Andō Hiroshige: The Sixty-Nine Stations along the Kisokaido

As a committed admirer of Japanese wood block printing ‘Ukiyo-e‘, I chanced on the evocative, remarkable prints of Andō Hiroshige much later, overshadowed as his work was, by the more towering and venerated Katsushika Hokusai. Much younger to Hokusai, though his contemporary, Hiroshige (along with Kunisada) remained one of the most prolific ‘story-tellers’ of 19th C Edo period Japan till his ‘retirement’ as a Buddhist monk, and subsequent premature demise. Hiroshige is in his most communicative space when working on themes around peopled landscapes, in weaving in human activities around evocative topography and elements of the natural order. I find his work less encumbered by classical ukiyo-e traditions, and in exploring the possibilities of perspective and vantage point, accompanied by extremely keenly observed human action, Hiroshige remains an unparalleled artist-storyteller of any time, much less Edo period Japan. Take a look at his ‘69 Stations along the Kisokaido‘.

1-70 stops along the well developed Kisokaido road connecting Kyoto and Edo (present day Tokyo). Hiroshige depicts 69 of these stops.

 

1 Nihonbashi: Snowy Morning

2 Itabashi Station

3 Warabi Station: The Toda River Crossing

4 Urawa Station: Distant View of Mount Asama

5 Ōmiya Station: Distant View of Mount Fuji

6 Ageo Station: The Kamo Shrine

7 Okegawa Station: View of the Plain

8 Kōnosu: Distant view of Fuji at Fukiage

9 Kumagaya Station: View of Hatchōzutsumi

10 Fukaya Station

11 Honjō Station: Crossing the Kanna River

12 Shinmachi

13 Kuragano Station: the Karasu River

14 Takasaki

15 Itahana

16 Annaka

17 Matsuida

18 Sakamoto (Eisen)

19 Karuizawa

20 Kutsukake Station: Rain on the Plain of Hiratsuka

60 Imasu

61 Kashiwabara

62 Samegai

63 Banba

64 Toriimoto

65 Takamiya

66 Echikawa

67 Musa

68 Moriyama

69 The Crossroad at Kusatsu

70 Ōtsu

 

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