Stations 0-10‎ > ‎

Kisokaido: Fukaya - Station 09

 Keizai Eisen - Series of the 69 stations of the Kisokaido: Fukaya (10th print) - Fukaya station (Fukaya no eki)
(Edition done in 1950's by Kyoto Hanga-in under the supervision of Narazaki Muneshige, the most faithful to the first edition)

Eisen was one of the best known beauty painters of his generation and he displays his skills in this depiction of the pleasure quarters of Fukaya at night. There were no women available for entertainment at Kumagaya, the previous station and both geishas and prostitutes congregated in Fukaya. On a stretch just over a mile long (2km), there were over 80 inns and brothels. On the left, three geishas (1) out on a visit accompanied by a servant carrying a lantern with the sign “take” (2) (for Takanouchi, the publisher) turn to greet another geisha. They wear high geta (elevated wooden shoes) and kimonos in dark shades of blue and green, suggesting their appearance in the dark. Behind the geishas are the bars of the display window of a brother also named Takeuchi (3). Within are four prostitutes, one of them (4) looking wistfully onto the scene. At the main entrance, the madame (5) greets a customer who bends to take off his shoes. To the right, seen as silhouette, a blind masseur (6) blows a whistle to attract trade. Other figures, one carrying a lit lantern can be made out of the gloom in front of a row of shops and stone warehouses.

This print has seen many changes as the printers tried to reproduce the night scene.  The earliest impressions such as this example, have emply somber colours and black patterning on the kimonos of the geishas. These impressions bear the gourd-shaped seal in the margin (7) and are fully signed.  In later impressions, a shaft of light emanates from the paper lantern carried by the maid with the remainder of the print rendered as though it were in the dark with only the faces , hands and legs of the figures seen as white. The figures in silhouette also change with the addition of a seated dog and the lantern in the center extinguished. The houses lose their black outlines. The goud-shaped seal is replaced by a kiwame (approved) censor’s seal and the Takenouchi seal is lost. Then the houses in the back are printed dark blue as if in a dark mist. The shades on the kimonos become medium blue, the Eisen signature and the Hoeido seal disappear.

(Source: The 69 stations of the Kisokaido, Sebastian Izzard, Brazillier 2008)


Prostitutes in a brothel ca.1890, possibly near Yokohama

And now ?

Right Stone lantern at the station entrance (1840)

Left stone lantern at the station entrance (1840)


At 20 ri 27 cho or 82km/54mi from Nihonbashi, we are welcomed by the great stone lanterns at the entrance of the station. They were built in 1841 and are 4m tall. There are a few buildings dating Eisen’s time such as an old sake brewery, but the brothels have disappeared. This picture taken in 1890 in Yokohama red light district gives us an idea what it could have been like. The gate of the former honjin is still here, with a dental clinic occupying the premises. Fukaya has always been a communication hub and a major railway station was built in 1887 in a Victorian style, so popular for Western style buildings at the end of 19th century.

The gate of the former honjin, now a dental clinic

A sake brewery in a building dating 1850

 Fukaya station, built in 1887

Previous station: Kumagaya                                              Next station: Honjo