1860 Sadahide Ukiyo-e View of Yokohama, including the Miyozaki Pleasure Quarter

橫濱本町景港崎街新廓 / [View of Yokohama Honmachi and the New Miyozaki Quarter]. - Main View

1860 Sadahide Ukiyo-e View of Yokohama, including the Miyozaki Pleasure Quarter


An Early View of Yokohama's Red-Light District.


橫濱本町景港崎街新廓 / [View of Yokohama Honmachi and the New Miyozaki Quarter].
  1860 (dated)     14.5 x 29.25 in (36.83 x 74.295 cm)


A colorful c. 1860 ukiyo-e triptych of Yokohama highlighting, among other elements, the Miyozaki Pleasure Quarter, prepared by Sadahide and published by Yamaguchiya Tōbei. The city, hitherto a small fishing village, rapidly developed after being opened to foreign traders and residents in 1859, building new districts, including Miyozaki, in a handful of months.
A Closer Look
This view is oriented towards the northeast, providing an overview of much of Yokohama as it existed at the time. (The perspective is nearly opposite to a slightly later Sadahide view, titled Up-to-date View of Yokohama 再改横滨风景, also sold by us as YokohamaPanorama-sadahide-1861.) Here, the Japanese-inhabited portion of the treaty port is at left, referred to as Honchō (本町, also read as Honmachi), with streets, temples, bridges, piers, agricultural fields, and other features labeled. The (walled in) foreign-inhabited area is at right, though aside from the large American-style flag at top-right and some ships in Yokohama Bay at top, direct references to the foreign presence in Yokohama are minimal. The waterway in the foreground (labeled 內浦) is the Ōoka River; the canal at bottom-right has since been built over.
Miyozaki (港崎遊廓) was Yokohama's red-light district, modeled on and managed by brothel-owners from Edo's infamous Yoshiwara. The district had been planned during discussions around the Harris Treaty (1858) and other similar treaties with foreign powers that opened Yokohama to foreign trade. Located where today's Yokohama Park sits, it was separated from Yokohama proper by a moat and wall, approached by a confined walkway ending at a bridge with a large gate (大門口), which was the only way to enter or leave the district. It was foremost among the many curiosities in Yokohama in which consumers of Yokohama-e prints by Sadahide and others were interested. (Sadahide produced at least four prints featuring it between 1859 and 1861.) Foreigners were equally curious about Miyozaki, for obvious reasons. However, the more genteel among them typically regarded the area with disdain, at least publicly.

The teahouses and brothels in this district catered primarily to foreign (Western and Chinese) clients, in large part to avoid the potential for scandals involving foreigners and Japanese women not engaged in prostitution (as had been done for many years in the Maruyama red light district in Nagasaki). This fit with a trend throughout the Tokugawa to sequester supposedly immoral or harmful influences on society, a trend which was heightened in the decades just before Japan was opened to foreign trade. While Yokohama maintained a laissez-faire ethos overall, Miyozaki was possibly the most strictly monitored and managed part of the entire city, as the Tokugawa were anxious to keep foreigners occupied and away from Japanese women not engaged in the sex trade. Certain establishments, especially the famous Gankirō (岩亀樓), aimed at more esteemed and wealthy clients, who could arrange for long-term mistresses, often depicted alongside foreigners in Yokohama-e prints.

As the city grew, the red-light district was relocated several times, beginning in 1867. Frequent fires and further urban sprawl led to further relocations. It was finally (in 1880) placed in Magane, where it remained, with official sanction, until the Japanese government enacted an anti-prostitution law in 1958.
At left is a temple (弁天宮) dating to the 12th or 13th century that was dedicated to Benzaiten (弁才天), a fascinating deity characteristic of Japan's syncretic religious context, who served as the town's protector. In the years after this view's publication, an equestrian field and a school for English were built near the Benzaiten temple, reflecting the growing foreign influence in Yokohama. Today, this area is home to Yokohama City Hall and Sakuragichō Station.
Yokohama - Japan's Gateway to the Outside World
Sadahide is most closely associated with Yokohama-e, a genre of nishiki-e (itself a subgenre of uikyo-e) which he largely defined, depicting foreigners and the cultural interactions between Japan and the outside world that took place in Yokohama. Japan 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 treaty's 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 Shogun opposed the most obvious choice, Kanagawa-juku (a nearby coastal station on the Tōkaidō). 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. Yokohama's Chinatown remains the largest Chinatown in Japan to this day.

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.
Nishiki-e (錦繪)
Nishiki-e (literally 'brocade picture', also known as Edo-e 江戸繪 because it began 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 the 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 by Sadahide and was published (in Edo) by Yamaguchiya Tōbei (山口屋藤兵衛) in 1860. It is noted among the holdings of the National Museum of Asian Art, Waseda University, the Tokyo Metropolitan Library, Kobe University, the National Institute of Japanese Literature, the Fuchu Art Museum, the Yokohama Museum of Art, and the Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire in Belgium, and is scarce to the market.


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...

Yamaguchiya Tōbei (山口屋藤兵衛; fl. c. 1805 - 1895) was a Japanese published based in Bakurochō in Edo (now Nihonbashi, Tokyo). The firm, which was likely named after its founder and maintained his name after his death, was closely associated with the Utagawa School of ukiyo-e artists. In its later years, the firm alternated its name (using 荒川藤兵衛 or 荒川コマ) and began producing lithographs. Learn More...


Very good. Several small tears professionally repaired. Light soiling.


Davis, Ann Marie L., Imagining Prostitution in Modern Japan, 1850–1913, (Lexington Books, 2019) 56-58. National Museum of Asian Art Accession Number S2003.8.3230.