looking at it from the other direction....
does it make any difference when you read this?: "Mitsukoshi Gonomi; Miyako no Nishiki" (Brocades of the Capital). "The Seasons and Their Fashions,No.8: Autumn. "A Walk to a Country-cottage". This series of 12 designs was commissioned by Mitsui Clothing Store. The Mitsui group (It has two well-known subsidiaries today. Mitsukoshi department store and Mitsui-Sumitomo Bank) was originated from the large dry goods store, Echigoya founded in 1673. It changed its name to "Mitsui Gofuku" in 1893. In order to promote its new image, they commissioned this delightful 12 family portraits to Toshikata. Mitsui Clothing Store changed its name again to "Mitsukoshi" in 1904. They made another edition, this time under the name "Mitsukoshi". The edition by "Mitsukoshi" was featured in the reference book of the Muller Collection.1
it's not an original question, i know, but i'll ask it anyway-- is art made for hire by a department store or bicycle manufacturer, less art than what's made for a samurai or king, or from one's heart?
the whole series is here.
i just realized what the question also is: do the japonese see these woodblock prints differently, knowing they were commissioned for trade?