1861 Sadahide Ukiyo-e Panoramic View of Yokohama

再改橫濱風景 / [Up-to-date View of Yokohama]. - Main View

1861 Sadahide Ukiyo-e Panoramic View of Yokohama


The Rapid Expansion of Yokohama.


再改橫濱風景 / [Up-to-date View of Yokohama].
  1861 (dated)     14.25 x 58.5 in (36.195 x 148.59 cm)


A rare and stunning 1861 panoramic set of six ukiyo-e (nishiki-e) Utagawa Sadahide woodblock prints depicting the port of Yokohama. The port opened to foreign trade in 1859, just two years earlier, becoming Japan's primary point of contact with the West. Sadahide was the most prolific among a school of woodblock artists chronicling these momentous changes.
A Closer Look
Oriented towards the southwest, this view takes in the entirety of contemporary Yokohama, with the areas where foreigners resided and established warehouses in the foreground. Figures in Victorian dress can be seen walking as well as riding on horseback and in carriages through these neighborhoods. At left, a Dutch steamship docks in the Nakamura River. Further to the left is the original village of Yokohama (橫濱元村), including temples and burying grounds for foreigners. At right are two docks, with one nominally designated for imports (西彼戶場) and one for exports (東彼戶場). Adjacent to them is a sort of customs house, buildings for inspecting ships, and a shrine dedicated to the Water God Suijin.

Above (northwest of) the foreign-inhabited section are the Japanese neighborhoods of the city. At top-right is a bridge over the Ōta River (later filled in and built over, including, nowadays, the tracks for the Tokyo-Yokohama Shinkansen). Across the bridge is the 'new village' of Yoshida (吉田, well on its way to becoming a neighborhood町), which hardly existed in Sadahide's earlier views of Yokohama.

Though not labelled here, the walled 'village' prominent near center is Miyozaki (港崎町), a red-light district modeled on Edo's infamous Yoshiwara that had been arranged during discussions around the Harris Treaty (1858), which opened Yokohama to foreign trade. Separated by a moat and a large gate, in addition to the wall, the teahouses and brothels in this district took on fanciful and, in some cases, suggestive names, such as the 'House of the Rock Turtle' (岩亀樓).
Yokohama – Japan's Gateway to the Outside World
Sadahide is most closely associated with Yokohama-e (橫濱繪), a genre which he largely defined, depicting foreigners and the cultural interactions between Japan and the outside world that took place in Yokohama. Although Japan had reluctantly signed a 'Treaty of Peace and Amity' with the United States in 1854, opening the door for greater foreign presence and influence in Japan, the terms were quite vague until a subsequent treaty, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (also known as the Harris Treaty), was signed in 1858, opening Japanese ports to foreign trade. Other foreign powers piled into Japan to sign similar treaties stipulating rights for their nationals to trade and reside in certain Japanese ports. The most important of these 'treaty ports' were Nagasaki and Yokohama, the former having been a major port for centuries, the latter much less so.

The foreign powers demanded a port near Edo (Tokyo), understanding that the capital itself was not an option. Yokohama was primarily chosen because the most obvious choice, Kanagawa-juku, a nearby coastal station on the Tōkaidō, was opposed by the Shogun. Much like Shanghai in China, Yokohama grew rapidly and became the main conduit for the exchange of people, goods, and ideas between Japan and the outside world.

Artists, Sadahide chief among them, rushed to depict the new visitors, who were regarded with both curiosity and revulsion, but in either case were an object of keen interest throughout Japan. Aside from Western traders, Chinese merchants and workers also resided in Yokohama, establishing an important Chinese community there, still the largest Chinatown in Japan.

As the city itself was a product of the treaty port system, Yokohama was quick to embrace foreign technology, and Japan's first major rail line was opened from Yokohama to Edo (by then renamed Tokyo) in 1872. Eventually, Yokohama would grow to swallow up Kanagawa-juku and other nearby towns, becoming the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan. The extremely rapid development of the city can be witnessed by comparing Sadahide's prints of 1859 and 1860 (such as those previously sold by us) with the present view.
Nishiki-e (錦繪)
Nishiki-e (literally 'brocade picture', also known as Edo-e 江戸繪 because it developed in the Tokugawa capital of Edo) is a style of woodblock printing that developed in the 1760s and revolutionized the medium. Instead of producing a black and white print which was then hand-colored, or perhaps with one or two color blocks added, as had been done previously, nishiki-e prints allowed for the combination of many blocks, each adding one color to a complete image, which were fitted together perfectly. The result was that vibrantly-colored prints could be produced in greater numbers in far less time, allowing for popular distribution of woodblock prints, especially ukiyo-e prints. Nishiki-e remained the dominant mode of woodblock printing through Meiji era and was critical to the distribution of prints (such as Sadahide's) that carried depictions of new technologies and ideas throughout Japan in the mid-late 19th century. But by the Taisho era, lithographic machine printing had advanced to the point that woodblock prints could not compete, and the tradition continued as a niche art rather than a means of mass media.
Publication History and Census
This view was drawn and engraved by Utagawa Sadahide and was jointly published by Maruya Jinpachi and Maruya Tokuzō (丸屋徳造), a relation of the former. Outside of Japan, the view is noted among the holdings of the British Library, University of British Columbia, and Harvard University (which is missing one of the six panels); an example may also be held by the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leiden (recorded in Japanese catalogs but not the institution's website). Within Japan, a handful of institutions hold examples, including the National Diet Library, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Waseda University, and the National Museum of Japanese History.


Sadahide Hashimoto (橋本貞秀; ハシモト, サダヒデ; 1807 - 1878), also known as Gountei Sadahide (五雲亭貞秀) and Hashimoto Gyokuran (橋本玉蘭), was a Japanese artist active in Yokohama in the second half of the 19th century. He was born in Chiba Prefecture. Hashimoto is best known for his renderings of foreigners, in particular Western peoples and customs, as observed while living in the open port of Yokohama. He is considered to be a disciple of Takako Kunisada, another artist of the Toyokuni Utagawa school, earning him the name Utagawa Sadahide (歌川貞秀). Hashimoto met Kunisada in 1826, when he was 14 years old and most of his early work reflects the work of Kunisada. Even before the Bankumatsu period, Sadahide took an interest in distant and foreign lands, publishing an important and controversial account of the First Opium War between Britain and Qing China (Kaigai Shinwa, 海外新話) with the scholar Mineta Fūkō (嶺田楓江). Following the 'opening of Japan' in 1853, he produced a series of prints of Ainu people in Kita Ezo zusetsu (北蝦夷図説) as well as a world map that was likely based on a Dutch original (https://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/world-mineta-1853), also with Mineta. He developed an interest in geography and began issuing maps and bird's-eye views, some quite large over multiple panels, of Japanese cities. At the very end of the Tokugawa period, he moved to Nagasaki and was selected as part of a Japanese delegation to the International Exposition of 1867. Sadahide died about a decade later, living long enough to see the rapid transofrmation of Japan following the Meiji Restoration. He was a mentor to Hideki Utagawa. More by this mapmaker...


Fine. Minor edge chipping.


OCLC 802903924, 1400111976. University of British Columbia G7964.Y6 A35 1861 H2.