I was still in junior high school when I opened my Nagatanien Ochazuke Nori, dried seaweed seasoning for green tea rice soup and found a card with an ukiyo-e print from The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido by Utagawa Hiroshige. Collecting these cards was a popular thing to do back then, and I was caught up in the trend like everyone else. Unfortunately, my ukiyo-e cards ended up getting lost somewhere, but I heard in the news that Nagatanien brought them back starting with their November 2016 shipments. I’m looking forward to buying some Ochazuke Nori and resuming my hunt for Hiroshige’s prints sometime soon.
About this same time, on November 22, Sumida Hokusai Museum opened in Sumida, Tokyo. Though I’ve only seen it on TV, the building looks quite innovative. I unfortunately missed the inaugural exhibit, “Hokusai Returns: A Long-lost Picture Scroll and Masterpieces from the Collection,” which ran through January 15. It’s really a shame, but I’m committed to finding the time to check out the new museum soon and see what it’s all about.
On the last day of 2016, the morning edition of the Tokyo Shimbun ran an article titled “Scroll Discovered: Could It Be a Hokusai Original?” Titled Chikukeizu [Image of Bamboo and Roosters], the scroll shows two roosters perched atop a stone lantern with bamboo in the background, and is thought to have been painted by Hokusai when he was in his mid-forties. The piece was formerly in the collection of Josiah Conder, the British architect famous for designing the Rokumeikan. I wonder if it will get displayed somewhere, and when it does, I’m eager to go see it in person.
There were actually three stories related to ukiyo-e that came out at the end of last year. Is it just me, or might we be entering a new ukiyo-e era? We weren’t intentionally trying to jump on the same train, but the Faculty of Letters has also recently put together an ukiyo-e exhibit. It’s a bit different than the exhibitions you see in museums, and in this short article, I’d like to tell you a bit about it. I hope you’ll read on.
The Ukiyo-e Miss and Mister Contest: Vote for Your Favorites!
Ukiyo-e works will be displayed in two areas, one featuring prints of eleven handsome men and the other featuring prints of eleven beautiful women. Visitors will be given stickers to vote for the most attractive person in each category. The ten students in the program will each be responsible for preparing explanatory notes for one man and one woman. A promotional copy is to be provided for each figure.