Annaka, Utagawa Hiroshige Japanese 1797 – 1858, was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, considered the last great master of that tradition. Hiroshige is best known for his horizontal-format landscape series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido and for his vertical-format landscape series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. The subjects of his work were atypical of the ukiyo-e genre, whose typical focus was on beautiful women, popular actors, and other scenes of the urban pleasure districts of Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868). The popular series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai was a strong influence on Hiroshige’s choice of subject, though Hiroshige’s approach was more poetic and ambient than Hokusai’s bolder, more formal prints. Subtle use of color was essential in Hiroshige’s prints, often printed with multiple impressions in the same area and with extensive use of bokashi (color gradation), both of which were rather labor-intensive techniques.
Annaka is located within traditional Kōzuke Province. During the Edo period, central Annaka was the jōkamachi of Annaka Domain, a feudal domain held by the Itakura clan under the Tokugawa shogunate. The area also prospered from its location on the Nakasendō highway connecting Edo with Kyoto. Post stations located within the borders of modern Annaka were: Itahana-shuku, Annaka-shuku, Matsuida-shuku and Sakamoto-shuku.
August 13th, 2021
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