Yokohama Boomtown Image Gallery / Y0149_FanRoom_closeup
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Gokakoku Gankirō ni oite sakamori no zu

Title: Picture of Foreigners of the Five Nations Carousing in the Gankirō
Artist: Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: triptych: 37.8 x75.3 cm (14 7/8 x29 11/16 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The Fan Room of the Gankirō is the setting for this print of a drinking party of foreigners. In the background are sliding paper doors decorated with the painted fans for which the room was named. Outside the room is the second-story walkway built around a central courtyard, which is distinctive for the black-lacquered railing commonly seen in prints of the Gankirō (see Y0148). Foreign men and women, each labeled with the name of a country of the Five Nations, gather for a party around a low table laden with serving dishes. Counterclockwise from the lower right of the centerprints the labels read: Russia, England, Holland, Russian woman, America, English woman, American woman, France, and Nanjing [China]. Two magnificently dressed oiran, the upper class of Japanese geisha, attend the party with two young Japanese boys, who may be the sons of women employed by the Gankirō. The oiranmaintain a dignified, almost regal demeanor befitting their high rank. The one seated to the right offers a long-handled Japanese tobacco pipe to the American man. Regardless of their rank within the hierarchy of entertainers in Miyozaki, all of the women employed in its establishments lived in the circumscribed world of the quarter, which was surrounded by a moat and approachable only by a single bridge from the roadway to Yokohama's main town. Contemporary records of Miyozaki indicate that in reality it was much less colorful than it appears in Yokohama prints, which were probably intended in part to promote business in the new pleasure quarter. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0149

Keywords: Westerners, entertainment district, entertainment, courtesans, geisha, Miyozaki, Gankirō, "Five Nations," Russians, Chinese, Americans, British, Dutch, French,tobacco, food, alcohol, Yokohama, racial intermingling of Japanese and foreigners

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2014 Visualizing Cultures