Hokusai at the car boot sale

I went along to a car boot sale in Bristol this morning and look what was waiting for me for the small price of £2:

Katsushika Hokusai - Tokaido Ejiri Tago-no-ura ryakuzu (東海道江尻田子の裏略ズ)

This ukiyo-e (浮世絵) print is ‘Tokaido Ejiri Tago-no-ura’ (東海道江尻田子の浦略図) by Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎). The name can be translated as ‘Shore of Tago Bay, Ejiri on the Tokaido’. This piece is number 18 from the series Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji (富嶽三十六景). The image references Ejiri-juku (江尻宿), which is the 18th of the 53 stations of the Tokaido. It is located in what is now part of Shimizu-ku in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Katsushika Hokusai - Tokaido Ejiri Tago-no-ura ryakuzu (東海道江尻田子の裏略ズ)

Of course, it’s just a framed print and probably worth nothing, but it was still a great find and looks lovely on my bedroom wall!

8 thoughts on “Hokusai at the car boot sale

  1. It has been claimed that some ukiyo-e prints were originally sold for as little as the price of a bowl of soba noodles, priced then at about 20 Mon.


    4000 Mon = 16 Shu = 4 Bu = 1 Ryo (which eventually = 1 Yen at the time that the Yen was adopted in 1871).


    A few years after Hokusai died, 1 US Dollar = 0.75 Ryo in 1858, by trade treaty agreement.

    Ignoring the fact that the Ryo coin was made using gold (abeit increasing adulterated over time by typically shifty “big government” – in a tradition set by the British King Henry VIII) – in 2012, the relative value of $1.00 USD from 1858 ranges from $21.60 to $3,870.00. This depends on the type of comparison – but for “buying things” it was equivalent to $28.80


    So 20 mon = 0.005 Ryo = $0.0067 USD (In 1858 ) = $0.19¢ today = 12p [Great British Pence]… Bargain!

    Japanese artists must have been as very badly paid during the edo period as they are today.

    Although the Ryo stopped being “legal tender” in 1871, it continues to be “illicitly” used in the canon world of Naruto, whatever that may be…



    • Thanks for your comments Dominic! Yes, I believe it’s true that ukiyo-e were sold so cheaply when they were first made. They were art for the common man. It’s strange to think how highly valued they are now.


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