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48. Suidō Bridge and Surugadai (Suidobashi Surugadai) (5th Month, 1857)

Without the three immense carp banners, this view would have been a classic depiction of samurai Edo, looking southwest over the densest single concentration of samurai households in the city, from Surugadai on the left through Banchō in the distance. The banners and streamers indicate that the time is the Boy's Festival, the fifth day of the Fifth Month. The three carp are standards used by commoners in imitation of the military streamers, which they were prohibited from flying. The banners drew on a Chinese legend of a fish so strong that it could leap a waterfall—an image considered appropriate for young boys. This view thus seems to depict witty merchant-class mimicry of the samurai version of the Boy's Festival.

 

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Taken on December 29, 2005