Azuma Resturant

Yasuji Inoue (Japanese, 1864 – 1889)
Woodblock print
Work : 14 5/8 x 29 1/8 in. (37.15 x 73.98 cm)
Each : 14 5/8 x 9 3/4 in. (37.15 x 24.77 cm)
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Purchased with funds donated by Ronald ’62 and Geri Vander Molen
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The Asakusa neighborhood was one of Tokyo’s most popular entertainment districts during the Meiji period, full of restaurants, teahouses, and theaters. It was a cosmopolitan area where both Japanese and foreign pleasure-seekers intermingled. In 1887, the wooden Azuma Bridge, which crossed the Sumida River at Asakusa, was replaced by Japan’s first steel-truss bridge. The new Azuma Bridge immediately became a famous landmark and a symbol of modern Tokyo. This triptych depicts a restaurant located near the Azuma Bridge that catered to a broad international clientele, as is evident from the mix of Japanese, Chinese and European figures seen on the street outside the restaurant. The restaurant’s French-language sign gives the scene an exotic flair, as does the image of a man riding a high-wheel bicycle, a recent invention that was all the rage in cities around the world during the 1880s.

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