This visual literacy exercise is based on selected woodblock prints from a famous series depicting scenic views of the Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido (Tokaido gojusantsugi in Japanese). They were completed originally during the middle of the nineteenth century by the Japanese print artist Hiroshige Ando.

The Japanese Woodblock Print Artist 
HIROSHIGE ANDO (1797 - 1858)
The Tokaido ("Eastern Sea Route") was the main coastal road linking the headquarters of the period's military leadership in Edo (the modern city of Tokyo) with the site of the Japanese imperial court in Kyoto, several hundred kilometers to the south and west. The entire length of the highway, one of five major roadways in the Empire at the time, was lined with post stations, some fifty-three in number, catering to the needs of the thousands of travelers regularly using the highway.

Along the road itself traders and religious pilgrims jostled with official messengers and the entourages of local feudal lords (called daimyo) making their way to and from Edo. Hiroshige clearly was fascinated by the genre scenes such travelers -- and the varied settings through which they moved -- provided; during his career, he finished four separate and complete series of woodblock prints depicting life along the Tokaido!

Examination of these lively prints can provide any attentive and careful observer with a wealth of information about Japan and the Japanese -- as we shall see as this exercise proceeds.


This visual literacy exercise should take about thirty minutes to complete (dependent to a large degree on the speed of the modem you are using).

There are six steps in the process. As you proceed, you will be asked to --

At the bottom of each page, you will find a set of arrows to guide your progress. The RIGHT ARROW will take you to the next portion of the exercise; the LEFT ARROW will return you to the prior page; and the UP ARROW will bring you back to this introductory material.

Version 1.05. Exercise originally created in April 1996 by Lee A. Makela (l.makela@popmail.csuohio.edu ) for use in three courses (HIS 273, Contemporary Japan in Historical Perspective; HIS 373/573, Traditional Japan; and HIS 374/574, Modern Japan) and currently integrated into HIS 373/573, Contemporary Japan in Historical Perspective and HIS 371 / 571, The History of Japan, part of the curriculum offerred in the Department of History at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.  Last modified: January 26, 1999.

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