History and culture of the area surrounding the Sumida River
January 5, Tuesday - March 21, Monday, 2016
On April 25, 2015, the Tobacco & Salt Museum reopened at its new location in Yokokawa, Sumida Ward, near Sumidagawa River in Tokyo (having moved from its previous location in Shibuya Ward). This new location is in an area that is important and special in the history of the Japanese tobacco industry. After the 1904 tobacco monopoly was introduced, a tobacco production factory was constructed in this area that gradually grew—over the course of various slight address and name changes—to become what is today the JT Manufacturing Technology Center. The area is also a great place to learn the history of salt in life from the Edo period through to the present, as the nearby Onagigawa Waterway was originally dug out for the purpose of carrying salt from the Gyotoku region to the areas around Edo Castle, by connecting the former Nakagawa River and Sumidagawa River.
This exhibit will focus on life, culture, and industry along the Sumidagawa River, primarily in the Honjo and Mukojima areas where the museum is located. We will look back on how sources like woodblock books and ukiyo-e woodblock prints show that the Sumidagawa River was a famous and popular location in the Edo period, carrying goods and resources as well as hosting leisure activities like boating and fireworks. There are also photographs and other sources available that show how the water of the river and water transportation continue to have a relationship with modern industry, covering topics such as matches, soap, and tobacco.
In addition to looking at changes in the area around the Sumidagawa River over time, this exhibit will also touch on the little-known relationship between tobacco, salt, and the river.
Finally, I’d like to express my cordial thanks for the cooperation and support of all parties involved in the opening of this exhibit.
Eight Scenes form Edo Geese Flying-Down at Sumida-River