Hokushu was the leading designer of yakusha-e (actor prints) in Osaka for two decades. He is credited with many of the conventions and distinctive appearance of Osaka-e (Osaka prints). Said to have supported himself as a paper merchant, he began his artistic career in 1806 under the tutelage of either Shunko or Shunkosai, collaborating with the later on a book of illustrations in 1809. Hokusai Gashiki (1819), a formal listing of Hokusai’s students, reveals that Hokushu briefly studied with this master artist as well. Hokushu set off as an independent artist in 1818, working with the celebrated engraver Kasuke a year later. These collaborative works are considered masterpieces of the Osaka school.
A prolific artist throughout his career, Hokushu played a leading role in the popularization of the oban format in Osaka. He completed his first oban diptych in 1812 and favored this format throughout his career. He also produced elegant portrait fan prints, printed in deluxe editions and embellished with lavish details. According to the Naniwa Shoryu Gajin Meika Annai (1831), Hokushu was ranked among the top portrait artists in Osaka.
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