Born in Tokyo in 1869 as Noburo Sato, Kodo Yamanaka worked as a popular artist of kuchi-e, frontispiece images for books and literary magazines. Today, scholars look to his book Usage of Illustration to learn about his medium and his peers. Kodo received a diverse education, studying Yoshitoshi Naohiko Kumagi, Hakudo Ishihara, Kogan Arihara, and Tekeuchi Keishu. In 1896, Kodo joined the newspaper Yomiuri Shinbum as and illustrator. Under the guidance of his teacher Keishu, he began to produce kuchi-e for the publisher Hakubunkan around 1900. Additionally, he completed Notebook of Mountains and Water (1901), a book of woodblock prints, as well as four prints for the literary magazine Bungei Kurabu. In 1901, he was a founding member of the artist association Ugokai, along with Kiyokata, Eiho, and other kuchi-e artists.