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Edo meisho kenbutsu ijin

Title: Foreigners Sightseeing at the Famous Sites of Edo
Artist: Sadahide (1807-ca. 1878)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 37.5 x27.2 cm (14 3/4 x1011/16 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Two distinctive, steeply arched bridges, called "drum bridges," marked the approach to the Kameido Tenjin Shrine, located in Edo east of the Sumida River. The bridges of the Kameido Tenjin Shrine were especially attractive to children. In this print three American children rush ahead of their father to climb up the bridge as a Japanese boy and his father approach from above, their expressions reflecting curiosity and surprise at the sight of the foreign family. Permission to travel to Edo, which was beyond the limits of the treaties of the Five Nations, was restricted to those invited by resident diplomats. Allowance seems to have been granted relatively liberally, however, according to the many travel accounts from the early 1860s. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Sadahide's print documents an actual scene. It probably represents instead his sympathetic understanding of the universality of children's amusements. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan] Keyword: Westerners, Americans, Kameido Tenjin Shrine, sightseeing, "Five Nations," foreign children

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0136

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