One hundred famous views of Tokyo

Inspired by Hiroshige Utagawa’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Tokyo Hyaku is a project that aims to rehearse, 160 years later, Hiroshige’s work using photography as a modern form of representation and contemporary cultural signs and city’s landmarks to guide the viewer through a journey in the modern city of Tokyo.

Seasons of the year
Years of work

Hiroshige Utagawa

One hundred views of Edo is a powerful atlas to explore contemporary Tokyo.

From verdant panoramas to decadent pleasure quarters, Hiroshige Utagawa’s final masterpiece, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, is a woodblock journey through 19th-century Tokyo and a jewel in the ukiyo-e tradition. 

Narrating the city through its spaces and seasons for a sublime description of 1860s Edo’s physical and cultural state of art, Hiroshige’s work soon discovered a great success in terms of public and became an inspiration source for local and European artists. One Hundred Famous Views of Edo‘s structure still represents a powerful tool to build a rich visual atlas of the contemporary city. 

Seasons and weather

Showing the changing beauty of Tokyo throughout 4 seasons of the year.

The original image set is organised following the prevailing convention of Spring (1-42), Summer (43–72), Autumn (73-98), and Winter (99-119). This number includes all the designs created by Hiroshige as well as those designed by his son-in-law and protégé Hiroshige II. The photographic images of Tokyo Hyaku have be taken in correspondent seasons, moment of the day and in search of similar weather conditions of the Hiroshige’s ones.

Film photography

The last expression of a form of representation.

Literally meaning “pictures of the floating world,” ukiyo-e refers to the famous Japanese woodblock print genre that originated in the 17th century and is practically synonymous with the Western world’s visual characterisation of Japan. 

This was probably one of the latest, greatest, collection of woodblock prints before the diffusion of photography as a modern form of representation of the cityscapes. In the same way, film photography is nowadays being replaced by digital image capturing making Tokyo Hyaku one of the last attempts to produce such a vast exploration.

By technical analogy, film photography carries the same blank space framing the pictures coming form the process of developing the negative image.

Modern topics

Old and new traditions connecting Edo to Tokyo.

Any of the 119 original tables have detailed insights on 1860’s Edo. All views are intended to embody multiple symbols, linked to specific meanings, while keeping a technical coherence making the work very harmonious. Elaborate study on the originals allowed to decode aims of each images in order to extrapolate key elements leading to the creation of these contemporary views. Tokyo Hyaku images are narrating the city throughout its daily life, common working activities and seasonal celebrations in the same way and preserving the same style originally used by Hiroshige.

Original composition

Adopting a surprisingly modern style.

In the original work, Hiroshige depicted city life, entertainment, beautiful women, kabuki actors, and landscapes. The influence of ukiyo-e in Europe and the United States, often referred to as Japonisme, can be seen in everything from impressionist painting to today’s manga and anime illustration. Tokyo Hyaku‘s images follow original composition hints about perspective and colours offering the charm of Hiroshige’s vision.  Tokyo Hyaku invites the viewer to enjoy a journey through the city of “Edo&Tokyo” that attracts people transcending the times.