Three Kinds of Drunks in the Modern World (1853)
The drink that the three figures in this triptych are partaking of is sake, an alcoholic beverage fermented from rice. Sake is interesting in that it shares many of the characteristics of wine, but has a brewing process resembling that of beer. The way the triptych is broken up makes it difficult to tell, but the figures are drinking sake that has been heated over a fire; a sake bottle has been placed in a pot of water hanging over the fire, and one can see sake bottles and serving cups on the ground. As the fire heats the water, it will also heat the sake. This has historically been a popular way of serving sake, though it can also be consumed chilled or at room temperature.
The "modern world" of these three figures can be reasonably presumed to be the year this triptych was created: 1853. As we learned in the introduction, this was the year Commodore Perry demanded an end to sakoku. Unlike past attempts by foreign governments, Perry's threats of force worked, and Japan signed a treaty with the United States the following year that led to a gradual opening of Japan through the rest of the decade.
As trade from European powers began to flow into Japan, the economic and cultural effects took their toll on the Tokugawa Shogunate, creating divisions on how to manage and react to the new reality.