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    Shinagawa was the first station on the Tōkaidō Road. This print, the second in the series, depicts the procession of a provincial lord, or daimyō, along a street lined with tea houses and restaurants next to Edo Bay (now reclaimed land). Daimyō processions were a common sight along the Tōkaidō highway, for daimyō were required by the shogunal government to make periodic visits to Edo, travelling to and from their provinces with a large entourage of soldiers and servants. The number of attendants accompanying each daimyo was regulated by the size of his domain; the wealthiest daimyō travelled with several thousand retainers. A group of bystanders to the right of the road – perhaps station officials – welcome the procession. The maids in the tea houses opposite, however, show little interest in the procession, since it will not be providing them with custom. The wooden post at the base of the steep cliff on the right is a milestone marking the border of the station.
    The first eleven prints in this series were published jointly by the two Edo publishing houses Hoeidō and Senkakudō, but in 1834 Hoeidō acquired the sole rights to the woodblocks. After this, changes were made to several of the prints. In later editions of this print, for instance, four extra figures were added to the end of the procession and the subtitle was changed from ‘Sunrise’ (hinode) to ‘Daimyō’s departure’ (shokō detachi).

    In: Pollard, Clare, Mitsuko Ito Watanabe, Landscape, Cityscape: Hiroshige Woodblock Prints in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2014)

Further reading

Pollard, Clare, Mitsuko Ito Watanabe, Landscape, Cityscape: Hiroshige Woodblock Prints in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2014), no. 1, p. 38, illus. p. 38

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