This lively scene captures a gathering of stock figures from Otsu-e, or "Otsu paintings." Otsu-e were folk paintings made as souvenirs for travelers passing through the station of Otsu along the Tokaido, the route stretching from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to Kyoto. Parodies of standard ukiyo-e compositions featuring Otsu-e subjects were popular in woodblock prints of the 19th century. Shibata Zeshin, an artist whose career spanned the transition from the Edo period (1615â€“1868) to the Meiji period (1868â€“1912), was fond of depicting urban culture and the pastimes of commoners, aware that they were slipping away in the face of Japanâ€™s modernization. This composition would have appealed to the witty sensibilities of city denizens.