Discover Tokyo Through Funny Food Ukiyo-e

Five humorous Ukiyo-e that show the food culture of Tokyo in the Meiji period

By Keio University Library

Thirty-six Amusing Views of Famous Places in Tokyo : Atagoyama by Shosai IkkeiKeio University Library

"Food culture" in the Meiji period drawn by Ikkei

Shosai Ikkei was an ukiyo-e painter who depicted many customs and scenaries of the early Meiji Period. Let's examine the "food culture" of the early Meiji Period from his work full of humor.

Thirty-six Amusing Views of Famous Places in Tokyo : Ueno Sannozan by Shosai IkkeiKeio University Library

Hanami (Cherry Blossom Sight-Seeing) Bento at Ueno

Spring is all about cherry blossom sight-seeing, even now and in the past. This is always accompanied by enjoying a bento while marveling at the scenary.This ukiyo-e depicts people who are enjoying the cherry blossoms while setting up the bentos.

It seems that some people are ecstatically enjoying the cherry blossoms. The party, interrupted by a blind-folded person, seems to be in chaos.

Someone is drinking the spilled sake by taking advantage of the chaotic situation.

Forty-Eight Famous Views of Tokyo : Harvesting Lotus at Shinobazu Pond with Benten Temple in Rear (1871) by Shosai IkkeiKeio University Library

Lotus root harvest at Ueno

There's still a lotus pond at the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, but it was a famous spot for lotus flowers in the Edo period. At the time, lotus roots were harvested and consumed.

It's said that lotus rice was served at a tea house near the Shinobazu Pond.

Thirty-six Amusing Views of Famous Places in Tokyo : Shiozaki Higata by Shosai IkkeiKeio University Library

Shellfish gathering: Susaki

People gathered shells in March as an annual event as one of the commoner's seashore hunting practices in Shinagawa, Shibaura, Fukagawa, Susaki, etc. Among them, Susaki was always full of crowd as a popular spot for gathering shellfishes.

It depicts people gathering clams by the seashore.

A woman, who was fully concentrated in gathering sea life, farted directly on a man's face! The man's facial expression is humorous and priceless.

Thirty-six Amusing Views of Famous Places in Tokyo : Meguro by Shosai IkkeiKeio University Library

A break at the tea house: Meguro

Various buildings stand in Meguro nowadays, but it was a farmland at the time. A traveler is taking a break and eating an onigiri rice ball at a tea house. It depicts a peaceful scenary with Mt. Fuji in the background.

It seems the dog is also excited to try the onigiri.

Thirty-six Amusing Views of Famous Places in Tokyo : Saruwaka-cho by Shosai IkkeiKeio University Library

Watching a play: Saruwaka-Cho

Watching a play was one of the biggest pastimes.This ukiyo-e depicts people enjoying a Kabuki play while eating snacks, bentos, sushi, etc. at a play house in Saruwaka-Cho, Asakusa.

They seem to have been enjoying a play while eating snacks, bentos, sushi, etc.

A man slipped, flipping over tea and bento.

Credits: Story

Ukiyo-e paintings in this exhibition will be included in the "George S.Bonn Collection of Ukiyo-e in the Meiji period".
About George S.Bonn Collection of Ukiyo-e in the Meiji period

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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