Hiroshige II Utagawa, Moonlit Night, Surugadai, Landscape


Original Japanese woodblockprint.

Artist: Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826-1869)
Title: Moonlit Night at Surugadai
Series: Forty-eight Famous Views of Edo
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizo
Date: c. 1860
Size: 18.4 x 25.0 cm
Condition report: Light stains on the margins. Minor crease on the left edge. Slight misregistration. 


As with many of Hiroshige II's prints, those comprising the series 'Forty-Eight Famous Views of Edo' borrowed compositional elements from his teacher Hiroshige I Utagawa. At this point, he had just started using his teacher's name that recently passed away, therefore the prints in this series are signed 'Hiroshige'.


The area shown in this print used to be called Kandadai, however after the Genna Era (1615-24), retainers of the Tokugawa family moved here from Suruga no kuni (now Shizuoka), and it came to be called Surugadai. The top provided a good view of Mount Fuji in Suruga, so it is believed that this is the origin of the name of the area. The night scene is rendered in muted colours, with the moon shining brightly at the top while birds are crossing the skies. It is most likely autumn, and the small figures fading into the distance are probably on their way to see the moon from a favourite spot, a popular pastime of the season.

Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)

In the genre of Japanese art, Hiroshige II Utagawa was a woodblock print artist best known for continuing the tradition of Hiroshige I Utagawa in producing landscape prints. Born in Edo (today’s Tokyo), many details of his formative years are unknown, except that he became a pupil of Hiroshige I under the name of Shigenobu. Hiroshige II produced a large number of commissioned work in the 1850s in the style of the elder Hiroshige, and often signed his work ‘Ichiryusai mon’ (student of Ichiryusai, another art name of Hiroshige).

He seems to have married Hiroshige’s daughter Otatsu and inherited Hiroshige’s name following his death in 1858. In 1865 he moved from Edo to Yokohama after dissolving his marriage and began using the name Kisai Rissho. During this decade he produced a number of collaborative print series, particularly with Kunisada, who had earlier worked with Hiroshige I.

His works have often been confounded with those of Hiroshige I, resembling them closely in style, subject, and even signature, particularly in series such as ‘One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces’ (1859-61) that echo his master’s ‘Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces’ (1853-56). ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’ (1856-58), also mainly completed by Hiroshige I, was finished by Hiroshige II following the former’s death. While the signature on this series of prints remain the same, the later designs show stylistic resemblance to those of Hiroshige II. The artist’s other notable series include ‘Eight Views of the Sumida River’ (1861) and ‘Thirty-six Views of the Eastern Capital’ (1861-62).

More Information
Print FormatChuban
ArtistHiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)
Size18.4 x 25.0 cm
publisherTsutaya Kichizo:1820-1890