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Article

Tadashi Kobayashi

[ Mori ]

( fl Edo [now Tokyo], 1760–94; d c. 1794).

Japanese print designer and book illustrator . He may have been a pupil of the ukiyoe (‘pictures of the floating world’) artist Ishikawa Yukimoto. He is principally known for prints of the following types: hosōban (‘narrow format’, c. 320×150 mm); yakushae (‘pictures of actors’) and bijinga (‘pictures of beautiful women’). In its eclecticism, his style resembles that of his contemporaries, Katsukawa Shunshō ( see Katsukawa family, §1 ) and Suzuki Harunobu , who incorporated a lyricism with a naturalistic depiction of the subject. In 1770 Bunchō collaborated with Harunobu and Shunshō to produce Ehon butai ōgi (‘Picture book of stage fans’; untraced), which featured a new type of yakushae, yakusha nigaoe (‘pictures of likenesses of actors’) and challenged the traditional dominance of theatre illustration by the Torii family school. In Ehon butai ōgi, Bunchō depicted onnagata (kabuki actors playing female roles), while Shunshō illustrated kata keyaki (kabuki villains). Bunchō abandoned ...

Article

Choki  

Japanese, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active 1760-1800.

Painter, print artist. Portraits, genre scenes.

Choki was active in Edo (Tokyo) from 1773 to 1811. He was a pupil of Toriyama Sekien and illustrated his master’s books. His portraits, especially of women, are distinguished by the elegance of their drawing and their rich, harmonious colouring. An ukiyo-e artist, he could render a snowfall or a sultry, starlit night with equal lyricism: the influence of Sharaku and Haronubu, among others, can be discerned in his work. He is particularly famous for his portraits of beautiful women in bust form, a new genre in about ...

Article

Tadashi Kobayashi

[Suzuki Hozumi; Shikojin, Chōeiken]

(b ?Edo [now Tokyo], ?1725; d Edo, 1770).

Japanese printmaker, book illustrator and painter. A central figure in the development of ukiyoe (‘pictures of the floating world’) woodblock printmaking during the mid-Edo (1600–1868) period (see Japan §X 3., (iii)), Harunobu’s most important contribution was the introduction of the first full-colour printing technique to Japan. Stylistically, the new image of feminine beauty that Harunobu created in his bijinga (‘pictures of beautiful women’) single-sheet prints influenced a generation of ukiyoe artists. Like many Edo period ukiyoe masters, Harunobu left few clues to his identity. He was probably born into the chōnin (merchant and artisan) class. An entry referring to Harunobu’s death in the Nishikawaka kakochō (‘Death registry of the Nishikawa family’) indicates that he had a close association with the family of the Kyoto ukiyoe artist Nishikawa Sukenobu. His treatment of trees, shrubs and rocks in his bird-and-flower (kachō) painting on folding screens (...

Article

Masato Naitō

[Iwakubo Kinemon; Kikō; Kyōsai]

(b Edo [now Tokyo], 1780; d Edo, 1850).

Japanese printmaker and book illustrator. He initially studied painting with Kanō Yōsen (1735–1808), the head of the Kobikichō branch of the Kanō school and okaeshi (official painter) to the Tokugawa shogunate. Together with Teisai Hokuba (1771–1844), Hokkei was one of Katsushika Hokusais best students (see Japan §X 3., (iii), (d)). He made his artistic debut in ukiyoe (‘pictures of the floating world’) circles c. 1800, producing illustrations for sharebon (comic novels, usually licentious), hanashibon (story books) and kyōkabon (books of ‘crazy verse’). His main period of activity, however, was in the 1820s and 30s. He continued to illustrate kyōka books, but his most outstanding works are kyōka surimono (‘printed objects’; deluxe prints). His representative piece from this period is his illustrated edition of Rokujuen’s [Ishikawa Masamochi] (1753–1830) kokkeibon (humorous tales of urban life), Hokuri jūniji (‘The twelve hours of the northern village’, a euphemism for the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter). Hokkei produced few ...

Article

Hokusai  

Japanese, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born September 1760, in Honjo Wari-Gesui, now Tokyo; died 1849.

Painter, print artist, illustrator, draughtsman. Figures, portraits, landscapes, seascapes.

While Hiroshige (1797-1858) is unanimously admired both in Japan and in the West, no Japanese artist has ever been so admired in the West and been regarded as so controversial in Japan as Hokusai. ‘The old man mad with painting’, to whom Edmond de Goncourt would pay so touching a tribute, left behind a corpus so monumental and so varied that wittingly or unwittingly no artist of his time would remain untouched by it, and his originality was so marked as to be intimidating, even offputting. Until he arrived, the Japanese print had concentrated on the female figure and portraits of actors, and had reached its peak at the end of the 18th century. With Hokusai, it found new life in a new field: landscape. ‘I was born at the age of 50,’ he would say, hinting at the long years when, rather like a pilgrim, he nurtured and refined his art until, as the 18th century drew to a close, it was ready to burst forth....

Article

Keisai  

Japanese, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1761 or 1764, in Edo (now Tokyo); died 1824, in Edo.

Master engraver, illustrator, painter.

Ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world).

Keisai was the son of a maker of tatami (straw mats), who studied the style of Korin (...

Article

Japanese, 18th century, male.

Active in Edo (now Tokyo).

Print artist.

Kiyoharu was a disciple of Kiyonobu I (1664-1729). A book illustrator, he also wrote humorous works and produced plates of beautiful women.

Article

Japanese, 18th century, male.

Active in Edo (now Tokyo).

Born 1735; died 1785.

Print artist, painter, illustrator.

Kiyomitsu, the son and disciple of Kiyomasu II, was the third head of the Torii school. A highly prolific artist, he illustrated theatre posters, books, and programmes. He produced a large number of actor portraits, both ...

Article

Japanese, 18th – 19th century, male.

Activec.1796-1805.

Born 1773; died 1810.

Print artist, painter, illustrator. Portraits.

Kunimasa was a pupil of Toyokuni (1769-1825). He produced over 30 bust portraits of actors that are noteworthy for their dramatic expression. He was probably more influenced by Sharaku (active ...

Article

Japanese, 18th century, male.

Active in Edo (now Tokyo).

Born 1686; died 1764.

Painter, print artist, illustrator. Portraits, genre scenes.

Masanobu was the founder of the Okumura School and a disciple of Torii Kiyonobu I (1664-1729). He also was a disciple of Shogetsudo Fukaku Sen’o, who taught him ...