Phyl G

Phyl G

Posted on 07/20/2013


Photo taken on February  6, 2010


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Japan
Toronto
ROM
Royal Ontario Museum
Japanese Art


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Battle Between Those Who Lost Their Jobs and Those Who Profit Because of the Quake

Battle Between Those Who Lost Their Jobs and Those Who Profit Because of the Quake
After a huge, destructive earthquake in Tokyo (then Edo) in 1855, these woodblock "earthquake prints" began being produced. The Japanese people believed a giant catfish living underground caused the earthquake when it moved.

This particular set uses the warrior on the left to represent those who lost in the quake: merchants, pawn shops, geisha, ferrymen, etc. (The armour consists of account books, the geisha are represented by fans, and the oar represents the ferrymen.)

The warrior on the right stands for those who profited from the quake; carpenters & other tradespeople (represented by the tools the warrior carries), and builders and restaurant owners (represented by the advertisements on his armour).

The war god Kashima Daimyojin watches the battle, sitting on a catfish.

Two months after the prints started appearing, the government banned them, calling them seditious. There are about 300 known designs.

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