The earliest in date of the fragmentary diaries still remaining, or of which we have a record, is that of a journey made by Hiroshige over another of the great roads of Japan - that called the Koshukaido and running from Yedo through the province of Kai (Koshu was the old name in Chinese style) to Kofu and then by way of Nirazaki and Kanazawa to join the Kisokaido at Shimo-Suwa. On this expedition the artist auspiciously started on the 2nd day of the 4th month in Tempo 12, Year of the Ox (A.D. 1841). He made such good progress as to arrive at his destination, Kofu, on the evening of the 4th day of his journey - a matter of about 80 miles. It was evidently his first experience of this country. He makes careful notes of the industries practised in the towns and villages through which he passed, and here and there illustrated (in the lost original) his point with sketches. Food is to him a matter of great importance, and the quality of that supplied at his various halting-places is sedulously recorded; while the attention given to the state of the weather could hardly have been exceeded by an Englishman. The company that he picked up or discarded on the road is duly noted, sometimes with caustic comment; and the accommodation provided (or refused) at the various inns receives its share of attention - with special reference to quality and cleanliness. At need or on the impulse of the moment he turns a little verse sometimes, we gather, somewhat risqué, but, again, as when crossing the Sasago Pass, altogether simple and charming. And he never fails to write his appreciation of fine scenery, in language to which Mr. Matsuki (to whom I owe the translation following) seems to have done at least adequate justice.
Throughout the diary, the business of making colour-prints is never mentioned. But this journey has special significance to those who are interested in this branch of his art, for it records his visit to the famous Saruhashi or Monkey-Bridge, which provided the subject of one of his greatest and best-known compositions. Moreover, it has the advantage of giving us a date which at all events limits in one direction the period within which this masterly kakemonoye must have been produced. As Hiroshige may not have returned to Yedo, at all events to settle down, for a while, it is fairly safe to place the Saruhashi print not earlier than 1842. He can hardly have failed, also, to collect much material for the Views of Mount Fuji; for Kofu is a point from which many excursions can be made affording superb points of view; and, among them, the descent of the Fujikawa rapids, which, as noted by Mr. Kojima, his sketch-books prove him to have made, as well as a trip to Mount Mitake, once famous for its magnificent temples.
But all this and the sketches resulting therefrom were merely incidental to the main purpose of the journey. The designing of colour-prints was not the only - and, at times, not even the chief occupation of the artist. Hiroshige went to Kofu, evidently by invitation, for the express purpose of painting theatre curtains those drop-scenes to which the people's theatres of Old Japan attached so much importance. These were sumptuously executed and at great expense; generally, three or four were displayed in the course of one performance ; and, bearing in mind the strong natural artistic taste of the Japanese people of every class, there is no doubt that they constituted a not unimportant attraction. Hiroshige got into touch with the people he had come to meet, on the first day after his arrival, and met his committee two days after. A studio was selected, and he settled down to work, mainly at the curtain, for which he, on April 14th, received a substantial sum in advance of payment (5 ryo in the old coinage may have been about 8 guineas), of which he promptly remitted the greater part to Yedo. He also painted a Shoki (the demon-queller), 6 feet by 12 feet in size, a banner, 12 feet by 1 foot, for a Chinese figure, and a number of panels. There seems to be a possible reference to an illustrated book, but that was obviously an affair of small importance at the time.
The second fragment of the diary, in the 11th month of the same year, is also concerned with similar work - evidently a further commission, as it begins with the preparation of a sketch design in ink. This curtain was finished on the 5th day, and a coloured signboard or poster for the theatre begun at once. He finished his theatre-sign next day; and, on the day after, notes that all painting was completed, made out his bill, sent off his baggage, and drank sake till late night. His return journey only occupied a few days.
The original note-book covering the last part of this diary has, happily, been preserved. It came into the possession of the late Mr. Wilson Crewdson, who lent it to me for the purpose of my paper on Hiroshige, read before the Japan Society on April 13, 1910. At the sale of Mr. Crewdson's collection it passed into the hands of Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson, who has most kindly placed it again at my disposal. It is a small volume of only 38 pages, roughly put together and bound in paper, filled with charming sketches in ink, of which two examples are reproduced (plate facing p. 122). The script is hastily scribbled at the end, so as, in places, to be hardly legible but Hiroshige was no scholar and Japanese writers say that he made many mistakes in writing. The translation of this portion (from November 13th onwards) was made by Mr. Hogitaro Inada and Mr. Shozo Kato. No doubt owing to difficulties of reading the script this version does not exactly correspond with that given by Mr. Matsuki (after Kojima); so it has been thought advisable to collate them, the former and more detailed being generally followed. I quote Mr. Matsuki's preface to the Diary in full.
DIARY OF HIROSHIGE, ON TRIP FROM YEDO TO KOFU
In making this translation of the Diary, I feel it is quite necessary to express our obligations to Mr. H. Kojima, in whose book, Ukiyoye to Fukeiga (Ukiyoye and Landscape Pictures), published in 1914, the diary was printed, for the original was destroyed in the great disaster of 1923. It is from this book that the translation is made. It is the sole remaining source. [He did not know of the existence of Dr. Hutchinson's fragment. - Author's note.]
In Chapter 24, Mr. Kojima wrote:
The existing diaries of Hiroshige's sketching tours are, as mentioned in Chapter 7 under the title Sketching Tours among Sea and Mountain Views, one of the travel in Kai province, also called Koshu, the Kanosan tour, and the tour around Kominato Tanjoji. The Kai trip diary is the longest and most interesting. In reading this, we see how he delighted in clean and tidy accommodations, how he enjoyed good food and was particular in regard to the quality of the native drink, how simple and unaffected in social relations though occasionally indulging in cynical comments so characteristic of the people of Yedo.
The hand-writing of the diary is freely mixed with the kana or native syllabary, which would seem to show that he was not so well-educated in the Chinese character, though this may be due to carelessness, and some parts are not lucid and there are errors in text. As he devoted himself to art studies from boyhood, it may be that he lacked time to cultivate the writing of characters. Still, whatever his faults of style or pen, he shows a close attention to detail.
Personally, I rather like the style shown in his diary, while his penmanship or handwriting seems strong yet elegant. The Japanese and Chinese poems sometimes written by him on his Bird and Flower prints are in keeping with the artistic composition and are a source of pleasure in complete harmony with the picture.
K. Matsuki, Tokyo,
HIROSHIGE'S DAILY OF TRIP TO KOSHU
Note of day to day, April, Tempo 12, the year of Ox. (A.D. 1841) Ichiryusai.
April 2. Auspiciously started. Cloudy morning, cleared by noon. Left home at itsutsu of morning (8 a.m.). From Marunouchi passed through Yotsuya, Shinjiku and made a turn of road at Oiwake. About here the road is pretty bad. Came to Yotsuya-shinmichi, at right there is a road to Juniso, here took a rest. After Ogikubo the road stretches eighteen cho (a little over one mile) to Horinouchi Temple, and tea houses are found on both sides of the road; rested. In hearing the road to Oyama of Sagami within 10 cho and a short cut to Futago-no-watashi (the ferry) being near, I, for a fun made this kioka (popular poem, not translatable).
Went on, villages of Shimo-Takaido and Kami-Takaido, and at Ishihara rested. Through Nunodajiku the landscape was monotonous. A party of three, men and woman from nearabout of Horinouchi became fellow-travellers, not pleasing. At Fuchujiku visited the Taisha shrine. Two ri to Hino seemed very long way; took a rest. Crossed Tamagawa by ferry, passed Hinonohara, as going through Hinojiku was joined by a samurai from Suwa of Shinano, took a rest. Passed Hachioji, at Yokaichi tried to lodge at inn called Tokurikiya whose house-mark was like this (sketch) but was refused, so went to the next house by name of Yamakami Jurozayemon. The proprietor was a samurai, being a retainer of Takeda of Kai. Here I met with an elder retired man by name of Suzuki who had much to talk, and heard many interesting stories. By his request composed a kioka of sarcastic nature for him to send to his old love. Having been told that the woman's new patron is a tabiya (Japanese sockmaker; old style tabi were provided with cords to tie round ankle) I made the kioka like this,
The cords of tabi are so firmly tied around your feet, I cannot loosen the tightened root lying in the depths of your heart.
This man resembled much to a kioka composer called Irifune Sendo. For the reward I was treated by him with tea and candy.
April 3. Fine weather. From Sennin street of Hachioji to Santa village the roadsides were hedged with kenninji-gaki (special kind of hedge made with split bamboo) and peasant houses looked very clean; took a rest. The toilet of these houses about here were like this (sketch). From here on, house after house were engaged in weaving industry, making an imitation of Hakata Silk of Chikuzen. Stream was running through village, provided with small water mill using in hulling rice; they were like this (sketch).
In village of Konaji there was a tea house, very clean, offering all kind of dishes owing to the employment of a good cook from Yedo. From here a road branches out for 1 ri and 18 cho leading to Takaoyama. Passing Komakino barrier reached to the inn of Komakino, from where was also a short cut to Takaoyama. About here each house was also weaving. From here had another companion of three people from Yedo, on pilgrimage to Minobu, and still another of the hostess of Kashiwaya, the lodging house at Konaji-jiku, making all together five of us; talked as we went. Begun to ascend Kobotoke Pass. At a tea house took our lunch with vegetable side-dishes which was very poor. Here was the boundary post of Musashi and Sagami. On descending path of the hill was the birth place of Terutehime. Over the valley a little village was visible. At foot of the pass there was a little settling and here we parted with the woman.
Passed Koharu-no-shiku to Yose-no-shiku and at a tea house near the entrance we rested. We ordered some sushi of fresh-water trout and got it after helping to make it. The price was too high because it did not taste good! Making a short cut was reached the town of Yose, the cut, making the difference of 20 cho from that of main road, was somewhat of hard passing. The Sagami River was slowly running; crossing the ferry asked the ferry man the name of the river who said Sakuragawa. Crossing this river twice brought us to inn of Yoshine. This river starts off from skirt of Fuji, so in time of snow melting the volume of the water increases. The villagers say that since the snow resembles the flower, the name of Sakura-gawa derives. (Here he gives a kioka of his own.)
Leaving Yoshinojiku and at entrance of Sekinojiku the place called Umezawa we took a rest. At the house called Komatsuya saw the stock of male and female principle, and man and wife rock. Close by was a tea house where served big manju (bean jam bun). After Sekinojiku soon came to Kagamigawa; the view of the river was fine. Here were three tea houses and those situated toward upper of the river were better. Rested at the middle one, all were feeling hungry and four of us enjoyed fresh trout, sakura-meshi (rice boiled with shoyu) and macaroni with saku which was 24 mon for 1 go.
Then we came to the guard-house of Suwa, Suwa village, Suwa shrine. The houses from here on were all weaving; making some silk and cotton cloth. Uyenohara was a very good place; crossed stream of Tsurukawa, of which was told that in time the water increases, forbidding crossing. The view here was splendid. To Nodajiri went one ri and half, the hill road seemed very long but was charmed with the fine views, making number times of rest. Made lodging at Nodajiri where parted with the three of Yedo. Stopped at the house by name of Komatsuya which was only large and not clean (here he gives another kioka). This evening was aiyado (shared room with some one unknown traveller). In the next room there was a samurai of Kuwana and his family. He, after his family retired, practised the art of iainuki (the way of drawing a long sword sitting). First he explained to me his school, telling the name of his teacher. Then explained the way, its form were about like this (sketch). Beside iai he showed the way of tachiai (facing to foe standing) and some others and then talked much on military pursuits; about on firing methods and claimed to own one of only two existing secret book on the subject. He also said of having studied astronomy. (Here he gives bill of fare of the supper that night.)
April 4. Fine weather. Left Nadajiri and begun to ascend Inume-toge (pass). The Fuji could be seen as go up the slopy road. At the inn of the pass rested, at tea house called Shigaraki which was opened last March and is run by a man and his wife of Yedo, he used to be a tailor at Shinbashi. Were selling some sweet and all kind of sake and drinks, the shop was comparatively clean.
From Inume to Kami-torizawa the distance of 1 ri and 12 cho was accommodated by horse just returning that way. From Torizawa to Saruhashi was 26 cho, the mountains of Kai were running far and near, some very lofty with valley deep, the stream of Katsuragawa was pure and clean. The view changed every ten and twenty steps. The charm of the views inexpressible, beyond brush's tempt. From Saruhashi (monkey-bridge) to Komahashi was 16 cho, the road running by a gorge, high peaks of mountain far and near with scattered villages, the view was magnificent. At a tea house of other side of the monkey - bridge took my lunch with trout and vegetable.
At Otsuki the road branches out to Fuji. Followed to right descending a slope came to a big bridge, the torrent terrific with rocks of peculiar form. The rocks were towering, thickly wooded; was completely surrounded with mountains like screen. The view was attractive and also ghastly. The bridge was in decay and a temporal bridge was right by; in crossing, it came to where the path parted in two, at which I was at loss which one to follow, yet there was no house nor any passing people to inquire about. After standing awhile in a wonder a woodcutter appeared, by whose help I was able to make headway to Shimo-Hanasaki and then to Kami-Hanasaki. At tea house called Kashiku, just before getting to Hatsukari, rested and met with a party off our from Shinagawa of Yedo.
At leaving point of Kami-Hatsukari was a tea house where I ate four sticks of dango (dumpling made of rice-flour and four or five of them stuck through a bamboo stick). The hostess of this tea house was native of Yokamachi of Kofu and had been once to Yedo. Strangely she boiled tea out of kama (iron pot) instead tea kettle. One mile to Hinojiku, by ascending Tenjinzaka brought to the village; then came to Yoshigakubo where was a stone tablet like this (sketch), by going up a little, visited a peasant house called Katsuzayemon and inquired about the deadly poison snake, the old woman came out from interior and told following account -
Some days back, here used to live a wealthy peasant who had a daughter called Oyoshi. She was very beautiful but wicked minded and at last she took form of serpent and lived in a large marsh near about, and night after night would appear tormenting the villagers. The Buddhist priest Shinran happened to come and through his virtue the animal was subdued. The family of Komata still exist in the village, and at a temple of Shinran's sect in Imazawa some two miles away is offering the history printed on paper. This old woman was about seventy-seven or eight, had travelled all alone last year from Zenkoji of Shinano to Yedo, Kamakura, Yenoshima and up to Oyama. She told many other things and treated us with cakes made from wheat flour.
At Noda-jiku went to Ogiya for lodging but was refused, stopped at Wakamatsuya. This house was incomparatively dirty, more so than Komatsuya of before; wall was falling, floor was down, worms were crawling. The straw mats was filled with dust, the andon (lighting apparatus) was covered with spider's web and paper broken, the damaged hibachi (brazier) and tea cup which was almost too good for this house. (Here he gives particulars of menu.) To-day occasionally got together with the party of Shinagawa of Yedo but slipped away on account of their being disagreeable.
April 5. Clear weather. Left Kuronoda and begun to ascend Sasago pass. At about half of the way took rest where met with man and woman (they were sister and brother) from Yedo, a man from Kakegawa of Yenshu (Province of Totomi), a party of three, and a Zen priest from Ichikawa of Koshu, and exchanged words each other. Keeping up the pass came to Yatate no sugi (the huge cedar in shape like arrow set up; this tree appears in Shokoku Meisho Hyakkei by Hiroshige 2nd) standing at left of the path. The woods were thick, sound of raging torrent, songs of different birds were entertaining. The pass was over while enjoying them. As descending made a poem of hokku, Oh cuckoo, you have made me again stop my foregoing foot to listen to you.
Leaving Tsuruse-noshiku went on 13 cho of narrow hill path and passed Barrier of Tsuruse. The women in party had pass. Here had meal with cooked yamaudo. Then went on to field known as Yokobuki at where was joined with a pilgrim party from Yedo. At right was mountain and left ravine; on high mountain rocks were towering, woods was thick. In front at far distance Shirane-ga-take, Jizo-ga-take, and Yatsu-ga-take's high peaks were visible and the view was superb. Here was a Buddhist temple called Daisenji, on torii at front of the gate was table on which was written A horse, an ox, did not inquire its meaning. From about here on to Katsunuma was growing the famous grapes, its trellis were seen great deal. This was a long street and stopped at tea house called Tokiwaya where took lunch with the party from Yedo ; the price was very cheap. Here the Yedo party took a road branched off, but met again with the sister and brother of Yedo and the man from Ichikawa. This companions were very amusing. Passed Kurihara and came to Tanaka where was a stone table like this (sketch). The story about the table was as follows:
More than one hundred years ago this village was visited by a flood and placed peoples in a great danger. Man by name of Yasubei who was a leper, had an aged mother in ill and very poor. His wife Okuri scarcely managed to support them. The mother however could not stand, and died. Yasubei said to his wife, My illness is hopeless, and since it is nature that I can not associate with other people, I had better throw myself in the water and die; but you are still young and have had no child, so should remain and may be able to get a good suitor. To which the wife answered denying, Since I have come to this house I never expect to leave undead. If you have thus decided I too will do the same; and tying the two bodies together with her obi sunk into the flood. Her deed was appreciated by the high officials and the monument of this virtuous woman was set up.
Next Shiku was Isawa; at tea house near the entrance there was a large party of pilgrim from Yedo, very lively. Here I took a drink of shochu (alcohol) and a dish of macaroni. In course of conversation I found that the sister and brother from Yedo happen to knew Umekawa Heizo and Onaka of Asakusa. After going through a road bordered with trees, approached to city of Kofu, where were the remains of Sakaori Shrine. The image of the deity was like this (sketch); at Yanagi-machi parted with the companion and at about five p.m. got to the house of Mr. Yeihachi whose house name was Iseya where I made a stay. To-day I had bath and was shaved.
April 6th: Clear weather. In the morning went to the theatre of Kaiyacho and saw two acts of the play called Date no Okido. Then I had to leave on account of a certain business, and at Iseya met with the party of those who looks after stage curtains; had sake feast with them.
April 7th: Clear weather. In morning saw Sanokawa Ichizo. From the forenoon went to theatre. From a girl I do not happen to know received a gift of tea and candy, and sent her things in return. Saw part of the play of Oshun and Denbei, also Iroha Shijushichinin; the curtain was new.
April 8th: Clear weather. In morning baggage arrived. The color of the curtain was selected. The members of the committee were ten; in evening the respected Mr. Yoshiokaya Kameo came and we talked a long time.
April 9th: Clear weather. The place of studio was decided. From afternoon went to theatre and saw till the last. Then took a walk along street and visited temple Ichirenji; within the temple ground were Inari and Tenjin Shrine, also archery and restaurant. Was invited to supper by Mr. Tsunezawa at a restaurant front of temple Onkoji.
April 10th: Cloudy. Painted a Shoki in size six by twelve feet. The curtain committee were having feast as inner room, and was invited. At dusk accompanied the respected Mr. Kameo to tea house of Ichirenji and had sake feast, and then inviting priest Sankeu went to another tea house and had jolly time.
April 11th: Cloudy. Had painted on five feet screen. Received two hundred hiki (1 hiki was 1/2 ryo) for painting Shoki and one dish of broiled eel. In evening had sake feast with Sanokawa Ishizo.
April 12th: Rain. Had painted four fusuma (paper panel of size 3 by 6 feet). A basket of cucumber and a dried Katsuwo were brought from Tsujijin. Enjoyed the treat of buckwheat nudle evening.
April 13th : Clear weather. At house of Tsuchinoya Jumon was a gathering of announcing kioka (popular poem) and attended.
April 14th: Clear weather. Painted two fusuma but not feeling well took rest. Received five ryo as deposit against final fee for painting curtain, and sent four ryo one bu two shu to Yedo (1 bu was 1/2 ryo, 1 shu 1/8 ryo ).
April 15th: Clear weather. In morning went to house of Mr. Murata Kohei of Sakanacho, from afternoon went to see procession of Goko festival. The streets of Kofu were filled with people come out from near about. Felt slightly sick and took some medicine (sketch of festival); in evening went to see theatre there was no seat, but saw two different plays.
April 16th: Fine weather, had shower. Totally recovered from ill feeling. Wrote a little. Murako sent me home-made buckwheat nudles which were very, very good. In evening heard account of the festival, gave some tips to people of festival.
April 17th: Fine weather. Finished painting on fusuma for Tsujiya and sent to them. Tea and candy came. A flag of twelve to one feet was ready to paint Chinese figure.
April 18th: Fine weather. The flag was finished. From after-noon commenced to paint the theatre curtain and worked to evening. Letters from Yedo arrived twice.
April 19th: Fine weather. Despatched letter to Yedo. Painted four fusuma for Murako from whom some sushi (rice-ball) came. At dusk had a bath at Tsujiya, also had treat of soba (buckwheat nudle), went to theatre in evening and saw three acts of Iwaiburo.
April 20th: Half cloudy. Finished sumigaki (design drawn with ink) for the curtain. Also painted Shoki on Chinese cotton cloth. In evening went to Murako and on way back stopped at theatre, when it was over a sake feast was opened at third story.
April 21st: Half cloudy. Ordered a yukata (bath robe or retiring kimono) at Tsujiya. Applied colouring to Sanoi (book he was illustrating ?) did some petty work.
April 22nd: Half cloudy. Took a rest.
April 23rd: Half cloudy. Painted Shoki for Tsujiya.
Note by Mr. Kojima:
From here the diary jumps to November 13th. Whether he had returned to Yedo during this period or remained is not clear. While he was staying in Kofu it seems that he made the trip ascending to Mitake and Minobu and shot down the Fujikawa rapid. His sketch book accompanying the diary contains in its end part the picture of the main shrine of Takaozan of Musashi and the Buddhist Temple Kashiozan Daizenji.
Nov. 13th: Fine weather. Made sumigaki (black and white design) for curtain. Was invited by Tsujiya for evening. The fish was good but sake and soba were bad, so speedily left at 10 o'clock. Wrote letter to Yedo.
(14th. Fine weather. Began to paint curtain, lonesome evening, was invited to Narumiya, the guest was the widow of Yeirakuya of Yokaichi.)
(Above was obtained from other manuscript.)
Nov. 15th: Fine weather. The curtain design was done. Took rest from noon. In evening had sake at Yorozuya's. Just after Yotsu (4 P.M.) begun to stretch another curtain on frame ready for painting, and then again sake feast.
Nov. 16th: Fine weather, then half cloudy. During morning worked a little on curtain. Had sake feast at Narumiya's. With some company went to an eel restaurant with Mansada and Genyemon. In evening all went to theatre and saw two acts of play. This was day of great booze.
Nov. 17th: Fine weather. Commenced to paint theatre's signboard. The screen for Narumiya was done. Worked a little at night. From late evening begun to stretch curtain. Sake feast continued till daybreak, and stayed at his house. During the night, Yeihachi's wife had a child. [Yeihachi was a friend of Hiroshige.]
Nov. 18th: Fine weather. The signboard for theatre was finished with colouring. There was a great feast in evening.
Nov. 19th: Fine weather. In morning finished all painting work. Wrote bill for the curtain. In afternoon had the parting feast with all our circle of friends. After the baggage was sent out from Narumiya's and the Yorozuya [inn] in the evening sake was drunk till late night.
Nov. 20th: Cloudy, snowed little. Left Iseya at about 7 A.M., accompanied Matsumi but parted on outskirts of Kofu, hurried on alone and at evening at 6 reached Kamihanasaki where stopped for night. This lodging was very good. A man from Shinano was companion for the night.
Nov. 21st: Fine weather. Started about same hour as yesterday. Passed Inume and Shigaraki and rested. Sake and soup was poor. At Uyenohara took rest again, and took lunch. At Yose stopped for night at the Inariya Inn. Had to sleep with two other people as aiyado. One was an actor, Tsujiya Hyosuke. Heard the story of Ozawa who attempted a great crime at Uenohara.
Nov. 22nd: Fine weather. Left Yose in morning at 8 o'clock with company of one aiyado of the night before. Took rest several times, drinking sake each time but all were bad. By dusk stopped at Matsumotoya front of Myojin Shrine of Fuchu. Sake was very bad.
[He may had reached Yedo next day as the diary end here.]
[Author's note: - From November 13th to end, the original fragment is in the collection of Dr. J. Hutchinson, F.R.C.S., who kindly placed it at my disposal. The diary as printed has been collated with Mr. Kojima's version. The titles of the sketches in the volume are printed in Chapter XII.]
The second diary is a brief record of a visit to the neighbourhood of the Kano mountain, still a favourite locality for excursions from Tokyo in the springtime, and famous for its flowers and sea-views. Hiroshige went by boat to Kisarazu - steamers run daily at the present time - and made that a centre for several walks, in the course of which he saw two festivals and visited several shrines. This was purely a pleasure trip, for there is no mention of business and he does not even record the making of sketches or poems; but his reference to the hospitality of Mr. Tsumekura Yahei and the fact that he was pleased that his host's people were not a bit infected by city style, throws a kindly and illuminating light on the artist's own character. The diary is dated in the Japanese calendar equivalent of March, 1844; and, at this point, though again there is no reference in his notes to the making of colour-prints, we get a definite connexion with this part of his business. The collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum contains a view of Kisarazu, a lateral print (oban yokoye) showing two sailing-boats at anchor in the bay, with traffic in small boats between them and the shore. This print is in Hiroshige's middle style, later than that of the Tokaido, but earlier than that of the last ten years of his life; and we can consequently identify the date which it bears, Horse Year, 9th month, definitely as 1846. For the rest, we have the usual reference to his food and drink and a great spree, with criticism favourable and otherwise of his lodgings. On an evening of great drink he got into bad trouble by stepping into a stream by mistake; and, later, had a good passage home.
HIROSHIGE'S DIARY OF VISIT TO KANO MOUNTAIN
Diary, Tempo 15, Year of Dragon, late of March (1844).
March 23: In evening left Yedo-bashi by boat. Having no wind, boat was slow. About noon of next day reached Kisarazu.
March 24: Fine weather and mild. Unexpectedly met with Mr. Uhachi who is dealer in daily necessities. Took rest at house of Mr. Koizumi where I had my lunch. Went on Tsukuma road, looking toward the sea. On the left, the view was fine. Late after-noon arrived at house of Mr. Hayamatsu Seiyemon. In the evening Mr. Shobei came. Had sake feast. From the mid-night the rainstorm raged.
March 25: Rain; the storm kept on whole day. Very tiresome.
March 26: Good weather. Cloudy in after-noon. At house of Mr. Nizayemon was treated with wheat-meal, vegetable soup. In afternoon letter arrived from Yedo.
March 27: Good weather. Started in early morning to Kanosan. Mr. Shobei, Yukichi and some others, four in all, were accompanying. Reached there in early after-noon and made for lodging. Went to see festival of Mino-o Tenno. The lodging house was crowded, not having enough beddings, two had to sleep in one bedside aiyado. Accompanied with two men of Tomitsu of Boshu. Sake feast and made a great spree.
March 28: Good weather. Went to see the shrine festival of Shiratori, where a great throng of shops and people. In returning passed Minami-Koyasu village in which was a mysterious pond called Tsurigane-buchi (haunted pool of sunken bell). Took lunch at teahouse Futakumiya of Kisarazu. The cooking of this house was in bit of Yedo style. Came back to Kutsuma village at nightfall.
March 29: Good weather. Visited the Shrine of Sakato Daimyojin of Sakato Ichiba. The view from here was fine. In this mountain there is another noted shrine Togakushi Daimyojin. At house of Mr. Ishiari Jinzayemon received some hospitality. The house was grand in architecture. Then was invited to another house of Mr. Tsumekura Yahei and had more treat of hospitality. The people of this house were rustic as they could be, not a bit infected by city style, was very pleasing. With companion of Mr. Yukichi got back to Kutsuma in evening; on the way got into bad trouble by stepping into a stream by mistake. This was an evening of great drink.
April 1: Fine weather. In early morning left Kutsuma village. Took lunch with Koizumi. From Kisarazu the wind was favourable, making good speed and by dusk reached to Minatomachi of Teppozu. (Yedo.)
The third brief diary begins with another voyage from Yedo to Kisarazu, where again he was afflicted with bad weather. However, he pushes on and after four days arrives at the place of his desire, the Tanjoji Temple of Kominato, where he is joined by one of his friends, Mr. Shobei, whom he met at Kisarazu on his former journey. The Tanjoji Temple is a famous place of pilgrimage for Buddhists of the Hokke sect, having been first established in 1286 in memory of the Saint, Nichiren, who is said to have been born here; but at the time of Hiroshige's visit, in 1852, it must have been almost new, as it was rebuilt in 1846. In this diary he sets forth his admiration of the splendid scenery; notes several of the treasures in one of the temples, some of them in very queer style; and paints some kakemono - the hanging pictures in the form affected mainly by painters of the recognized schools. This is of some interest, if, as one Japanese authority states, it was only in his later years that Hiroshige painted on established lines. Again he expresses his pleasure at the simple and tasteful manner of the country-folk. Several times he took to horse to traverse the bad roads, missed his boat at Tenjinsan, was badly advised, with the same result at Kisarazu and was consequently not in the mood of enjoying the cherry-blossoms!
HIROSHIGE'S DIARY OF PILGRIMAGE TO TANJOJI
(The Buddhist temple of Saint Nichiren's birthplace).
(There is no title to this diary by him.)
Feb. 25th. Kayei 5, the Year of Rat (1852). In evening left Yedo-bashi by boat, and at Yeitaibashi halted waiting for the wind. Early in morning, West-North wind blew and started, but soon the wind ceased. The boat was slow and weather changed bringing a little of rain, causing some disturbance among boatmen. But soon the rain had stopped and wind began to blow, and by late after-noon safely reached to Kisarazu. Rain began to fall again. Took lunch and started for Kanosan to where arrived at dusk. A man of Nukariya village of Boshu by name of Kanzayemon and his daughter were room mates. Next day was rainy; after waiting a while, started. Road was very bad, from place called Seki on the hilly road was particularly hard. At Kozuka took lunch. Just before reaching to Dainichi parted with Kanzayemon, and became alone. At Dainichijiku took horse, and in early afternoon reached to house of Hidaka.
Feb. 28th: Fine weather. Took a day of rest.
Feb. 29th: Visited Tanjoji of Kominato. Hidaka Sobei accompanied. Along the road every places were beautiful view. By the descending road of Shinsaka was a small temple called Asahino-mido [The Temple of Rising Sun] where Saint Nichiren is said to have prayed to the rising sun. The view of the sea with hills and islands were simply superb. (Of this view and about cherry-tree at front of Tanjoji temple he gives a poem each.)
March 1st: Visited Kiyozumi temple. Was quite high and engaged a guide; view was fine, ascended about 1 ri. The front of the gate of the temple is slanting road along which were many restaurants, all of them being rather stylish unusual for such a locality. Within the temple ground were good many cherry trees and all in full bloom. Had a good view of Konpirasan. Here I smoked and rested. At tea house called Masuya took lunch. In the opposite tea house there was a big party of people including some official of locality, much in display. In the main temple there were many ema (paintings of votive offering), among them were very old ones of warriors, of Tenjin and Kurumabiki, some of them in very queer style. The houses in this street were mostly making interior fittings. The peasant girls were carrying things on their heads down the hill for purpose of peddling. The custom of old and young seemed quite simple and tasteful. In afternoon returned to Hamaogi. In the evening rice was pounded to make mochi mixed with millet and offer to the doll's festival.
March 2nd: Did not feel well in morning. Postponed to start. Painted three rolls for kakemono.
March 3rd: Rainy. From the relative of the house a bottle of sake was gifted. Had feast. Painted a little. In evening Tokogen the barber came and had feast.
March 4th: About noon started on horseback. Went on passing Mayebara, Isomura, Namita, Termen, Bentenjima, Shima-no-Nizayemon, Shodayuzaki, Yemi, Wada - all being along the coast, rocks were plenty; by beach the view exquisite, beyond capability of describing with brush. At Wada left horse and at Matsuda-Yeki lodged at Aburaya, was aiyado that night (here he gives two hokku - short poems).
March 5th: During morning did some painting. Then by horse went to Nako and leaving horse there visited Kwanzeon. The view at top of the hill was fine. From there lost the way and wandered for one ri. Then hired horse again. The view at Kinonezaka Pass was fine. Lunched and rested at Ichibuno-shiku, and continued on the horse. The view of Katsuyama was fine, visited temple Rakwanji at Hoda, made lodge for night at Kanaya. Had to share room with six men from Boshu. The rain kept off till morning.
March 6th: Started without any raincoat. At Tenjinzan no boat could be had, so hurried on to Kisarazu but by question of one second missed boat. Lunched at Isekyu and lodge at Nagasugaya.
March 7th: Half-cloudy. Painted a little. Was persuaded not to go aboard on account of the wind not favourable. Seeing four boats sailing out regretted of not going on. Went to see the cherry blossoms at Yakushido but was not in the mood of enjoying. (Here he give one each of uta (poem) and hokku, in former expressing his feeling of the occasion.)
There is no description of the 8th. Probably he had sailed on the 8th and safely returned to Yedo.
Mr. Kojima's note. - The above diaries were copied from the copied manuscript biographies of Ukiyoye Utagawa Artists (owned by the library attached to Imperial University Library), and except very slight change of kana it is exactly like that of original. Hiroshige's own diary, I was told to be in possession of the Imperial University Library. (This library was completely destroyed with its contents at the fire. - K. M.)
If these fragments throw but little light on Hiroshige's practice of the art by which he is best known, they are not devoid of compensation to the student. For they are singularly human documents. One of the most acute and best-informed of Japanese critics, from both Eastern and Western points of view, Mr. Yone Noguchi, in an essay published ten years ago, asked, Where is the other artist, East or West, whose life-story is so little known as Hiroshige's ? In the light of these revelations, the answer must be that there are many such. We can read the man's character very plainly from these casual but intimate jottings; and the present writer sees therein much that is reflected in his work. He presents himself as a friendly, sociable soul, fond of good company and good food and drink and apt to resent failure in these important matters. His outlook on life is simple and direct; his appreciation of the beauties of Nature inexhaustible, and not without the humility of an artist who knows his limitations (the view exquisite, beyond capability of describing with brush). When work is to be done, it is put through without delay; and when on the road, he lost no time. He has a keen instinct for a story; and, at appropriate moments, one of those little poems in which his class indulged, is easily forthcoming. His tastes and accomplishments are those of the social order to which he belonged; and, if occasion had arisen, we can well imagine him describing himself, not without pride, in the words of his great contemporary, who claimed the title Hokusai, Peasant. This must not be forgotten. Hiroshige was an artisan; and his high achievement, the influence of which has been and still is potent among artists of every degree throughout the sphere of Western civilization, was, in the first place, a message to his own people, of his own degree, unknown to and unaided by aristocratic patronage of any kind whatsoever.