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Hibiya Kōen [Open-air] Bandstand: Tokyo Famous Sights

Picture of the Occupation of the Taku Forts and the Hard Fight of Navy Lt. Colonel Hattori

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Hibiya Kōen [Open-air] Bandstand:

Tokyo Famous Sights

by unknown artist, c. 1905

S. Watanabe Woodcut Print Shop

IHL Cat. #1905

About This Print

This souvenir print with its saturated colors was likely created shortly after the opening of Hibiya Park in 1903.1 This Western-style  park is located in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, next to the Imperial Palace.  An electric tram is shown in the center of the print, with the park being a major stop along its route, and the park's bandstand is prominently shown in a circular inset.

The first concert in the bandstand took place on August 1, 1905 with fifty Army Band musicians performing.  European classical music was introduced to many Japanese through these concerts.

Five weeks after this first concert, on September 5, the park was the scene of the "Hibiya Riots" in which protesters rallying against the disappointing terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) clashed with police and later destroyed more than 300 buildings in central Tokyo.  Some 450 policemen were injured and seventeen died during the three days of riots. Martial law was declared to quell the riots.2

photograph of the open air bandstand in Hibiya Park, c. 1909
click on image to enlarge

Plan of the park  at the time of its opening
click on image to enalrge
source: “Map of Hibiya Park.,” Japan's Samurai Revolution, accessed October 11, 2018,

"The Great Disturbances in Tokyo ...riotous scene which followed in consequence
of the attempt of the police to prevent the ingress of the crowd into Hibiya Park"

1 I have heard it suggested that the use of these over-the-top saturated colors was in response to competing photographic images; trying to woe the public away from more realistic photographic depictions with their wild coloration.
2 For more information on the riot see the essay by Andrew Gordon "Social Protest in Imperial Japan: The Hibiya Riot of 1905" https://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/social_protest_japan/trg_essay.pdf

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Hibiya Kōen [Open Air] Concert Hall: Tokyo Famous Sights
 日比谷 公園 音樂堂 東京名勝
 Artist Unknown
 Signature unsigned
 Seal not sealed
 Publication Date not dated, c. 1910
 Publisher unknown.
 Impression fair
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - light toning throughout
 Genre meisho-e
 Format chuban
 H x W Paper 
 7 3/8 x  10 1/2 in. (18.7 x 26.7 cm)
 H x W Image 5 3/4 x 8 3/4 in. (14.6 x 22.2 cm) area within black border
 Collections This Print
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