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   In 1928 Mr. SHOTARO SATO, a considerable publisher from Kyoto,  gave the announcement, that he published a hitherto unknown  series of eight prints by Hiroshige I, from the artist’s original drawings in the possession of Monsieur Emile Javal, a judge in the Civil Court of the Seine, Paris, France.


   These drawings were executed in the period between the last two years of Tempo to the end of Koka  (1842-1847), which may be called Hiroshige’s golden age, when his art reached its fullest maturity.


   How it happened that they were not then engraved and published, but were carried away to Europe, is an unexplained mystery. As they  bear impressions of the seal of the Nanushi (ward head-man) Mr.  FUKATSU IHEI, who acted as an official censor of publications in the fourth and eleventh month of the years from 1840 to 1847, it is evident that their publication was intended and had been approved.

   In trying to account for the fact, that following the censor’s approval,  they were not handed to an engraver, one only can suggest, that in some way, perhaps as a consequence of the death or failure of the Edo publisher, for whom they were designed, they may have been bought by some one who took them to Nagasaki and sold them to a Dutch trader who sent or carried the drawings to Holland, in the days before the Meiji restoration. Then they became the precious  possessions of Monsieur Javal. He showed them 1927 to Mr. Shotaro Sato and gave his permission of publishing them.

   As the drawings were in black and white and without any directions  by Hiroshige for the coloring of the prints, the production of prints which should be worthy of him, called for the exercise of painstaking care.

   The first step was to get together as many  of Hiroshige’s  snow-scene prints as possible and to study his method of coloring  them. The next step was to engage the services of  Mr. YUJIRO MAEDA, 1928 the best print-block engraver in Japan, and of Mr. GASEN OIWA, the best printer; both of them highly skilled craftsmen  who had experience in engraving and printing the works of SEIHO, BAKUSEN, KAMPO, SUIZAN and KOEI, all well known Kyoto artists  of that time.

   Next, when the key-blocks had been engraved by Mr. Maeda, the advice of an artist who was a color-print expert was sought and many trial colorings were made in an endeavor to assimilate Hiroshige’s coloring as closely as might be.

This took much time.


   At last for each of the eight subjects a color scheme was evolved which Hiroshige would have approved and  which to be very nearly, if not exactly, what he would have designated.

   Finally, when the color-blocks (for # 6, 17 blocks ! ) had been engraved, Mr. Oiwa took the printing in hand and has spared no pains in his effort to produce prints that rival those issued in Hiroshige’s lifetime.


   The eight prints were offered for sale as a set, enclosed in an ornamental portfolio specially designed to hold them. The subjects portrayed are as indicated on the front of this circular.

   This series of  TOTO YUKIMI HAKKEI (EIGHT SNOW SCENES IN  THE EASTERN CAPITAL)  must surely take rank among  Hiroshige’s masterpieces. As experts had said : “Hiroshige was an artist of snow and rain.” He certainly excelled in the representation of snow scenes, and these are in his very best manner. There are no  other works by  him that more fully portray the varying moods of Edo in winter than do this eight prints.










On show for the first time a complete set in color of the first edition of this set which had been limited to 100 copies only, bearing the limited number on the reverse of each sheet, of which this is No. 5

Published by        

Shotaro Sato 1928

This set is in the original portfolio with a blue title-page, a publication-information-sheet  and includes as a present of Mr. Shotaro Sato  a set of 18 woodblock prints, showing the printing states (colors) in building up the print  No.6

In my opinion

*    this set was not published at Hiroshige’s lifetime, because of the TEMPO ERA REFORMS.                                                         *    1842 woodblock printing was heavily hit by this campain:                                                 *  The price of prints was set to 16mon,  the  lowest category.                                                 *  Not more than 8 colors were allowed.          Publisher guilds dissolved.                                  *    Luxury prohibited.                                        The woodblock print business eroded.             *    Elaborate or extended print editions  banned.                                                                *    Hiroshige was forced to turn from landscapes, where his strength lay, to historical prints.............                                         The eight drawings sold to Europeans.


  Later impressions from the original            blocks were made at least 1946 and 1948.

    Reproductions from NEW BLOCKS:            Edition by Oedo Mokuhansha

More information:




Ryogoku Yuki noYugure

Snow view of the Ryogoku bridge in twilight


Meguro Fudo Keidai

Snow at the Fudo temple grounds at Meguro


Susaki Yuki no Ashita

Snow scene and rising sun at the seashore of Susaki


Takanawa Yoru no Yuki

Snow scene of Takanawa seashore in night


Uyeno To-eizan Shinobazu no Ike

Snow view of the Shinobazu pond at Uyeno To-eizan


Asakusa Kinryuzan

Snow view of the Sensoji temple at Asakusa


Sumidagawa Tsutsumi no Kei

Snow scene of the Sumida embankment


Kasumigaseki no Yuki Agari

View of Kasumigaseki in snow

Seal at the backside of the prints


G A L L E R Y    I N K S T O N E

Japanese Wood Block Prints, Netsuke,

Chinese Wood Block Prints