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Ueno Zoo (Ueno Dōbutsuen) from the series Scenes of Last Tokyo

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ueno Dōbutsuen

from the series Scenes of Last Tokyo

by Onchi Kōshirō, 1945

IHL Cat. #185

About This Print

One of fifteen prints from the 1945 series Scenes of Last Tokyo.  This print was one of eight designs for the series which originally appeared in the 1929-1932 series Shin Tokyo hyakkei (One Hundred Views of New Tokyo).  (For an image of the 1929 release, see below.)  This 1945 print was made from recut blocks.  It is one of three designs that Onchi contributed to Scenes of Last Tokyo, the publication of which was orchestrated by him.

The Artist's Touch, The Craftsman's Hand: Three Centuries of Japanese Prints from the Portland Art Museum, Maribeth Graybill, Portland Art Museum, Oregon, 2011, p. 299.
"Japan's oldest zoo, founded in 1882, was the site of tragedy during the war.  Fearing that the wild animals might escape and cause havoc in an air raid, bears, lions, and leopards were put to death in August 1943.  Later, as food supplies became increasingly scarce in Tokyo, the elephants were hidden from the public and starved to death.  The zoo's facilities were in ruins because the metal in the cages and guardrails had been requisitioned for military use.  It would take man years before the zoo again became a tree-sheltered park where children could view animals."

Original folder label

Onchi Koshiro, Autumn at the Zoo (#27), 9/1/1929
from the series One Hundred Views of the New Tokyo (Shin Tokyo Hyakkei)
collection of Carnegie Museum of Art, 1029032

Source: Terrific Tokyo: A Panorama in Prints f
rom the 1860s to the 1930sElizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1999. P. 72.
One of Tokyo’s five original parks, Ueno not only contained Japan’s first art museum, but it also boasted the nation’s first zoo.  When tracks were laid from Tokyo Central Station to Ueno after the 1923 earthquake, the park became even more accessible to the crowds visiting its attractions.

Onchi captures the relaxed mood of a typical Sunday when city-dwelling parents and children came to enjoy the pleasures of the park-like setting of the Ueno Zoo and its numerous species of animals -–native and foreign.  [My note: Tempered, however, by the knowledge of the slaughter of zoo animals during the war.]
Ueno Zoo today

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #185
 Title Ueno Zoo
 上野動物園 Ueno Dōbutsuen 
 Series Scenes of Last Tokyo [also seen translated as Recollections of Tokyo]
 東京回顧図会 Tokyo kaiko zue
 Onchi Kōshirō (1891-1955)
 Seal none
 Date originally 1929 in the series One Hundred Views of New Tokyo (ShinTokyo hyakkei). Again in 1945 using recarved blocks for the seriesScenes of Last Tokyo (Tokyo kaiko zue)
 Edition December 1945 (literature sometimes shows 1946 as publication date)
 Publisher  Fugaku Shuppansha 富岳出版社, Tokyo, Uemura Masurō 上村益郎 publisher
 Printer Hirai Kōichi 平井孝一
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - removed from folio after receipt to stop further toning; verso tonedfrom contact with original folder;   paper remnants on top corners versoas a result of removal from folio.
 Genre sosaku-hanga (creative print)
 Miscellaneous Reprintedfor this series from recut blocks of original 1929 image published aspart of the series One Hundred Views of New Tokyo (Shin Tokyohyakkei).
 Format chuban
 H x W Paper 7 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (20 x 27.3 cm)
 H x W Image 7 1/4 x  9 1/2 in. (18.4 x 24.1 cm)
 Collections This Print Worcester Art Museum, Members’ Council Fund, 1987.79.3; Carnegie Museum of Art 89.28.709.11; The British Museum 1980,1127,0.18.8; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 60.38; Mead Art Museum at Amherst College 2008.63.8; Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery S1995.118.6; Portland Art Museum 1996.31.2h
 Reference Literature The Artist's Touch, The Craftsman's Hand: Three Centuries of Japanese Prints from the Portland Art Museum, Maribeth Graybill, Portland Art Museum, Oregon, 2011, p. 299; Terrific Tokyo: A Panorama in Prints from the 1860s to the 1930s,Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1999. p. 70; JapanesePrints During the Allied Occupation 1945-1952, Lawrence Smith, British Museum Press, 2003 (see figure 41)