Morikawacho-Dori, Hongo, Tokio, 1909

1900sCommerceNeighborhoods (Misc)
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The Hongo neighborhood in the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo is bounded to the east by Ueno Park and, to the south, by the Kanda Canal. Tokyo Imperial University was chartered there in 1877 on estate land appropriated from the Tokugawa Era daimyo, Maeda.

The handwritten note from ‘Amari’ draws attention to the patrol policeman (peturo-porisu) being ferried about by jinrikisha, and to the “salary man” (sarerii-man) wearing a tweed suit and fedora at lower-left. (I had always thought “salary man” was a post-war invention, so was surprised to see the term in use, here, a half-century earlier. Thanks to Helen Delaney for locating that!)

Telephone poles and electrical power lines are evidence of Modernization. Without those, and minus the Western accoutrement, the same scene could very well have been played out at the Restoration 40+ years earlier, after the defeat of the last Tokugawa loyalists, the elite Shogitai, at nearby Ueno Hill.

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