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Fukagawa Kiba (lumberyard)

Mabuchi Tōru (1920-1994)

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fukagawa Kiba (lumberyard)

by Maeda Masao, 1929

Boar from Takeuchi Seihō's Album of the Twelve Calendrical Animals

IHL Cat. #1724

About This Print

A view of the lumber district in the Fukagawa Kiba ("kiba" meaning "place of wood") area that operated as a log gathering and lumber distribution point for the greater Edo/Tokyo area until the early 1970s. Originally published in 1929, at least two editions (two separate printings) of this print were made as pictured below.

click on image to enlarge

Fukagawa Kiba
The yards date back to the aftermath of the Meireki fire of 1657 when “authorities pressed the lumbermen to build on the swampland east of the Sumida. They did so, mainly in Fukagawa, constructing an elaborate maze of canals, bridges, and landings."1 The lumberyards provided much of the huge supply of lumber needed by the world’s largest wooden city and were of great economic importance. In early Edo, lumber was kept closer to the center of town. 

Writing in 1901, Basil Hall Chamberlain described Fukagawa as "a maze of narrow streets, chiefly inhabited by the lower trading and artisan classes, and offers little for the sightseer. The district, situated between the temple of Hachiman and that of Susaki-no-Benten, is noted for its trade in lumber, the town here being intersected bu numerous canals communicating with the river, down which come the timber-laden rafts from the inland provinces.”2

The area remained a lumberyard until the early 1970s, when it was moved to Shin-kiba (新木場). The old Kiba was then turned into Kiba Kōen 木場公園 (Kiba Park).

Showa 46th year, Tokyo, Fukagawa Kiba lumber store (1971 photo)

1 The Lumber Industry in Early Modern JapanConrad Totman, University of Hawaii Press, 1995, p. 40.
A Handbook for Travellers in Japan, Including the Whole Empire from Yezo to Formosa, Basil Hall Chamberlain & W. B. Mason, 1901, jp. 135-136.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1724
 Title Fukagawa Kiba (lumberyard) - 深川木場
 Maeda Masao (1904-1974)
政 Masa
 Publication Date 1929
 Edition unknown
 Publisher self-published
 Carver self-carved
 Printer self-printed
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - toning and dark spot center top
 Genre sosaku-hanga (creative print)
 H x W Paper 5 1/8 x 7 9/16 in. (13 x 19.2 cm)
 H x W Image 4 13/16 x 7 1/8 in. (12.2 x 18.1 cm)
 Collections This Print Carnegie Museum of Art 89.28.957; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria 2012.031.016; The British Museum 1987,0316,0.532
 Reference Literature