Artist: Yoshida Tōshi (吉田遠志)

Print: Supper Wagon (屋台店) from the series Tokyo at Night (夜の東京)

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Dates: 1938,created
Dimensions: 11.14 in,8.43 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: color woodblock print

Signed in print: Toshi (遠志)
Seal: Yoshida
Signed in pencil in lower margin: Tōshi Yoshida
Date: 昭和十三年 - Shōwa 13
Title: 夜の東京/屋台 - Yoru no Tōkyō/yatai mise

Related links: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; National Gallery of Australia; University of California; Carnegie Museum of Art; University of California, Merced Library and the Lee Institute for Japanese Art;

Physical description:

In Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, it says on pages 84-85:

"The 1938 print Supper Wagon... by Yoshida Hiroshi's eldest son, Tōshi (b. 1911), brings shin-hanga townscapes into their second generation and virtually to the beginning of the Pacific War. This print, from Yoshida Tōshi's ten-part Tokyo at Night series, encapsulates many aspects of the entire shin-hanga movement. Stylistically the subtle play of cool colors reflects the chromatic studies of Shinsui adapted from Western art. Similarly, the wonderful rear illumination of the words written on the lanterns and cloth flaps of the food stalls translates effects of oil painting or watercolor into the woodblock print medium. Tōshi, who trained cutting and printing blocks with his father, added a slightly grainy quality to suggest the crepuscular light that dissolves the edges of forms as they merge with the night. These effects of light and texture, together with subtle contrast between the balanced verticals and horizontals of the food stalls and the fluid forms of the dog, woman, and willow tree, convert the most mundane subjects into objects of great beauty.

"But the print is not only beautiful, it is poignant. Shinjuku, an inexpensive entertainment district built at the terminus of several national and suburban rail lines, was a bustling urban area by the late 1930s. By 1928 the Shinjuku station reportedly processed more passengers than Tokyo station. At the time of Tōshi's print Shinjuku boasted several large movie theaters as well as a thriving geisha district, which forced those in Kaurazaka and Yotsuya out of business. For all the crowds and bustle of the real Shinjuku, Tōshi presents fully only the images of a woman, her child, and a waiting dog. Hidden behind the flaps of the nighttime stalls advertising wonton with noodles, pork cutlet, fried beef, and other cheap delicacies, we see only the silhouettes and legs of men. In late 1930s Japan, when troops were fighting along the coast of China, the presence of men in ghostly or decapitated forms, the lone woman, and the faithful dog surely had profound connotations. Far from being stylistically or thematically detached from its age, Tōshi's print - and the best of shin-hanga - represent the subtle but very real consonance of this popular art with the spirit of Japan in the Taishō and early Shōwa periods."

The title in English in the lower left margin is Supper Waggon [sic].


Also illustrated in:

1) a full-page color reproduction in The Japanese Print Since 1900: Old Dreams and New Visions by Lawrence Smith, p. 90.

2) The Changing City as Depicted in Modern Woodblock Prints: Tokyo in Transition, text mostly in Japanese, Edo-Tokyo Museum, 1996, p. 80.


There are other copies of this print in the Worcester Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Victoria and the British Museum.


The last characters on the left margin read 'yataimise' (屋台店) or stall or stand. Of course, this differs slightly from the English translation of 'supper wagon' so easily understood by Western collector's of Yoshida's prints.