.

Two years later, on September 1923, the Great Kantō Earthquake would devastate not only the 12-story Ryōunkaku but much of the city. (For depictions of the 1923 earthquake see the article on this site Prints of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

The Ryōunkaku (Cloud Surpassing Pavilion)
Source: Tokyo A Cultural History (Cityscapes), Stephen Mansfield, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 106-107.

The Ryōunkaku, built in 1890, was Japan's first western-style skyscraper.  The building, constructed under the supervision of the British Engineer W. K. Barton, was at 216 feet in height, the tallest building in Tokyo. Lit up at night by electric arc lamps it was an impressive sight. The building offered imported goods, restaurants and an observation deck with telescopes, with the ninth floor reserved for art exhibitions. An elevator, Japan's first, ran up to the eighth floor.

In the 1923 earthquake, the top four stories collapsed into the Gourd Pond, but the bottom structure of the first eight floors remained, to be torn down my army engineers in the next year.

Airships over Tokyo

Airships over Tokyo in 1921, if not a common sight, would not be too unusual as the army established a balloon unit near Tokyo in 1907 and were flying 250 foot long airships over the city starting in 1911 and the first bi-plane flights over the city were seen a year earlier in 1910.

Yamada shiki No. 2
The Yamada-shiki No. 3 make a round trip in
the  middle of September of 1911
between Osaka and Tokyo.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description True View of Asakusa Park, around Twelve-Story Tower: Famous Places of Tokyo 
 東京名所 淺草公園十二階附近之真景
 Artist Unknown
 Signature unsigned
 Seal not sealed
 Publication Date 1921 (Taishō 10)
 大正十年四月一日 印刷 Printing April 1, 1921
 大正十年四月五日 發行 Printing April 5, 1921
綱島龜吉 Tsunajima Kamekichi [firm name: Tujiokaya Kamekichi]
[ref. Marks pub. 549; seal not shown]

address: 東京市日本橋區馬喰町二丁目十四番地
Nohonbashi-ku, Tokyo, Bakurochō Nichōme 14-banchi

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition poor - multiple small and large tears repaired from back; vertical center fold; overall toning
 Genre meisho-e
 Format ōban
 H x W Paper 
 10 3/4 x  15 1/2 in. (27.3 x 39.4 cm)
 H x W Image 9 3/8 x 14 in. (23.8 x 35.6 cm) area within black border
 Collections This Print
 Edo-Tokyo Museum 87102373
last update:
4/4/2019 created