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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Yaozen Restaurant at San ya

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Tokyo Restaurants and Their Very Beautiful Dishes: The Yaozen Restaurant at San'ya
(Tokyo ryori sukoburu beppin: Yaozen, San'ya)

signed oju Yoshitoshi hitsu, kyogo (with the assistance of) Toshimaro, with publisher's seal Shiba Marujinpachi (Maruya Jinpachi of Tokokudo), and combined censor and date seal Hitsuji-kyu, aratame (year of the goat [1871], 9th lunar month)

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 5/8 in., 36 by 24.6 cm

The beauty holding a shamisen is identified as Kikuju, to her right is Kozan of the Minoya.

The Yaozen restaurant at San'ya was a notable spot in Edo, a successor to the Niken-jaya restaurant at Fukagawa that was, alongside the Hirasei at Fukagawa Ohashi, considered one of the two best restaurants in the city. The Yaozen was particularly important in shaping the culture of modern Edo, as it became an intersection of the tatsumi geisha ('town' or unlicensed geisha) prosperous chonin (merchants and craftsmen) and tsukaku (lit. 'men of taste'). This reputation continued well into Meiji Period, and would have still been true as Yoshitoshi was composing this design. In Basil Hall Chamberlain's 1891 travel handbook he noted the Yaozen as one of four recommended restaurants in the city.

References:
Chamberlain 1891, p. 63 (re: travel guide)
Keyes 1983, p. 394, no. 274.16
Nishiyama 1997, pp. 167-168 (re: Yaozen restaurant)
MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.37697

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