Yoshitoshi's 'Beautiful Women and Fancy Dishes in Tōkyō' (1871)


This page attempts to catalog all known prints in Yoshitoshi's series 'Tōkyō ryōri sukoburu beppin (東亰 料理 頗 別品 - Beautiful Women and Fancy Dishes in Tōkyō)'.

The title is given a wide range of translations, depending on how literal - and discreet - the translator wishes to be; in the original Japanese it seems to have a number of potential double meanings which are difficult to capture in English. ryōri means 'food', 'dish', 'management' etc.; sukoburu means 'extremely', and beppin is a somewhat vulgar word meaning 'beautiful woman'. So one plausible translation is 'beautiful women and fancy dishes of Tōkyō'.

The title of each individual print is in the cartouche to the left of the series title cartouche; the location is given at the top, and the establishment at the bottom.

The series dates from the middle of Yoshitoshi's career, when he was about thirty-two. It thus dates from about fourteen years before his well-known masterpieces such as his great series "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" (1885-1892), and "New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts" (often called simply "Thirty-Six Ghosts") (1889-1892).

The prints in this series are collaborations between Yoshitoshi and various of his students, including:

Technical details

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has two almost-complete sets of this series. One (Accession Number 11.37704, etc) seems to be a different edition from the other (Accession Number 11.39818, etc); the former, which is printed in brighter colours (in some cases, slightly garish) appears to be the earlier.

Judging by the printers' seals, they seem to have been printed by different publishers, although the publisher of the supposed second edition has not yet been identified.

Previous cataloguings

The only known attempts to enumerate this series was in Keyes' thesis:
	Roger. S. Keyes, "Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and
		Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 1839-1892",
		Cinncinnati, 1982
where it appears as series #274.

Keyes listed 17 prints in this series, but we have found an additional 2 prints, which we have numbered in the order in which they were discovered (approximately).

This page (and list) is not necessarily complete; the series is not well documented, and there may be yet other prints which have not yet come to our attention. If you know of any prints from this series which aren't listed here, or have either i) information about any errors on the page, ii) better images than the ones below, or iii) missing information about individual prints (e.g. publisher, exact date) please let us know.

The Prints

To see a larger, roughly full-screen, image of any print, please click on the thumbnail; these images are sized to produce reasonable detail (if we have an original that big), and are fairly compressed.

If we have a higher-quality image, that image can be viewed by clicking on the "Large Image" link, which gives the size of the image (for the benefit of those on slow links). Sometimes there is more than one, if our best-quality image has issues (e.g. trimmed margins).

Thumbnail Large image Number Date Collaborator Title (Kanji) Title (Rōmaji) Title (English) Description
401KB #1 9/1871 Toshihide 金杉濱 尾張屋 Kanasugi-hama Owari-ya The Owari-ya restaurant at the Kanasugi Bank Kanasugi-hama-chō seems to be a minor neighbourhood in the Minato ward of Tōkyō.

In modern Japanese, the simplified character is often used for the last character in that placename, instead of the one given here.

#2 9/1871 Toshikage 竹川町 花月亭 Takegawa-chō Kagetsu-tei The Kagetsu Restaurant in the Takegawa District
413KB #3 9/1871 Toshikage 釆女町 醉月樓 Uneme-chō Suigetsurō The Suigetsurō restaurant in the Uneme District
438KB #4 9/1871 Toshikage 南鍋町 泉文 Minami-nabe-chō Izumibun The Izumibun restaurant in the Minami-nabe District
409KB #5 9/1871 Toshikage 芝神明 車屋 Shiba Shimmei Kuruma-ya The Kuruma-ya restaurant at Shiba Shimmei
398KB #6 9/1871 Toshimaro 御厩河岸 常盤樓 O'umaya-gashi Tokiwarō The Tokiwarō restaurant at the Oumaya Bank Kashi (河岸) means 'riverbank'; in modern Japanese, a different character () is sometimes used to write the first syllable.

Some sources transcribe the title as using the character , but this is incorrect - close examination of the print shows the actual character to be the simplified one given.

In modern Japanese, the simplified character is often used for the last character in the title, instead of the one given here.

413KB #7 9/1871 Toshimaro 浅草 壽仙樓 Asakusa Jusenrō The Jusenrō restaurant at Asakusa In modern Japanese, the simplified character 寿 is often used for the first character in the restaurant's name, instead of the one given here; similarly, is often used instead of the last character.
#8 9/1871 Toshimaro 久保町 招榮亭 Kubo-chō Shōei-tei The Shōei Restaurant in the Kubo District Some sources give for the first character in the name of the restaurant (also reading 'SHŌ', but with a different meaning), but this is incorrect - see the second large image.

In modern Japanese, the simplified character is often used for the second character in the restaurant's name, instead of the one given here.

#9 9/1871 Toshimaro 浅草 甲子屋 Asakusa Kinoene-ya The Kinoene-ya restaurant at Asakusa
393KB #10 9/1871 Toshimaro 三拾間堀 狐尾張 Sanjūkken-bori Kitsune Owari The Kitsune Owari restaurant at the Sanjūkken Canal
329KB #11 9/1871 Toshimaro 今戸 大七 Imado Daishichi The Daishichi restaurant at Imado
Image needed #12 9/1871 Toshimaro Asakusa Tago-ya (?) The Tago-ya restaurant at Asakusa
434KB #13 9/1871 Toshinobu 音羽 滝蕎麦 Otowa Takisoba The Takisoba restaurant at Otowa
428KB #14 9/1871 Toshinobu 芝 金杉 三島屋 Shiba Kanasugi Mishima-ya The Mishima-ya restaurant at Kanasugi in Shiba
429KB #15 9/1871 Toshitsugu 木母寺 椬半 Mokubo-ji Enokihan (?) The Enokihan (?) restaurant at Mokubo Temple The first character of the restaurant name is a very obscure one, and the reading (pronunciation) is unknown. Some sources seem to have read the character as , with the reading enoki, but this seems likely incorrect, unless that character is a variant form of the one used in the title. Other sources read it as , with the reading SHOKU; the same comment applies to this possible character.
371KB #16 9/1871 Toshitsugu 山谷 八百善 San'ya Yaozen The Yaozen restaurant at San'ya San'ya, bordering on the Yoshiwara, has had a long history, since the Edo era, as a small community of the lowest class. In addition to day laborers, prostitutes, vagabonds, and the like, low-caste workers such as butchers, tanners, leatherworkers and the like, were also forced to live in this undesirable region; the predominantly Buddhist authorities, who found their work with dead animals repugnant, exiled them here. It has retained its association with lower class workers to this day; in the 1970s it grew into Tokyo's largest day-laborer quarter.
Image needed #17 9/1871 Unread The Susenrō restaurant at Asakusa
428KB #18 9/1871 Toshimaro 大音寺 前 田川屋 Daion-ji mae Tagawa-ya The Tagawa-ya restaurant in front of Daion Temple
418KB #19 9/1871 Toshikazu 芝口 伊勢源 Shibaguchi Isegen The Isegen restaurant at Shibaguchi There is some uncertainty over the last character in the restaurant's name, as it is not very clear in this image. While it seems to look most like the character , and it also might be (a simplified version of that character), that is probably not correct. Another Yoshitoshi series on Tōkyō restaurants has one print which seems to be of the same restaurant (the location, and other characters in the name, are identical), and that one definitely uses the character given here.

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© Copyright 2009 by J. Noel Chiappa and Jason M. Levine

Last updated: 22/July/2009