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Yōroppa-shū no uchi: Igirisukoku
Title: On the European Continent: England
Artist: Yoshikazu (fl. ca. 1850-70)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 34.8 x23.9 cm (13 11/16 x9 3/8 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
The text reads: This country is two large islands in the Western ocean of Holland and France. It is commonly known as Dai [Great] Brittania. It is divided into twelve provinces. Within these are sixty-two lords, and the whole nation is subject to a monarch. The capital is called London; its population is one million fifty thousand. It is bustling with activity and its many marketplaces are exceptionally prosperous. There is no comparable place among the Western continents. In this metropolis is a great river that is called the Thames River. A remarkable bridge spans it. Its length is 594 yards and its width, more than 13 yards. When night falls on the bridge, many lamps are lit and it is convenient for coming and going. Near this place is a pleasure park for the king that extends in four directions for more than 12 miles. In spring, they come here for sightseeing. The people of this nation are known in the world for their intelligence and toughness. Recorded by Kanagaki Robun. The picture portrays an English man with a stern demeanor. A youthful attendant holding a flagstaff stands by. The British were quick to establish their interests in Japan as soon as the ports of Nagasaki and Yokohama opened in 1859. Led by the firms of Jardine Matheson & Company and Dent & Company, both of which had been active in China's treaty ports, the British from the beginning were the largest national group of foreign residents in Yokohama. As the brief narrative of this print reflects, the author perceives the British temperament as strong and perhaps arrogant, an impression that may well have been communicated by some of the early residents of Japan. George Smith, bishop of Hong Kong, who visited Japan in 1860, expressed concern about the behavior of foreign residents of Japan: I have seen Englishmen and other of my acquaintance in different parts of Japan riding at a rapid pace through the villages and suburbs of cities amid crowds of people, who had to scamper in hurried movement from side to side to avoid being knocked down, and who may doubtless be supposed to view with no kind feelings the presence of such equestrians …..Such scenes …entail annoyance of the native population and may bring danger on foreigners themselves. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]
Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0116
Keywords: Westerners, flags, animals, Great Britain, British, Namamugi Incident, Kanagaki Robun, Jardine Matheson & Company, Dent & Company, George Smith, "Five Nations"
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