Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858)
Pine of Success and Onmayagashi, Asakusa River
From the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1856
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1991
The Pine of Success (shubi no matsu), shown extending over the Sumida River from the upper left corner of the print, was a famous landmark along the journey to the Yoshiwara brothel district. In particular, the pine refers to the hope of romantic success with a courtesan. Various "famous places" throughout the capital were imbued with such meaning and thereby subtly contributed to the Yoshiwara district’s popularity and economic success.
Hiroshige has included an ironic detail to this print: a roofed pleasure boat (yanebune) beneath the tree’s branches. In the 19th century, such boats were often used by unlicensed prostitutes to steal business away from the Yoshiwara courtesans.
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