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Shitaya Hirokoji, No. 13 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Catalogue Description:
Busy street looking down a long row of shops with a detailed depiction of one particular store, in this case, the silk store "Ito Matsuzakaya" and two delivery men bearing large packs with the shop crest. The site today is still occupied by Matsuzakaya, which like Mitsukoshi (pl. 8) has become one of Tokyo's major department stores. The subway stop in front is now called Ueno Hirokoji, and the tradition of a broad pedestrian space continues in contemporary Tokyo. In the immediate foreground there is a group of three samurai, identified by their two swords but unusual in the Western pants they wear; these were a recent import that spread rapidly among younger samurai for their distinctive style and ease of movement. (This series was begun three years after Admiral Perry "opened" Japan.) A large group of women carrying red parasols are probably students at some school of chanting or dancing, on their way to view the cherry blossoms at Kan'eiji, followed by a group of men carrying the appropriate refreshments. The small building just to the right of the head of the procession is a barbershop, where class status was marked above all by hair style. A bank of stylized clouds, comparable to the clouds in the preceding print, hangs over the forested mass of the temple beyond.


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