Meiji prints

  Design: Kobayashi Kiyoshika (1847-1915)  
  Title: Rain at Shin Ōhashi bridge, Tokyo  
  Size: 21.7 x 33.3 cm (aiban)  
  Posthumous printing from newly cut woodblocks    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
Previous Home Next

Kiyochika Rain at Shin Ōhashi bridge, Tokyo


Originally published in 1876 by publisher Matsuki Heikichi (松木平吉). This edition published ca. 1950s by publisher Maria Shobo (マリア書房).

Artist’s name in red cartouche in lower left of the print area:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
ko small  
hayashi woods  
kiyo purify Design by
shita intimate Kobayashi
hitsu writing brush Kiyochika

Print title (from right to left) in top margin:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
kyō capital  
shin new  
ō large  
hashi bridge  
ame rain  
naka middle Rain at Shin Ōhashi
zu drawing bridge, Tokyo

Original publishing date in right margin:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
mei light Published in
ji government the Meiji era,
kyū nine the 9th year
nen year (= 1876),
hachi eight the 8th month
gatsu month (= August)

Publisher’s address and name in left margin:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
yoshi good luck  
kawa river  
chō street Yoshikawa quarter,
niji number two  
ban number  
chi land number 2,
matsu pine  
kei tree  
hei peace  
kichi good luck published by
han edition Matsukei Heikichi

On this print Henry D. Smith (1988) comments: ‘ In View of Rainfall on Shin-ou-hashi in To-kei, one of the finest of Kiyochika’s prints, we see the theme of bridging that preoccupied the artist from the very start. The actual bridge in question is Shin-Ōhashi, “New Great Bridge”, which crossed the Sumida river half a mile south of Ryōgoku Bridge. The view is to the north, from the Fukagawa side of the river, and the green rise in the distance is a grass-covered shallows that may be found on Meiji maps. This is the same bridge that Hiroshige depicted in his famous view of a sudden cloudburst in “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo”. Kiyochika’s rain, however, is far gentler, indeed only hinted at by the somber grey clouds, the puddles on the road, and the umbrella of the solitary figure to the lower right. This figure, a woman with her boldly striped kimono hitched up to reveal a red undergarment, seizes the imagination. With her back to us, she moves out of the picture - perhaps to return and cross the bridge, perhaps to disappear into the city. The boldness of her clothing sets her apart from the delicacy of the landscape; the grey mists of the distant hills and the shimmering reflections of the water below, laced with subtle tones of blue and pink.’

For more information on Shin Ōhashi bridge, please visit my Ehon Sumidagawa website.


Provenance: Fuji Arts

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional