Yokohama Boomtown Image Gallery / Y0145_American_Courtesan
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Amerikajin yūkō sakamori

Title: American Drinking and Carousing
Artist: Yoshitora (fl. ca. 1850-80)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 35.4 x24 cm (13 15/16 x9 7/16 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

A bearded American holds a stemmed glass while his companion, a Japanese courtesan, holds a large bottle. Hundreds of courtesans lived in Miyozaki, the entertainment district of Yokohama; few other women lived in the port city in the first years after its opening to international trade. Drinking was a major pastime for foreign merchants and sailors, whether at private parties such as those in the Gankirō in Miyozaki, or in the "grog shops," which numbered twenty-four by 1865. Public drunkenness was not uncommon among the men of many nationalities who came to Yokohama, and their drinking was frequently portrayed in Yokohama prints. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0145

Keywords: Americans, courtesans, alcohol, Westerners, Miyozaki, entertainment district, racial intermingling of Japanese and foreigners

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2014 Visualizing Cultures