Given their visual form, I am uncertain about two kana (the 5th and 6th characters) in a late C19th cartouche. It names an artist's address: Asakusa-ku [... ...]suji chō gojūhachi banchi / gakō / Nishimura Tōtarō. The characters appear to be 浅クサ区[... ...]スジ丁五十八バンチ 画工 西村藤太郎, i.e., if I'm correct... “Asakusa ward [... ...], house number 58: Painter/Artist: Nishimura Tōtarō.”

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The second character 'ku' in Asakusa is consistent with the 'ku' from a kana chart found in Engelbert Kaempfer's "The History of Japan," written 1690-92, first published in London, 1727. See scans from the book below... it's interesting how the katakana were historically written, especially the 'ta' and 'ku'... and the 'ne'... and the hiragana 'to'. I can't find any good online references that show a spectrum of katakana forms in 'gyōsho', assuming you can apply that term to katakana. There is a kuzushikana.pdf file for hiragana at http://naruhodo.weebly.com/blog/introduction-to-kuzushiji, but I can't find anything comparable for variations in katakana.

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2 Answers 2


The character immediately below 「浅クサ区」 is not a kana. It is the 崩{くず}し字{じ} ("cursive style") for the kanji 「北」.

Thus, the name of the section is 「北ミスジ丁」(北三筋丁in kanji).


  • Thanks for the response. Would not have guessed 北, kita, in a thousand years, and ミ, mi, was not at all obvious, even though in hindsight—and with the Kaempfer reference I had included—it should have been easier to pick. I guess the more exposure, the easier this deciphering will become.
    – musha
    Aug 5, 2018 at 1:10

Per l'électeur's response above, 北ミ:

北, kita

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and ミ, mi

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三, mi

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