Inoue Yasuji (1864-1889)
Night View of a Ginza Store
(Ginza shōten yakei), 1882
Color woodblock print
9 3/4 x 14 3/16 inches (24.8 x 36 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of
Warren H. and Mary I. Watanabe, 2001
Known for his cityscapes, the artist Inoue Yasuji depicted this view of a store in the Ginza district of Tokyo shown at night. During the 1870s, the Ginza area was rebuilt as an economic center with Western-style brick buildings and wide, gas-lit streets and sidewalks. Images such as this one expressed contemporary excitement about the possibility of the modern city. The shop filled with domestically produced goods evokes a sense of prosperity, and its glass bottles lining the shelves refer to the period expansion of glass production, considered another marker of progress.