Goyu: Waitresses Soliciting Travelers


Utagawa Hiroshige ( Japanese, 1797 - 1858 )

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General Description

In this scene, waitresses from the inn at right are physically dragging customers from the road. Women were readily available at each station to serve, entertain, or otherwise accommodate the needs of weary travelers. Prostitutes around Yoshida, Goyu, and Akasaka were especially well-known.

The diminishing treatment of receding forms in this print shows the influence of European engravings, which had infiltrated Japan through the Dutch trading post at Nagasaki. The European technique of linear perspective intrigued several ukiyoe artists, who had traditionally used isometric perspective, in which receding parallels remain parallel on the picture plane.

Adapted from

Anna McFarland, Ichiryusai Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stages of the Tokaido, Label text, 1986.