Tokaido People. Check out the following posts on interesting Tokaido personalities:
Almost every Japanese elementary school has a statue of Ninomiya Kinjiro. The statue shows the youth in his famous pose, studying a book whilst hauling firewood on his back. The message needs no words – everyone has the opportunity for self-improvement, regardless of circumstance, by being diligent. Some people also take the meaning that one shouldn’t make judgements based just one what one sees.
Ukiyoe is particularly popular in France, where Hokusai and Hiroshige influenced the Impressionist movement. Monet in particular was fascinated with the Japanese approach – he painted the Japanese Bridge over his lily pond many times.
Hiroshige’s Yui (19C ukiyoe or woodblock print). Note the three travellers top left ascending Satta Pass. The two customers, presumably travellers from the big city of Edo (now called Tokyo, with a population of 1 million during the Edo Period, 17C~mid 19C) stand in awe of the stunning vista across Suruga Bay (Japan’s deepest bay) to Mt Fuji (Japan’s highest mountain).
In the 1970s and 1980s James Clavell’s Shogun captured the Western World’s imagination. Japan was asserting itself as the engine room of global economic growth, and Western readers were eager to better understand this mysterious nation. Clavell provided the perfect tool to do that – a fast moving, historical romp that also explained Japanese Culture 101 to those that didn’t have the time or inclination to take the University paper.
The good folks of Kanbara have been serving lunch to hungry Tokaido travellers for half a millennium, but that won’t dent the warmth of their welcome to you. One of the mysteries of Hiroshige is that he painted Kanbara in a snow blizzard, but it’s location near the Pacific coast (in Suruga Bay) means that actually it has a rather subtropical climate. That’s journalism for you.
One of the great mysteries of Hiroshige’s Tokaido 53 Station series is, what is the purpose of the pole being carried away by the traveller in the left hand side of the image? Too long for fishing apparently, and not a walking stick by the way it is being carried.