Hikifuda Gallery

"Hikifuda" is an advertisement handbill (flyer). This kind of advertisement began the late Edo period and spreaded in Meiji era (1868-1912).
Shop owners distributed flyers in order to draw the attention of the customers. Most of these flyers shown below are just templates. Print houses sold these to business owners. Then the business owners made them print its business details such as shop name, address and goods they sell/produce on the blank space of the template they liked.
In Meiji era, the motif of Bunmei-kaika (Cultural enlightenment. i.e. Westernization) such as train, telephone, western clothes etc. was preferred along with traditional heroes and gods and goddesses.
Most of Hikifuda were lithographed. Some were wood-block prints.
These are interesting but look a little funny even for Japanese people of today.

Click a image to enlarge.