During the eighteenth century, Edo (today's Tokyo) became the world's largest city, quickly surpassing London and Paris. Its rapidly expanding population and flourishing economy encouraged the development of a thriving popular culture.
The Tales of the Heike focuses on the lives of both the samurai warriors who fought for two powerful twelfth-century Japanese clans-the Heike (Taira) and the Genji (Minamoto)-and the women with whom they were intimately connected.
The war tales are one of the most important sources of knowledge about Japan's premodern warriors, revealing much about the medieval psyche and the evolving perceptions of warriors, warfare, and warrior customs.
A masterpiece of eighteenth-century Japanese puppet theater, Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees is an action-packed play set in the aftermath of the twelfth-century Genji-Heike wars. It follows the adventures of the military commander, Yoshitsune, as he tries to avoid capture by his jealous older brother and loyal henchmen.
Introductory note.--Madame Yukio Ozaki [by Mrs. Hugh Fraser]--Hachiro Tametomo, the archer.--Gen. Sanmi Yorimasa, the knight.--The story of Yoshitsune.--The story of Benkei.--The goblin of Oyeyama.--Kidomaru the robber, Raiko the Bravek, and the goblin spider.--The story of the pots of plum, cherry, and pine.--Shiragiku, or White Chrysanthemum.--The princess of the bowl.--The story of lazy Taro
Hiroshige's “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,” actually composed of 118 splendid woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art. The series, reproduced online in its entirety, contains many of Hiroshige's best loved and most extraordinary prints. The site contains essays on Hiroshige and his life and "How to Read a Japanese Woodblock Print". Prints can be browsed by season or by keywords that describe the scene.
Printing Landmarks tells the story of the late Tokugawa period's most distinctive form of popular geography: meisho zue. Beginning with the publication of Miyako meisho zue in 1780, these monumental books deployed lovingly detailed illustrations and informative prose to showcase famous places (meisho) in ways that transcended the limited scope, quality, and reliability of earlier guidebooks and gazetteers.
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), an unchallenged master of ukiyo-e , the Floating World, active between the late 1700s and the first-half of the 1800s, stands out on the art scene not only for his Great Wave and the series Thirty-six V iews of Mount Fuji of which the print is a part, but also his great versatility expressed in his treatment of all types of subjects: from landscapes to nature, kabuki actor portraits, beautiful women, warriors and even ghosts and spirits, semi-legendary beings and animals.