Pictures of Kuniyoshi


Kuniyoshi inserted himself into some of his prints.  Generally as seen from behind, often with his kiri seal, a cat, and wearing an ornate kimono.  I am grateful to Robert Pryor for assisting with this section.


Title: Brave Kuniyoshi with his Paulownia Design (Isamashiki Kuniyoshi kiri no tsuimoyô, 勇国芳桐対模様)

Description: Procession of Kuniyoshi and his students in the Sanno Festival with Kuniyoshi’s paulownia crest is on the higher umbrella

Date: 1847-1848 (censors Hama and Kinugasa)

Publisher: Ningyô-ya Takichi

Title: Popular Ôtsu-e for the Times: A Long-Awaited Rarity (Toki ni au Ôtsu-e kitai no maremono, 梳行逢都繪代稀物)

Description: Kuniyoshi as the artist Ukiyo Matabei surrounded by Ôtsu-e characters with Kuniyoshi’s kiri seal next to him

Date: 1847-1848 (censors Hama and Kinugasa)

Publisher: Minato-ya Kohei

Title: The Famous and Unrivalled Hidari Jingorô (Meiyo migi ni teki nashi Hidari Jingorô, 名誉右に無敵左り甚五郎)

Description: Kuniyoshi as the left-handed sculptor seated on a cushion decorated with Kuniyoshi’s kiri seal

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

Publisher: Ebisu-ya Shôshichi

Title: The World of Yoshi to Exhaustion (Ukiyo yoshi zukushi (浮世与しづ久志)

Description: People engaged in various activities

Date: 1846-1848 (censors Muramatsu and Yoshimura)


Title: Picture of the Stone Shrine Pilgrimage to Ôyama Temple in Sagami Province (Sagami no kuni Ôyama-dera sekison miya asayama zu, 相模国大山寺石尊宮朝山図)

Description: Actors and others on a pilgrimage. Kuniyoshi has an inverted Yoshi (よし) on his back

Date: 7th month of 1854

Publisher: Enshû-ya Hikobei


Kuniyoshi with cats and various accoutrements (including kiseru pipe and chasen tea whisk) in his hell kimono from the frontispiece of the shunga album Chinpen shinkeibai (枕辺深閏梅), 1839


The last bookplate in the second volume of Biographies of Japanese Eccentrics (Nihon kijin den, 日本奇人伝). 

Artist: Kuniyoshi

Description: Kuniyoshi (

), with a cat and an ornate kimono, examining a scroll painting.  With him are the artists Eisen (英泉) and Toyokuni III (豊國).

Text: Hanagasa Bunkyô (花笠文京)

Publisher: Yamazaki Seishichi (山崎清七)

Date: 1849


Memorial print of Kuniyoshi by his student Yoshi’iku

Date: 1861

PublisherHirooka-ya Kôsuke

Text: 一勇斎國芳 俗姓井草孫三郎号朝桜楼




三月五日没 寿六十五 浅草八軒寺町大仙寺葬


楼号も手向くによし朝さくら 有人


すり合す袖にも霜の別れかな 魯文 


摘ためた袖にしほるゝ土筆かな 玄魚


Memorial print (shini-e) of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, holding pipe and cat netsuke, accompanied by his student Yoshifusa.

Signature: Remembered with tears, Ichigeisai Yoshitomi ga (Namida shinobi de Ichigeisai Yoshitomi ga, 涙偲びで一芸斎芳富)

Publisher: Shinagawa-ya Kyûsuke

Date: 3rd month of 1861

Text: 文久元年酉三月四日没一勇斎國芳行年六十五才法名深修院法山信士, 万延元年申六月十日一寶斎芳房行年二十四才法名釈速入信士

Bookplates from Kyosai’s Talks on Painting (Kyosai gadan, 暁斎画談), Volume III.

Artist: Kawanabe Kyosai

Description: The young Kyosai receiving instruction from the master in Kuniyoshi’s studio

Publisher: Iwamoto Shun

Date: 1887


Artist: Yoshitoshi

Description: Portrait of Kuniyoshi for the 13th anniversary of his death with cat and hell kimono

Date: 1874



Artist: Unsigned

Description: Shini-e (memorial picture) of Ichikawa Ebizô V surrounded by mourning actors, artists and writers.  Ebizô’s pose is traditionally associated with the dying Buddha.

Date: 1859

Size: Ôban diptych, about 14 by 20 inches (36 by 50 centimeters)


NOTE: Kuniyoshi and Kunisada (Toyokuni III) are pictured in the right lower corner.  Their names are written in hiragana and hentaigana, and their crests are on their backs.




Paulownia flower crest of Kuniyoshi (くふよし)


Toshidama crest of Toyokuni III (とよくに)


I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this image and information.


“Robinson” refers to listing of the series in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).