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Kunichika - Thirty-Six Tokyo Restaurants

This page displays prints from the series “Thirty-six Famous Tokyo Restaurants” by Toyohara Kunichika. This colorful series pairs famous geisha with famous Tokyo eateries. In the series, the rectangular panel at top left shows either speciality dishes or views from the restaurant. The large yellow cartouche on the right shows the series' title, name of the geisha and the restaurant's address. The background is split diagonally with a strong red textile pattern in the top half called "Asa no ha". The Asa no ha pattern is one of the most popular traditional patterns often seen on Japanese kimono. Asa no ha means: Asa = hemp: no = of: ha = leaf. The geometric pattern, represents overlapping hemp leaves. Hemp was the main material of clothing for the common people until cotton was cultivated in the Sengoku period (around 1600). The bottom half of the background has varieties of plants and leaves rendered in the style of a Japanese monochrome ink painting. This technique was first developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960–1274) and introduced to Japan by Zen Buddhist monks in the mid-14th century. 

This series is one of many restaurant series by different artists; including Yoshitoshi, Kunisada, Hiroshige, Yoshiiku, and others. It shows the collaboration between commerce and art through using the medium and popularity of woodblock prints as a marketing vehicle. This series, along with Kunichika's other series "Thirty-Six Famous Modern Restaurants" are wonderfully designed and produced. The complex patterns, dynamic compositions, beautiful portraits of geisha, and interesting scenes are a major reason for the success of this print series. The series was printed in 1870 by publisher: 万屋 孫兵衛  Yorozuya Magobē
Carver: 片田彫長 Katada Chojirō. We only have about half of the prints and they are shown in no particular order.

The Aoyagi Restaurant in Higashi Ryogoku
The Aoyagi Restaurant in Higashi Ryogoku, a beauty is folding a striped kimono. 東京三十六会席 亀と川 東両国青柳
Somehachi Masudaya Mochiya
Somehachi Masudaya Mochiya 東京三十六会席 花屋染八 増だや おもちや • A geisha and her protege going out for dessert. Note the collar is printed on the left image but embossed on the right image.
The Restaurant Nakahashi Kogane
The Restaurant Nakahashi Kogane 東京三十六会席 亀と川 東両国青柳

 

東京三十六会席
Restaurant Sukiyacho.
Shichi of Yanagibashi
Shichi of Yanagibashi: 東京三十六会席 柳橋志ち • The Tomoeya Restaurant in Daidaichi, with the Geisha Shichi of Yanagibashi - she's cleaning her teeth.
Kawanaga Yanagi-bashi
Portrait of the geisha Some of Yanagibashi holding a cat
The Restaurant Hashiokame Nihontsutsumi Hiramatsu
The Hiramatsu Restaurant in Nihonzutsumi, with the Geisha Okame of Nihonbashi • 日本はし おかめ - 日本堤 平松 
The Restaurant by kunichika
The Senzai-ro Restaurant in Nihonbashi, with the Geisha Kogiku of Nihonbashi • Geisha being helped with her coat. 
Restaurant print ukiyo-e
The Restaurant in Shitaya, with the Geisha Kotori of Shitaya
The Hirasei Restaurant in Fukagawa, with the Geisha of Nihonbashi
The Hirasei Restaurant in Fukagawa, with the Geisha of Nihonbashi • 東京三十六会席 日本橋 都 仲吉 深川 平清
The Nakamuraya Restaurant in Higashiryogoku, with the Geisha of Yanagihashi
The Nakamuraya Restaurant in Higashiryogoku, with the Geisha of Yanagihashi
The Kurumaya Restaurant in Shinmeimae, with the Geisha of Shinmei District
The Kurumaya Restaurant in Shinmeimae, with the Geisha of Shinmei District
The Ebiya Restaurant in Oji, with the Geisha Koshizu of Yanagihashi
The Ebiya Restaurant in Oji, with the Geisha Koshizu of Yanagihashi
The Manrin-ro Restaurant in Shinagawa
The Manrin-ro Restaurant in Shinagawa