Foreigners Enjoying Themselves in the Gankirō

Utagawa Yoshikazu Japanese

Not on view

When the port of Yokohama, about thirty miles southwest of Edo, opened to Westerners in 1859, near the end of the Edo period, ukiyo-e artists started illustrating the foreigners in Yokohama and creating imaginary scenes of foreign countries, known as Yokohama-e (Yokohama pictures).

As one of the major early printmakers of Yokohama-e, Yoshikazu, a pupil of Kuniyoshi, produced many views of Yokohama. This scene shows the largest pleasure quarter for foreigners, Gankirō, located in the Miyozaki pleasure quarters, which were similar to those in Yoshiwara, in Edo. Foreigners, courtesans, and servants are arranged in a complex interior space with confusing multiple perspectives. In the foreground several foreigners are shown eating, drinking, and singing; one man has stripped to his underwear to dance.

Foreigners Enjoying Themselves in the Gankirō, Utagawa Yoshikazu (Japanese, active ca. 1850–70), Triptych of woodblock prints; ink and color on paper, Japan

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