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Mansei Bridge from the series Pride of Tokyo Area, Comparison

Picture of Mitsui Group's Western-style Three Story House at Surugacho, Tokyo

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Mansei Bridge

from the series

Selected Views of Pride of Metropolitan Tokyo

by Utagawa Kuniteru II, 1874


IHL Cat. #1170

About This Print


One in a series of prints showing famous places ("prides") in and around Tokyo.  The Mansei Bridge, built and destroyed a number of times, spanned the Kanda river and was one of the major gateways to Tokyo. It's current iteration (see photo below), is located in present day Akihabara. 

As a major gateway to Tokyo, it was crowded day and night, as was witnessed by the philosopher Inoue Tetsujirō (1855-1944):
  
I took the road leading to the area below Surugadai until I reached the edge of Mansei Bridge. I was met by a ceaseless traffic of samurai, peasants, artisans, and merchants, rickshaw men and stablemen, all milling about in every direction. Some were shouting, others kicking up the dirt, or in a blaze or emotion over gains and losses, consumed with thoughts of luxury, starved for wealth and success, enslaved by their momentary passions. They behaved as though they were birds and beasts in a struggle for food. On the street, I alone stood still. With a sense of dejection and regret, I said to myself, “Ah! Is this indeed the way of life? What squalor and ugliness!” After returning to my room, I leaned against a table below the window. I arbitrarily took books from the shelf, wanting to know the foundation for ethics.1

present day Mansei Bridge

1  Preface to “A New Theory of Ethics" (Rinri shinsetsu), 1883, as translated by Richard M. Reitan, "Making of a Moral Society: Ethics and the State in Meiji Japan" University Of Hawai'i Press, 2009, p. 3.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1170
 Title or Description  Mansei Bridge 萬世橋
 Series  Selected Views of Pride of Metropolitan Tokyo
 Tokyo fuka jiman kurabe 東京府下自漫競
 Artist  Utagawa Kuniteru II (1830-1874)
 Signature
Yōsai Kuniteru mosha 曜齋国輝摸写 [mosha - "a true view"]
 Seal  none
 Publication Date
May 1874 (censor's date seal) 戊五
 Publisher
南槙町 伊勢兼 [Minamimakichō, Isekane] - seal of the publisher Iseya Kanekichi 伊勢兼 兼吉 [Marks: pub ref. 145; seal 26-121]
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good -  wrinkling, minor soiling, full size, not backed, vertical 1/4" band of discoloration running through top half of print
 Genre  ukiyo-e; meisho-e
 Miscellaneous    
 Format  oban
 H x W Paper 
 14 3/8 x 9 5/8 in. (36.5 x 24.4 cm)
 H x W Image 13 1/8 x 8 5/8 in. (33.3 x 21.9 cm)
 Literature 

 Collections This Print
 Tokyo Metropolitan Library 0412-C6
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