Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861 )

The son of silk dyer, Kuniyoshi Utagawa was born into the Igusa family in Edo. Little is known about his very early years, though he is said to have shown remarkable talent from a young age. Kuniyoshi began his ukiyo-e career as a pupil of Shunei. At age 14 he was accepted to study the art of woodblock printing under Toyokuni I and, in time, would become one of his most successful students. In 1814, he left Toyokuni’s studio to pursue a career as an independent ukiyo-e artist. Initially, he had little success, selling tatami mats in order to support himself. However, his fortunes changed in 1827 with his dramatic series 108 Heroes of the Suikoden. From that point forward, the public hungered for his portrayals of famous samurai and legendary heroes. Kuniyoshi worked across all genres, producing some brilliant landscapes and charming bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women). He died in the spring of 1861 from complications of a stroke.

 

In direct contrast to the peaceful views of a scenic Japan provided by Hiroshige and Hokusai, the following decades saw a rise of the fierce, fearsome and fantastical in ukiyo-e. Kuniyoshi welcomed this changing public taste. He had a ravenous imagination and the full scope of his work reveals an aesthetic sensibility capable of capturing almost any experience. No doubt, however, his particular genius felt most at home in the world of martial glory, where epic battles decided the fate of empires and fierce warriors clashed to the death. Kuniyoshi's prints were so popular in his time that he received requests for tattoo designs.

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Omi and Suruga

Kuniyoshi

Omi and Suruga

JP5417

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Sangokuken

Kuniyoshi

Sangokuken

JPR-77790

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Love Beside a Shi Shi Dragon

Kuniyoshi

Love Beside a Shi Shi Dragon

JP3637

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Iwasa Matabei in Tosa and Akamatsu Totamaru in Chikuzen

Kuniyoshi

Iwasa Matabei in Tosa and Akamatsu Totamaru in Chikuzen

JPR1-55465

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Wakamurasaki from the Tale of Genji

Kuniyoshi

Wakamurasaki from the Tale of Genji

JPR5585

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Poem by Lady Sagami: Okiku and Kyogoku Takumi

Kuniyoshi

Poem by Lady Sagami: Okiku and Kyogoku Takumi

JPR-92273

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Mutsuki: Large Daruma Kite in the New Year

Kuniyoshi

Mutsuki: Large Daruma Kite in the New Year

JPR-92268

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Maneko in Iki and Tairano Tomomori in Tsushima

Kuniyoshi

Maneko in Iki and Tairano Tomomori in Tsushima

JPR1-55484

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Sakata no KIntoki

Kuniyoshi

Sakata no KIntoki

JPR-104010

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Yoshida Chuzaemon Kanesuke

Kuniyoshi

Yoshida Chuzaemon Kanesuke

JP1-23719

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Ishiyama Temple: Adoring Lovers

Kuniyoshi

Ishiyama Temple: Adoring Lovers

JP-111782

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Kan'u

Kuniyoshi

Kan'u

JP2058

$485.00
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Oboshi Yuranosuke and Oboshi Rikiya

Kuniyoshi

Oboshi Yuranosuke and Oboshi Rikiya

JPR-88898

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Woman in Blue Kimono in Snow

Kuniyoshi

Woman in Blue Kimono in Snow

JP110807

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The Legend of Otake and Dainichi-Nyorai

Kuniyoshi

The Legend of Otake and Dainichi-Nyorai

JPR-92145

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Ko no Moronao and Momoi Wakasanosuke

Kuniyoshi

Ko no Moronao and Momoi Wakasanosuke

JPR-92151

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Oho (Wang Pu)

Kuniyoshi

Oho (Wang Pu)

JPR-92251

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Kumawakamaru in Sado and Yosaku in Tanba

Kuniyoshi

Kumawakamaru in Sado and Yosaku in Tanba

JPR1-55469

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Kamada Masakiyo's Daughter Goo Princess

Kuniyoshi

Kamada Masakiyo's Daughter Goo Princess

JPR-103944

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Wild Lion Otokonosuke

Kuniyoshi

Wild Lion Otokonosuke

JPR-109508

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Poem by Harumichi no Tsuraki: Kinugawa Yoemon

Kuniyoshi

Poem by Harumichi no Tsuraki: Kinugawa Yoemon

JPR-92070

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Kabuki Actor Bando Shuka as the Nun Seigen

Kuniyoshi

Kabuki Actor Bando Shuka as the Nun Seigen

JPR-103941

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Yamato Takeruno Mikoto in Kazusa and Yatsuhashi in Shimosa

Kuniyoshi

Yamato Takeruno Mikoto in Kazusa and Yatsuhashi in Shimosa

JPR1-55482

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Comic Dance

Kuniyoshi

Comic Dance

JPR-103938

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