Kunichika (1835 - 1900 )

Kunichika Toyohara was born Yasohachi Arakawa, the son of a public bathhouse proprietor in the artisan section of Edo. As a young man, he studied with the ukiyo-e artist Chikanobu, from whom he received his artist name. He then apprenticed under Kunisada and began to produce actor prints in the Utagawa style, though he never used the Utagawa name. Kunichika married and had one daughter, though his marriage ended due to his questionable personal conduct.

 

Known for his actor okubi-e (big-head portraits), Kunichika's prints captured a traditional genre with the bold new colors of aniline dyes. He made great use of the deep, scarlet red to dramatic effect. In addition, he produced some historical prints and journalistic illustrations. Passionate about kabuki theater, Kunichika regularly spent time backstage, sketching the actors and watching the plays. This wealth of personal experience in the theater lends an intimacy to his impeccable yakusha-e (actor prints). Before the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Kunichika Toyohara was chosen by the Japanese government to present his work at the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris.

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Ichikawa Danjuro as Kumagai Naozane and Ichikawa Yonezo as Taira no Atsumori

Kunichika

Ichikawa Danjuro as Kumagai Naozane and Ichikawa Yonezo as Taira no Atsumori

JPR1-19978

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Kabuki Actors Nakamura Sojuro as Akoya, Nakamura Shikan IV as Kagekiyo, and Nakamura Sagisuke

Kunichika

Kabuki Actors Nakamura Sojuro as Akoya, Nakamura Shikan IV as Kagekiyo, and Nakamura Sagisuke

JPR-209470

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The Wife of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Kunichika

The Wife of Tokugawa Ieyasu

JP110075

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Sawamura Tanosuke III as Stepdaughter Kakezara

Kunichika

Sawamura Tanosuke III as Stepdaughter Kakezara

JPR-209139

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Sadanji I

Kunichika

Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Sadanji I

JPR-209083

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Kabuki Play Toyama-jo Yukige no Kiyomizu

Kunichika

Kabuki Play Toyama-jo Yukige no Kiyomizu

JPR-209053

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Ichikawa Danjuro

Kunichika

Ichikawa Danjuro

JPR1-57668

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Kyogen: Actors Onoe Matsusuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, and Onoe Kikugoro

Kunichika

Kyogen: Actors Onoe Matsusuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, and Onoe Kikugoro

JP1-51190

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Kabuki Actors Ichikawa Sadanji and Ichikawa Danjuro

Kunichika

Kabuki Actors Ichikawa Sadanji and Ichikawa Danjuro

JP110824

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Celebration of the Opening

Kunichika

Celebration of the Opening

JP-110648

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Title Page: An Educational Account of Self-Made Men

Kunichika

Title Page: An Educational Account of Self-Made Men

JP-110762

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Komyo-kogo Washing One Thousand People

Kunichika

Komyo-kogo Washing One Thousand People

JPR1-71916

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro as Okubo Hikozaemon on His Way to the Castle

Kunichika

Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro as Okubo Hikozaemon on His Way to the Castle

JP-110650

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Kabuki Actor Nakamura Fukusuke as Nichiren Shonin and Nakamura Kakuzo as Tojo Saemon

Kunichika

Kabuki Actor Nakamura Fukusuke as Nichiren Shonin and Nakamura Kakuzo as Tojo Saemon

JPR1-62160

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Kabuki Actors Kataoka Gado, Nakamura Fukusuke and Ichikawa Danjuro

Kunichika

Kabuki Actors Kataoka Gado, Nakamura Fukusuke and Ichikawa Danjuro

JP-110644

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Restaurant at Ikenohata

Kunichika

Restaurant at Ikenohata

JPR-85316

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Battles of Saigo Takamori

Kunichika

Battles of Saigo Takamori

JP111611

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Kabuki Actor Bando Hikosaburo

Kunichika

Kabuki Actor Bando Hikosaburo

JP2642

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