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Utagawa Yoshimori (1830–1884)

Biographical Data


Utagawa Yoshimori
歌川 芳盛 (1830-1884*)
* Japan wikipedia gives his date of death as October 5, 1885

: A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 202-203; Wikipedia Japan http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%AD%8C%E5%B7%9D%E8%8A%B3%E7%9B%9B; The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing Company, 2005, p. 505.

Family and Given name: Taguchi (originally Miki) 三 木  Sakuzō 田 口作蔵; : Ikkōsai 一光斎, Kōsai 光斎, Kuniharu 国晴, Sakurabō さくら坊, Yoshimori 芳盛.

Little is known about the life of Yoshimori, other than he was born Taguchi Sakuzō in 1830 and died in either 1884 or 1885.  He was a student of Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), one of the mostsuccessful woodblock print designers in Edo, and used multiple artist names as listed above.  He lived in the Edo districts of Shitayashirokoji (now Uenohirokoji) and then moved to Ikenohatakayacho.  Some sources, including the above referenced wikipedia Japan site, say that he was a member of the Japanese Diet and resigned either in 1884 or 1885.  Other sources make no mention of this.  Towards the end of his life he moved to Yokohama.

He designed both woodblock prints and illustrated books.  As well as producing images of Yokohama, he designed kachoga1, musha-e, yokohyama-e, giga and works of political satire such as the below pictured 1864 print Tongue-cut Sparrow (Shita-kiri suzume).  He contributed over a dozen prints to the famous series Scenes of Famous Places along the Tōkaidō Road (Tōkaidō meisho fūkei), also known as the Processional Tōkaidō (Gyōretsu Tōkaidō.)  The influence of Kuniyoshi is clear in many of his works. He designed over thirty books, many of them song and humorous poetry books.

Tongue-cut Sparrow, 1864

His pupils include Utagawa Yoshimori II (1854-?) and Utagawa Koyoshimori (dates unknown).

His grave is in a nondenominational graveyard in the Kubotani district of Yokohama cemetery.

1 These were designed mainly for export.

Signatures of Artist - A Few Examples

一光斎芳盛画Ikkōsai Yoshimori ga, 1863
Yoshimori ga, 1863

Ikkōsai Yoshimori giga, 1865
Zen Yoshimori Kōsai shasei (Drawn from life by Kōsai, formerly Yoshimori), 1872

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