Tokyo Restaurants and Their Very Beautiful Dishes: The Kurumaya Restaurant at Shiba Shinmei
(Tokyo ryori sukoburu beppin: Kurumaya, Shiba Shinmei)
signed oju Yoshitoshi hitsu, kyogo (with the assistance of) Toshimaro, with publisher's seal Shiba Marujinpachi (Maruya Jinpachi of Tokokudo), and censor and date seal Hitsuji-kyu, aratame (year of the goat , 9th lunar month)
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 9 5/8 in., 36.1 by 24.3 cm
The beauty is identified as Toku of the Takeya.
While by the 1870s, restaurants had long featured prominently in everyday lives of cosmopolitan Japanese society, it wasn't until the mid-18th century that Edo featured any food service businesses other than simple tea houses. The beginning of the 19th century saw a huge increase in the number of restaurants, and it was soon commonly said that in Edo "every five paces, one finds a large building; every ten paces, one finds a stately one-each serving food and drink." This was particularly true along the Sumida River, where restaurants had easy access to a supply of both fresh fish and the customers of the unlicensed geisha who operated in the nearby Fukagawa district.
The series Tokyo Restaurants and their Very Beautiful Dishes (Tokyo ryori sukoburu beppin) depicts geisha and waitresses at popular restaurants in Tokyo. This was one of Yoshitoshi's few series dedicated to bijin, who are the 'Very Beautiful Dishes' of the title. Given Yoshitoshi's propensity for dynamic supernatural or violent subjects, it is perhaps not surprising that the stylistic departure of the elegant women and interiors toying with Western point perspective featured in this series were produced with the participation of several of his students.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 42
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 394, no. 274.5
Nishiyama Matsunosuke, trans. Gerald Groemer, Edo Culture, 1997, pp. 164-169
MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.39848
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.
site last updated
December 14, 2018
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...