50  Minakuchi "Kampyo, a Local Specialty"

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Minakuchi is a castle town with its lords' fief estimated at 25,000 koku (one koku equals 5.12 bushels) of rice a year. Minakuchi Castle is a famous medieval fortress built by Kobori Enshu (1579-1647), who had a reputation as a tea master and man of letters. Hiroshige depicts the making of kampyo (dried gourd shavings), a local specialty. The print shows a woman peeling a bottle gourd in the shade of a tree, another woman busy drying strips of gourd and a little girl with a baby on her back assisting in the work. The midsummer heat and languor can be sensed in the figure of an express courier passing by, half-naked, under a blazing sun.