Yasuji Inoue (Japanese, 1864 – 1889)
DimensionsWork : 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)
Credit LinePurchased with funds donated by Ronald ’62 and Geri Vander Molen
LabelThe 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.