Dublin Core




This color woodblock print features a vertical composition of a series of city structures set against a canal. The canal fills the bottom third of the composition and then curves up into the cityscape from the right side into center middleground. It appears to be a rainy but luminous day. In the foreground, reflections shimmer in blues and greys on the surface of the waterway. One and two story buildings stand close to the narrow street above the canal’s water level. Groups of small empty wooden boats are docked in the water up against the canal walls. The two buildings on the left side of the composition have hip roofs covered with narrow planks laid perpendicular to the ridge and the exterior walls are covered with long wide planks arranged vertically or horizontally in alternating sections. The building in the front left has a large window or screen facing the viewer that is divided into many small sections, set back under a porch. Small shed-gabled extensions jut from the wall to the right of the window. A taller building is seen on on the left, located behind the building with the large window. It has a narrow deck on the second story and a pent roof all the way around protecting the building’s openings. In front of the two buildings, two figures holding umbrellas face each other - one in white robes with a black umbrella, the other in black robes with a bright blue umbrella. A third figure in black with a pale pink umbrella is crossing the bridge over the canal from the right. Behind the bridge, in the right middle-ground of the composition, the buildings are a hodge-podge of one and two storied buildings, planked or plain sided, with openings and shed gables of various shapes and sizes and hipped or gabled roofs. In the background, the silhouette of a building rises through a heavy layer of atmosphere and low hanging clouds float in a darker grey sky.

Hasui Kawasai (1883-1957) was a prolific Japanese artist and distinguished print designer of the shin-hanga movement. In his youth, he dreamed of being an artist however his family had other plans. He worked for the family’s wholesale rope and thread business until its bankruptcy when he was 26. He was then free to pursue art. First, he studied Western style painting with Okada Saburōsuke, and two years later with Kiyokata Kaburagi with whom he studied ukiyo-e print design and Japanese style painting. After his studies, Kawase worked closely with the publisher Shōzaburō Watanabe, a shin-hanga advocate, producing more than 600 prints. Kawase was known for his travel, city scene and landscape compositions. Although he is most famous for his woodblock print designs, he also produced many watercolors, oil paintings and hanging scrolls. Many of his landscape print designs are based on his watercolors. Kawase was named a Living National Treasure in Japan in 1956.



St. Catherines University Library and Archives




St. Catherine University


This image may not be reproduced for any reason without the express written consent of the St. Catherine University. Contact the Visual Resources Library regarding rights to this collection. 651-690-6639




Print, Woodcut





Kawase, Hasui , “Shinagawa,” Digital Collections From St Kate's, accessed May 25, 2024,

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