Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 11, Hakone, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 15/16 in. x 13 15/16 in. (227.01 mm x 354.01 mm)
On mat in pencil: Jo XV 11. Censor's seal: Kiwame.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
After leading Odawara, in about 9 miles travelers would be climbing the steep path to Hakone Pass, the most difficult part of the Tokaido Road. Steep mountains overlook the beathtakingly beautiful lake, Ashinoko, also known as Hakone Lake. Travelers, however, are not in the position to enjoy the lake; here they labor step by step to climb the narrow, steep pass. Seen from a bird's-eye view in this print, only their circular hats and the luggage on their shoulders are visible.
In addition, travelers had to traverse this harsh topography to reach the checkpoint established by the government. Extremely concerned with the security of the regime and the capital, Edo, the shogunate took all possible measures to prevent suspicious people from freely entering and leaving the city. Firearms were a particular concern, as were the wives and daughters of the local daimyo, who were required by the shogun's decree to reside in Edo. These families were, in effect, held as surety for the loyalty for the daimyo, who were compelled to observe the elaborate system of alternate attendance (sankin kotai), spending one year in Edo and the next on their own fiefs. Identities of all men and women were checked against a document they carried, a sort of passport stating their names, ages, and purpose of their journey.
Strangely shaped, forbidding, and solitary, an enormous summit with variegated color soars in the center foreground of this image. Mount Fuji rises behind the low range of mountains against a pink sky.
Ref. "Hokusai and Hiroshige," p.173.
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.
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