Hiratsuka from the series Tōkaidō Road


Japanese Color Woodblock Print


from the series Tōkaidō Road

by Utagawa Hiroshige II, 1864

Yokkaichi from the series Tōkaidō Road

IHL Cat. #1201

About This Print

Depicting Hiratsuka, the 8th of 53 stations along the Tōkaidō Road, which connected Edo (modern day Tokyo), where the shōgun resided, to Kyoto, where the emperor resided.  

Source: Comments of Associate Professor Alison Tokita, Monash University on the Monash University website http://monash.edu/library/collections/exhibitions/fifty-books-fifty-years/virtual-exhibition/photos/photo44.html

Like his master, Hiroshige II also produced popular series of prints of the fifty-three stages of the Tōkaidō highway....  In the equivalent print of the same place by his master Hiroshige I the scene itself is almost identical, with the round-topped Mount Kōrai dominating the middle-ground, and the snow-capped iconic Mount Fuji just peeping into view behind it.  Because the later one is laid out vertically (portrait format) and the older one is landscape, the same geographical features have been squashed up and a further mountain omitted.  The major difference between the two pictures however is that whereas in the first Hiroshige’s picture the two human figures are humble messengers or carriers, the younger Hiroshige’s picture depicts what seems to be part of a daimyō procession heralded by the plumed pike carried in front. Presumably the daimyō or other important personage is in the palanquin (kago) being carried by two retainers, who all have two swords, the mark of samurai rank. A local person is performing an obeisance, the hat removed to show respect.  In the Edo period, one of the means of social control by the Shogun was to enforce alternate attendance in Edo by the regional daimyō, who had to spend every alternate year in their domains and in every other year make the often difficult journey to Edo where their wives and families were in permanent residence. - Associate Professor Alison Tokita, Monash University 

Utagawa Hiroshige
The Nawate Road at Hiratsuka
from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road
Station 8

About the Series
One of two series of chuban-size vertical prints designed by the artist depicting the stations along the Tōkaidō.  This series, titled simply Tōkaidō Road (東海道), was published by Tsutaya Kichizō (the same publisher who published Utagawa Hiroshige I's famous "Vertical Tōkaidō" series1) between the 8th month of 1863 and the 12th month of 1867, a period of over three years.  It is not known why the publishing period was so extended for these prints.  Hiroshige II's other series, titled Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (東海道五拾三駅), was issued by the publisher Maruya Tetsujirō in the 10th month of 1865 and is represented by a number of prints in this collection.

1 The formal name of the "vertical Tōkaidō" series is Famous Sights of the Fifty-three Stations [Gojūsan tsugi meisho zue], published in 1855.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Hiratsuka  平塚 (Print no. 8 in the series)
 Tōkaidō Road (東海道)
 Artist Utagawa Hiroshige II (1826-1869)
Hiroshige ga 広重画 (廣重画 as written in cartouche)
 Seal none
 Publication Date
1863-64 (Bunkyū 3-Genji 1)
 Publisher Tsutaya Kichizō [Marks: pub. ref. 556] Publisher's mark does not appear on this print.
 Impression good
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - mounting remnants verso in six spots; rubbing in signature cartouche; light soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e, fūkei-ga
 Format vertical chūban
 H x W Paper 
 9 7/16 x 6 13/16 in. (24 x 17.3 cm)
 8 7/8 x 6 1/2 in. (22.5 x 16.5 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston RES.54.191.5; Monash University Library Rare Books Collection