Saruwaka-machi sanshibai and Fukadaiichi no gekijō Shintomi-za from the series Famous Places of Tokyo: Past and Present


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Saruwaka-machi sanshibai and

Fukadaiichi no gekijō Shintomi-za

from the series

Famous Places of Tokyo: Past and Present

by Utagawa Hiroshige III, 1884

Kinryūzan Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate, Sensōji in Asakusa) from the series Famous Places of Tokyo: Past and Present

IHL Cat. #1283

IHL Cat. #1292

About This Print

Sources: website of The Fitzwilliam Musem and the website of the National Diet Library

The top print (IHL Cat. #1283) provides a past, or old (古), view of Edo's theater district, giving us a view of the rooftops and banners announcing performances along Saruwaka Street from one of the tea houses on the street. Saruwaka was established in 1841 as a result of fires destroying the Sakai Street theater district.  Named after Saruwaka Kanzaburō, founder of Edo-style kabuki in the Nakamura Theater in 1624, the street housed the three main licensed kabuki theaters, the Nakamura, Morita and Ichimura.  The area featured a number of tea houses connected to thetheaters which provided visitors with guidance, food, rest and other services,and many theater proprietors and actors settled in the area, forming a massiveentertainment district. The district flourished until the first year of theMeiji Era, however, the theaters relocated one after another thereafter and thetheater town was lost.

Paired with the the above view is a a present, or now (今), view of the Shintomi theater, the re-named Morita theater, established in 1875.  In September 1872 the Morita-za was relocated from Saruwaka-chō to Shintomi-chō.  See below for a photograph of the Shintomi-za taken about the same time this print was made. 

These past and present views were orginally printed together as one oban-size sheet as shown below and later cut apart.  They are two of at least 32 views, contained on 16 uncut oban-size sheets, in the series Famous Places of Tokyo: Past and Present.

古今東京名所: 猿若街三芝居府下第一の劇場 新富座
Kokon Tokyo meisho: Saruwaka-machi sanshibai [top] Fukadaiichi no gekijō Shintomi-za [bottom]

c. 1883 photo of the Shintomi-za

The Series: Famous Places of Tokyo: Past and Present

A series of at least sixteen uncut oban-size sheets depicting a past or old (古) view on the top sheet, and present or now (今) view, on the bottom sheet, of a particular area of Tokyo. Many of the views are similar to those found in Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei). 

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1283, #1292
 Title or Description #1283: Sarukawa-machi sanshibai 猿若街三芝居
 #1292: First Theater District, Shintomi Theater
 Fukadaiichi no gekijō Shintomi-za 府下第一の劇場 新富座
 Series Famous Places of Tokyo: Past and The Present (Kokon Tokyo meisho 古今東京名所)
 Artist Utagawa Hiroshige III (1842–1894)
廣重画 Hiroshige ga  (#1283 left; #1292 right)
 Seal no seal
 Publication Date
2nd month, 1884 - While no date is shown in the date area of the left margin for print #1292, the Waseda University Library dates the print to Meiji 17, 2nd month.]

seal of the publisher Tsujiokaya Bunsuke, as printed in the left margin of #1292 and reading:
Shuppanjin Yokoyamachō Sanchōme 2-banchi Tsujioka Bunsuke [Marks: pub. ref. 548; seal ref. 25-267]

artist's address and family name, as printed in the left margin of #1283 and reading: 
gakō] followed by address, followed by 安藤 徳兵衛 [Andō Tokubei] 

 Impression IHL Cat. #1283 and IHL Cat. #1292 - excellent
 Colors IHL Cat. #1283 and IHL Cat. #1292 - excellent
 Condition IHL Cat. #1283 and IHL Cat. #1292 - good: light wrinkling from removal from backing
 Genre nishiki-e; meisho-e
arkings in upper right hand corner of each print, indicating that the print is number 14 in the series and is the past, or old (古), view.
 Format chūban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 
 IHL Cat. #1283: 7 1/8 x 9 5/16 in. (18.1 x 23.7 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1292: 7 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (18.4 x 23.8 cm)
 H x W Image
 IHL Cat. #1283: 6 1/2 x 8 9/16 in. (16.5 x 21.7 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1292: 6 7/16 x 9 5/8 in. (16.4 x 24.4 cm)

 Collections This Print
Library City Chuo Tokyo Japan 000747765; Japan Arts Council 09156; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria 2005.043.001 (IHL Cat. #1283), 2006.027.006 (IHL Cat. #1292)
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