A topography book from the mid-18th century, entitled “Echigo Nayose” (越後名寄), reads: «At whatever time at night, whatever place, on occasions when it becomes extraordinarily quiet, flames like paper lanterns or torches can be seen usually continuing far into the distance, stretching out in single file in an unbroken chain over two miles long. It is a rare sight anywhere, but it can be seen more often in the Kanbara district. This is what the young call “the wedding of foxes”» (夜何時何處共云う事なく折静かなる夜に、提灯或は炬の如くなる火凡一里余も無間続きて遠方に見ゆる事有り。右何所にても稀に雖有、蒲原郡中には折節有之。これを児童輩狐の婚と云ひならはせり).
The woodcut presented here, made in February 1863 by the artist Toyohara Kunichika (豊原国周), is a rare representation of the “Kitsune no Yomeiri” (狐の嫁入り), the “Wedding Procession of Foxes”, and portrays a courtesan from the Kinoeneya (甲子屋) restaurant who is witnessing the mysterious event from the bow of a pleasure boat moored on the banks of the Sumida River (隅田川), near the Masaki Inari (真崎稲荷) Shrine.
The print, taken from the series “A Master Text of Popular Songs” (葉うた虎之巻) and produced by the publisher Echizenya Kaju (越前屋嘉十) and by the carver Ota Komakichi (太田駒吉), despite some signs of aging including slight wrinkles and small imperfections on the margins, is in overall very good condition.