Yoshitoshi's Publishers

This page attempts to list all the publishers Yoshitoshi worked with, and show good images of their seals. It is currently in something of a draft state, and we will be exending it considerably as we get more prints online.

Beginning in 1876 prints were required to carry the full personal name and complete street address of the publisher; this was usually (but not always) carried in a length inscription in the margin of the print. Prior to this time, publishers generally indicated their connection to a print they produced by a small seal (often in the groud of the print) which gave some form of their name.

Publisher's Names

The names used by publishers, like Japanese names in general, are a complex topic. In addition to the personal name of the owner, publishers usually also used one or two business names, the ya-gō (屋号) and dō-gō (堂号), named for the differing suffixes applied to the business name. Ya means 'shop', and means 'firm', so in meaning they are roughly the same. However, the name before the suffix is not the same for the ya-gō and dō-gō forms; e.g. the publisher Kihei had of Sano-ya and Kikaku-dō.

In addition, publishing houses often had a 'short' name, used in publisher seals on prints; this was usually created by taking the name of the shop and of the proprietor, from which was formed (often, but not always, by taking the first syllable of each) a shorter name. So, the publisher "Maruya Seibei" was the shop Maru-ya, owned by Seibei; its short name was Marusei. However, the short name often outlived the owner it was originally asociated with.

As mentioned, these short names are often what is given in the publisher seals. For some publishers, sources give short names which do not correspond to either any contraction of the long name, or the characters in the seal. Presumably these short names come from either other seals used by that publisher, or from other contemporary sources, but it beyond the scope of this page to elucidate those.


Kanji for personal names are marked with "P:"; for ya-gō with "Y:"; for dō-gō with "D:", and for short names with "S:". Kanji whose readings and/or import are unknown are tagged with a "?:".

Seal Readings

When seal readings are given, following the usual standard, the Chinese reading(s) are in uppercase, and the Japanese in lower. Characters are separated by '_', and alternative readings are given separated by '/'.

Table of Publisher's Seals

Seal(s) Personal Name Ya-gō and Dō-gō Short name(s)     Kanji     Location Reference Comments
Kinnosuke Daikoku-ya Kinjirō, Daikin S:大金 Tsujiki, Odawara-chō MFA #11.37637
Ing, #10.25
Dailey, #96
The seal reads: TAI/DAI/O_KON/KIN/kana
Rinnosuke Ebi-ya
Ebirin S:海老林 Horie-chō Dailey, #154/#208
Lane, 314.2.9
Self, 282.2.10
The seal reads: KAI/umi_RŌ/o_RIN/JI/shige/hayashi/mori; the first two combined can be read 'ebi'
Sōjirō Ki-ya Kiso ?:焦喰四
Ing, #17.2
MFA #00.1395-7
The seal reads: SHŌ/ko/ji_kura/ku_SHI/yo MOKU/ki_SO/mune_SHI; the final SHI means "published by"
Morimoto Junsaburō Morimoto P:森本 順三郎 Asakusa-ku Kawara-chō ni banchi The seal reads: mori_HON/moto.
Unidentified Daikyō-dō Ohashi
S:大橋 Ing, #22.47, #22.48 The seal reads: TAI/DAI/O_KYŌ/hashi

The two different short names are different readings of the characters in the seal.

Sawa Kyūjirō
Ōmiya Kyūsuke
Kinkyū S:近久 MFA #11.37760, MFA #11.35910 The seal reads: KIN/KON/chika_KYŪ/KU/hisa

The second name listed might be include ya-gō, but without the kan-ji it is impossible to be sure. The status of the 'Kyūsuke' is unknown.

Tomigorō Sano-ya
D:錦盛堂 MFA #11.37717 The seal reads: KIN/nishiki_SHŌ/SEI/JŌ/saka/mo_DŌ/-dō
Masakichi Seibun-dō or Shōbun-dō D:正文堂 Ing, #8.1, #12
MFA #11.16634
The seal reads: SEI/SHŌ/masa/tada_BUN/MON/fumi_DŌ

Different source give different readings for the dō-gō.

Tōbei Yamaguchi-ya
Yamaguchi S:山口 Bakuro-chō, Motohama-chō Dailey, #129/#223
Lane, 316.3.23
Self, 287.1.2
The seal reads: SAN/yama_Kō/KU/guchi/aki


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© Copyright 2009-2010 by J. Noel Chiappa and Jason M. Levine

Last updated: 23/June/2010