Artist: Ando Hiroshige I (1797–1858)
Title: 6. Ryōgoku in the Eastern Capital
Series: Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Dimensions: 25 x 36.7 cm
Long, long – the Ryōgoku Bridge is long.
Had you gone there to get cool
on the long Ryōgoku Bridge, oh!
to see the honorable children in the pleasure-boats,
and to hear the musicians and the reciters!
– Shadowings and Japanese Miscellany, Lafcadio Hearn
The construction of Ryōgoku Bridge in 1659 helped to shape the city of Edo. The name of the bridge translates as “two countries” and referred to the joining of Musashi and Shimōsa Province which were prior separated by the Sumida River. It is often said that Edo was a city of rivers and canals, with travelling by boat a common mode of transport for most classes. Hiroshige fittingly composes this scene according to the vertical format paying attention to the city’s multiple layers, from Fuji dominating the skies to the bustle of the bridge. At the forefront of the print, a lady drifts past by boat underneath the fronds of a willow tree.