Night View of Saruwaka-machi, 1856, 9th month

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After the fire of 1841, a new theater district was established to the northeast of Asakusa Kannon Temple known as Saruwaka Street, after Saruwaka Kanzaburo, the founder of the first Kabuki theater in Edo over 200 years earlier. In this print, Hiroshige illustrates three theaters on the west (right) side of the street, identified by the boxed turrets that project above the eaves of the buildings. Tea houses and puppet theaters are located on the east (left) side of the street.

Hiroshige's dramatic use of Western one-point vanishing perspective for this print is unique among the 118 prints of the series. The relative darkness of the Kabuki theaters suggests that the season has not yet begun. This, together with the shadows of the people cast by the moonlight, give the print a hauntingly quiet impression, quite at odds with the typical bustling atmosphere associated with Saruwaka Street.

Night View of Saruwaka-machi
Artist Life
1797 - 1858
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Ukiyo-e shūka 14 (1981), Hiroshige list, p. 250, vertical ōban #62.46
Curator Approved

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