大島 波浮之港

Habu Port in Oshima 大島 波浮之港

Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水/画

Three small boats are moored in the quiet waves at this port. Beyond them, on the other side of the water, we see a group of traditional Japanese houses in a richly green setting. This scene is Habu Port on the island of Izu Oshima as depicted by the print artist Kawase Hasui. Habu Port opened in the latter half of the Edo period when excavations were carried out to develop a harbor in what had been a volcanic crater lake whose sides had partially collapsed during an earthquake, opening it to the sea. Surrounded by tall bluffs, the port is protected from the high seas. Thanks to the gentle waves that lap within it, Habu had long prospered as a port where boats could await better weather, to capture favorable winds. Then, in 1928, the port suddenly achieved nationwide fame when a record of a song entitled “Port of Habu,” with lyrics by Noguchi Ujo and melody by Nakayama Shimpei, was released. The song, which became a huge hit, describes the simplicity and loneliness of life on the island. Thanks to its popularity, when a liner began sailing daily on a regular route between Tokyo and Oshima the next year, it attracted a great number of visitors to the island, to see the place where the song was set. In 1931, the liner carried 80,000 passengers; by 1934, that number had surged to 210,000. As the island turned into a tourist destination during that boom, it added tourist attractions. Camels and donkeys for riding on the desert areas of Mount Mihara were introduced, for example, together with a giant slide. According to his journal, Kawase Hasui visited Oshima on June 28, 1936. What material he collected there is unknown; the only print he produced of the island is this quiet, unassuming scene of Habu Port. What feelings might he have experienced as he depicted the changeless beauty of the port amidst the rapidly changing lifestyles on the island?
Collection of
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Habu Port in Oshima
Collection ID
Kawase Hasui
Creation Date
1937 20世紀 
38.6cm x 26.1cm
Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives

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