Artist: Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826-1869)
Title: 21. The Gankirō Tea-house at Yokohama, Bushū Province
Series: One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Dimensions: 24.8 x 36.2 cm
The Gankirō Teahouse was a lavish establishment that tended to a foreign clientele near the end of the Edo period (c. 1603-1868). Situated in the port of Yokohama, the town was in frequent contact with foreign nations after the relaxation of Japan’s strict closed door policy. Various artists have explored the intermingling of foreigners and Japanese at the Gankirō Teahouse during this time, undoubtedly intrigued and inspired by the novel access to faraway lands after a long period of isolationism. The depictions of the Gankirō Teahouse often focus on its extravagant interior or the carousing and dinner parties that took place there. In contrast, Hiroshige II shows the quiet exterior of the teahouse amidst the flowering cherry blossoms in daylight.