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The work is called “Cats Suggested As The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō” and each one represents a station on the road that links Tokyo to Kyoto. Kuniyoshi shows the stations through cat puns. For example the forty-first station of the Tōkaidō is called Miya. This name sounds somewhat like the Japanese word oya (親) which means ‘parent’. For this reason the station is depicted as two kittens with their mother.
Another example is the fifty-first station. This stop is called Ishibe and its name sounds similar to the Japanese word miji-me (ミじめ) meaning ‘miserable’. To illustrate this Kuniyoshi drew the town as a miserable looking cat (below). Its body looks frail, its hair is coarse and it yelps out a wretched purr. ???
Source (this article is amazing!): Illustration Chronicles
*I added the polka dots background 🙂