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Kobayashi Toshimitsu (active 1876–1904)


Biographical Data

Biography

Kobayashi Toshimitsu 古林年光 (active 1876–1904?)*

The Simple Story

The catalog of the Worcester Art Museum's exhibition In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars1 provides the following profile on Kobayashi Toshimitsu:
Kobayashi Toshimitsu (second half of nineteenth century)
Kobayashi Toshimitsu, an early student of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, designed a small series of battle prints in 1875 "with the assistance of Yoshitoshi," Satsuma Rebellion (1877) prints, and genre scenes.  He is listed as deceased on the 1898 Yoshitoshi memorial.

Prints by an artist identified as Toshimitsu can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Waseda University Library collection and the Hagi Uragami museum.

* The "active" dates are taken from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston online database for the artist Kobayashi Toshimitsu.  Of course, if the artist was "listed as deceased on the 1898 Yoshitoshi memorial," he could not still be active in 1904, hence my added "?" after the 1904 date.

The Not So Simple Story

However, as with a number of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's (1839-1892) students, there is some confusion about the identity of this artist as he used several different artist names () during his career.  In addition, it is possible that several different students of Yoshitoshi’s used the artist name Toshimitsu. 

Keyes, in his dissertation on Yoshitoshi, provides the following information on two of Yoshitoshi's students with the Toshimitsu:2

Kobayashi Toshimitsu 小林年充, 年参
Gō: Kōsai 高斎
An early pupil who used the name 年充 in 1874 and 年参 on prints in 1875 and 1876; named as an assistant on prints of the mid-1870s; designed a series of small battle pictures in 1875 “with the assistance of Yoshitoshi;” not named on the Kuniyoshi memorial ; named as deceased on the Yoshitoshi memorial (of 1898.)  Possibly the same as the below Toshimitsu.

Kobayashi (or Furubayashi) Toshimitsu 古林年光
PN: Hidenari (?)
Gō: Shinsai 進斎 and Himizugaoka

Also said to have used the name Toshimine; designed pictures of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877 and of genre subjects around 1880; named as deceased on the Yoshitoshi memorial.

Notes:3
"PN" means "personal names," and includes familiar names (tsushô and zokumyô) and informal names (na)
Gô are secondary art names which usually appear on seals or before an art name in signatures.


1 In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars, Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1991, p. 58.
2 Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 1839-1892, Volume 2, Roger Start Keyes, 1982, p. 550, 551, 556.
3 Ibid. p. 540.


Signatures and seals attributed to Toshimitsu

Ôju Toshimitsu ga
1876
(Waseda University Library Bunko10 8477)
Ôju Toshimitsu ga*
Seal: unread
1877
(IHL Cat. #447)

Ôju Toshimitsu
1877
(
IHL Cat. #448)
Ôju Toshi? Seal: unread
1879
(MFA, Boston 2000.221)
 
 Ôju Toshimitsu ga, 1881
(Artelino archive)

* Guy Pepermans noted that "the character for “ga”, usually “画” , is here “蛾” which means literally “moth” in Japanese."  Noel Chiappa in a followup comment stated "This kind of homophone character substitution is common in woodblock prints."

Shinsai Toshimitsu
Seal: Shinsai no in, 1894
(MFA, Boston 2000.368)

Toshimitsu
Seal: Suid
ô shujin
1894
(MFA, Boston 2000.23)
  Motome ni ôjite Toshimitsu
Seal: Suid
ô shujin
1894
(
In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars, Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1991, p. 59.)
Ôju Toshi?
Seal: Suid
ô shujin
(Artelino archive)
 
Toshimitsu
(IHL Cat. #429)

Toshimitsu ga
(IHL Cat. #430)
(appearing on IHL Cat. #s 429, 430 from the series Brocade Pictures of Moral Education