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Evening Rain Yanaka Pagoda, Tokyo


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Evening Rain Yanaka Pagoda, Tokyo

by Kasamatsu Shirō, originally 1932

IHL Cat. #25

About This Print

Notes on the Original Edition

Source: Modern Japanese Prints, Dorothy Blair, re-print of the 1931 and 1936 exhibition catalogs, The Toledo Museum of Art, 1997.
Print #164. Pagoda In Rain At Dusk (Ame ni Kururu To)
A rainy evening at Ueno Park, Tokyo, in the district called Yanaka.  The woman in the foreground wears a rain-coat and high rain-shoes; on her arm she carries something wrapped in a furoshiki, or square of silk used by the Japanese to encase parcels of all kind.
Signed at lower right, Shiro; red seal, Shiro.  Left margin: the Japanese title; the date, “Showa Shichi Nen Banshun” (Late spring, 7th Year of Showa [1932]).  Right margin: copyright stamp of the publisher, Watanabe of Tokyo.  Blocks, about 20; superimposed printings, about 25; edition, 200.

Recarved or Original Blocks?

Source: Shin hanga.net website article by Thomas Crossland and Andreas Grund http://shinhanga.net/Arecarved.htm
Here's another shin hanga print with some apparently recarved blocks, this one published by Watanabe. "Evening Rain at Ueno Yanaka Pagoda" is a popular Shiro Kasamatsu print, first published prewar. The two versions shown below (without date block in the margin) are postwar, bearing the 6 mm Watanabe seal. Compare the umbrella - the ochre stripe around the umbrella, and the woman's hands. Other differences also seem to be present, on close examination. 


We note that this print is commonly available today as a Heisei version with a 7 mm seal. This version has the wide ochre band around the umbrella and the fingers of the geisha are "amputated". So it seems that the narrow band indicates the early version, the wide band the re-cut blocks. The change probably happened somewhere between 1946 and the late 1950's.

Detail from my print (below) indicates that this may be a printing from re-cut blocks or blocks which were “reworked” rather than re-cut.

The Five-Storied  Yanaka Pagoda

Source: Wikipedia website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanaka_Five-Storied_Pagoda_Double-Suicide_Arson_Case

Originally part of Tennō-ji, the five-storied pagoda was built in 1644. It burned down in 1771 and was rebuilt 19 years later. This last version, built in 1791 in Japanese zelkova wood, was at almost 35 meters the tallest of its kind in the Kantō area.

The five-storied pagoda had been donated in 1908 by Tennō-ji to the city of Tokyo and had been the model for Kōda Rohan's novel The Five-Storied Pagoda. It was a famous city landmark and the very symbol of the Yanaka Cemetery, but it was completely destroyed by fire at around 3 AM of July 6, 1957 .  The fire has been attributed to two lovers who, it is believed, committed suicide together by burning down the pagoda.  It was decided not to rebuild it and leave only the five foundation stones.

        Yanaka Pagoda c. 1930s

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #25
 Title  Evening Rain Yanaka Pagoda Tokyo ("Ameni Soboruru To, Tokyo Yanaka”).  Also referenced as Pagoda In Rain At Dusk (Ame ni Kururu To)
 Catalogue Raisonné  W-8 (as listed in Shiro Kasamatsu - The Complete Woodblock Prints, by Dr. Andreas Gund, self-published by the author, 2001, Tokyo)
 Kasamatsu Shirō (1898–1991)
 Seal  Shirō red seal
 Date  originally published 1932
 Edition  Later edition (after 1957) with black 7 mm Watanabe seal in lower left hand corner of image. [Marks: seal 08-034; pub. ref. 576]
 Publisher  Watanabe Shōzaburō
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent - tipped to presentation sheet in two spots along left margin
 Genre  shin hanga (new prints)
 Format  Oban tate-e
 H x W Paper  15 1/2 x 10 3/8 in. (39 x 26.4 cm)
 H x W Image  14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (36.2 x 23.8 cm)
 Collections This Print University of Iowa Museum of Art 1968_174 (round black Watanabe publisher seal, diameter unknown, lower left of image); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 50.273 (with Watanabe D-type seal in lower right margin); National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo P00211-039 (unknown edition); Art Gallery of Greater Victoria AGGV 85.31 (unspecified edition); Portland Art Museum 2006.93.4
 Reference Literature The Gallery Collects Shin Hanga, Barry Till, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1996, plate 32; Modern Japanese Prints, Dorothy Blair, re-print of the 1931 and 1936 exhibition catalogues, The Toledo Museum of Art, 1997, print #164; Hanga ni miru Tokyo no fukei; Kanto daishinsai kara senzen made, Ota Kuritsu Kyodo Hakubutsukan, 2002, pl. 231, p. 58; Shin Hanga, The New Print Movement of Japan, Barry Till, Pomegranate, 2007, p. 80.
Last revision: 9/11/2019 (correct original date of issue from 1934 to 1932)