Some are quite subtle, such as a shawl over a kimono or a woman holding an umbrella.
While others are less so . . .
The drawings are captioned in English, indicating that this series was probably marketed towards Westerners. Ukiyo-e, which means “pictures of the floating world,” was a style of art typically associated with colored woodblock prints. Because these prints were cheap to produce in large numbers, they were considered affordable art for the lower and middle class. By the early 1900s, ukiyo-e art had decreased in popularity in Japan, unable to compete with photography and changing tastes in art. In contrast, ukiyo-e art was in high demand in the West and greatly influenced the Impressionist and Art Nouveau movements in Europe.
Make sure to check out the other drawings from this series. Incidentally, Mitsui still exists and is the largest corporate conglomerate in Japan. Not bad for a company whose history stretches back to the 1600s. These styles are probably out-of-stock by now, but who knows, that dress may still be available for the little boy in your life!
Lorain Wang, National Anthropological Archives