Students of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

By the mid-1880s Yoshitoshi had around eighty students; he reportedly had
over two hundred students over his lifetime, of whom he gave

to "at least sixty of them". (Keyes, pg. 535) On some series, they
collaborated with him, so the tables below give information on the full
names, dates, sample signatures, etc of some of Yoshitoshi's students.

Some of Yoshitoshi's students went on to become influential themselves; some had numerous students of their own, including Toshikata (15 students), Toshihide (16 students), and Toshitsune. Others were more obscure; over half the students listed on Yoshitoshi's 1898 memorial are known only by name, and not from any works.

As was usual with Japanese artists, most students' includes a character from their master's ; in Yoshitoshi's case, it was the second character in Yoshitoshi's , , meaning "year". This character can be read in two different ways; the Japanese (kun) reading 'toshi', and the Chinese (ON) reading, "NEN". Most of his pupils used the kun reading, but some use the ON reading.

He also gave to people who were not, strictly speaking, students, including two of his publishers: Matsui Eikichi, who published many of Yoshitoshi's vertical diptychs in the 1880s, who received the Nenyō (年葉); and Akiyama Buemon, publisher of the series '100 Aspects of the Moon'.

Duplicate Names

One problem with identifying Yoshitoshi's students is that he often gave which are spoken the same way, but written with different kanji, to different students. Examples include Toshiaki (年明 and 年章), Toshihide (年英 and 年秀), etc.

In other cases, the same kanji were given to two different people, but read differently for each. Examples include 年之 (Toshihisa and Toshiyuki), many of the 'Nen' names, etc.

Even more confusingly, in at least three instances he gave a particular , written with the same kanji, to two different people, the second after the first one died. In such cases, one needs the family name to distinguish between them. They are:

Name Readings

Some of these entries are from sources in Japanese. This usually gives us the correct kanji (since a given name, written in rōmaji in English documents, can usually be written with a number of different potential kanji, making sources in English potentially problematic). However, for names from Japanese sources, for students who are not well known, we have the opposite problem - known kanji, but uncertain readings.

In general, woodblock artists' use the kun readings rather than the on; in addition, in the Utagawa school, certain readings for some characters are 'usual'. These two principles together have probably produced the correct readings in most cases, but there may be some errors. All such entries, where the reading has not been confirmed by other sources, are marked with '?*'.

Family and given names are more problematic, and in general readings there have not been given unless there is a source to attest to the correct reading.

Name Kanji

Many of these names, especially the family names, come from Keyes, which is easily accessible only in a microfilmed version. The kanji in it are all hand-written, and small, and have not all been reproduced very well. In some cases, definitive identification of the written kanji is not really feasible. Every possible attempt has been made to correctly identify them, but some errors might remain.

Sample signatures

Where possible, images of signatures have been provided. One potential problem is that some sources may have confused two different artists with the same ; in other cases, signatures may have been misread.

An attempt has been made to check identifications, but often the images are of middling quality, making checking hard. In addition, the process of checking, as best as is possible, has not yet been completed. So, be careful about relying too much on any reproduced signature.

The Students

Names are given in Japanese order (i.e. family name first). Entries are ordered alphabetically by the given them by Yoshitoshi, even if this is not the name by which they are best known. In a few cases, students were not given by him, in which case their most common is used. When they are best known by another name, that name is given first in the list of alternate names, delineated with a ":".

Other names, when included, include:

(As the period covered here crosses the Meiji Restoration, when reforms of the naming system for lower-class individuals happened, the terminology above is necessarily a short gloss on a complex situation.)

The list also includes a number of artists who have not been confirmed as students of Yoshitoshi, but have which start with the character . They have been included as they are likely students of his; indeed, Keyes indicates (pg. 535) that "all artists of the late nineteenth century whose names begin with the[] syllables ['Yoshi'] are his pupils."

For a few signatures, we have larger images. Click on an image to show the larger version, for those which do.

Signature sample Full name Kanji Other names Dates Brief Bio
Kobayashi Eitaku 小林 永濯 Shūjirō, Tokusen
Sensai, Issensai, Baikodō, Kadō, Mugyo
1843-1890 He was born in Edo, and was the son of a fish-merchant. He studied with Kanō Eitoku Tatsunobu (Keyes seems to be in error in giving this name as "Tsunenobu"), and was adopted by Kanō Eishin; worked as an official painter for the Ii family, lords of Hikone. He studied and travelled with Yoshitoshi in the early 1870s, but the two later fell out. His well-known pupil, Tomioka Eisen (1864-1905) helped pay for Yoshitoshi's memorial.
Kasai Hōsai 笠井 鳳斎 A student of Yoshitoshi in the 1880s.
Yamanaka Kodō 山中 古洞 Satō Noboru
Tatsushige (辰重), Tatsujū
1869-1945 Studied with Yoshitoshi in the 1880s; he later wrote a biography of Yoshitoshi which is one of our most important sources of information about Yoshitoshi.

Merritt, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints", includes a somewhat lengthy biographical note (pg. 222). Merritt and Yamada, "Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975", gives Shō as his given name, but this may be incorrect, as the later work makes no mention of it.

Saitō Nengyo 斉藤 年魚 A student of Yoshitoshi in the 1880s.
Ozaki Nenka 尾崎 年華 Shōgorō, Chōsai, Sanyō Son of Utagawa Kunitane.
Nishii Nenkan 西井年寛 Kinsai:
A student of Yoshitoshi in the 1880s, who arranged for him to study painting with Mori Kansai in Kyōto.
Hanawa Nenkō 花輪 年香
Nenkō 年幸 Possibly Toshiyoshi (alternate reading for 年幸) Possibly an erroneous catalogue entry.
Katsura Nenkyo 年擧 Sōsuke
Tsunehide, Gyokuto
died ca. 1897 Originally a pupil of Toshitsune, he studied with Yoshitoshi, and after his death, with Gyokushō. He assisted Yoshitoshi by filling in backgrounds, and similar detail work.
Matsui Nenyō
Eda Nenshō 年祥 Utagawa, Iwajirō
Kunitama, Hōsai (寳斎), Ippōsai
A student of Kunisada, he worked as Kunitama in the 1860s and 1870s. After adopting Toshimasa, he received the name Nenshō. He worked as a hanshita-eshi.
Toshiaki 年明 An early student.
Nakazawa Toshiaki 中沢 年章 Yūsai (幽斎), Nenkō (年甲) 1864-1921 He was born in Yamanashi Prefecture, in the heart of Japan, to the west of Edo. He was better known as a traditional Japanese painter than as a woodblock artist. His specialties were bijin-ga, and images of both historical and contemporary people, particularly action scenes, which showed his excellent drawing ability.
Toshichika 年親
Toshiei fl. ca. late 1800s
Toshiharu 年晴
Migita Toshihide 右田 年英 Toyohiko
Bansuirō (晩翠楼), Gosai (悟斎), Ichieisai (一潁 斎), Uda
1863-1925 He was born in Oita Prefecture, on the southern island of Kyūshū, on the Inland Sea. He studied realistic Western-style painting with Kunisawa Shinkurō (leading to his own later Westernized style); after his death, he studied with Honda Kinkichirō. He later became a student of Yoshitoshi, at the age of seventeen. He produced prints in many genres: yakusha-e. bijin-ga. Sino-Japanese war prints (in the 1890s), newspaper illustrations (for the Asahi Shimbun), and also a few kuchi-e.
Toshihide?* 年秀 It is not clear if this is same 'Toshihide' as the entry above (or even if 'hide' is the correct reading for the second character; other possibilities are 'SHŪ' and 'sugu').

Note: This image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.

Toshihiro?* 年広 Note: not necessarily a student of Yoshitoshi.
Tsukioka Toshihisa 月岡年之 Kōgyo (耕漁):
Sakamaki Bennosuke
1869-1927 Originally the son of innkeepers in Nihonbashi, he became Yoshitoshi's step-son at fifteen, when his mother Sakamaki Taiko married Yoshitoshi in 1884. In addition to studying with his step-father, he also studied with Ogata Gekkō; his of Kōgyo was given to him by Gekkō. In addition to some kacho-e, he is best known for his prints of the Noh theatre; he was a good enough artist to inherit Yoshitoshi's artist seals in October, 1910.
Toshihisa 年之 Little is known of this second Toshihisa.
Toshihito (or possibly Toshisuke) 年人
Kanaki Toshikage 年景 fl. ca. 1890s One of Yoshitoshi's earliest pupils, he is little known except for his famous memorial portrait of his master.

Note: The second image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.

Mizuno Toshikata 水野 年方 Nonako Kumejirō
Shōsetsu (蕉雪)
1866-1908 Mizuno Toshikata was the son of a Tōkyō plasterer who was apprenticed to Yoshitoshi in 1879, at the age of 13. After that, he studied ceramic painting with Yamada Ryūtō, and at the age of 20 became a porcelain painter, eventually rising to become a section chief at a Satsuma-ware factory. Shortly afterwards, dissatisfied with that, he returned to painting under Yoshitoshi, and also studied with Shibata Hōshū, Watanabe Shōtei and Mishima Sōshō; Yoshitoshi announced that he would be his successor. He also worked as an illustrator (he succeeded Yoshitoshi as illustrator for the Yamato shinbun in 1887, working there until 1894) and print maker, producing many Sino-Japanese war prints, as well as prints of beautiful women, children, and numerous kuchi-e. At the turn of the century, he worked as a designer for a department store. He died young, at 42, reportedly from overwork.

Merritt, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints", includes a somewhat lengthy biographical note (pp. 209-210). Some sources spell his given name as Kunejirō; this is less likely to be correct.

Oguri? Toshikazu 年一 Merritt contains a reference to an Oguri Toshikazu, but it's not known if that is this Toshikazu.

Note: The third image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.

Toshikazu?* 年数 Note: not necessarily a student of Yoshitoshi.
Toshikazu? Possibly an alternate reading for Toshimitsu (below)?
Katō Toshikuni 加藤 年洲 Nenshū (alternate reading for 年洲) He studied pottery with Takeuchi Keishū (Toshisuke), whome he introduced to Yoshitoshi.
Fuse Toshimaro 年麿 Yoshitoshi's first pupil.

Some sources give an alternative reading of 'Toshimaru' for this .

Note: This image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.

Fukushima Toshimaru 福嶋 年丸 Seijirō A student in the 1880s.
Utagawa Toshimasa 歌川 年昌 fl. ca. mid-1890s
Tsutsui Toshimine 筒井 年峰 年峯 Yūzō 1863-1934 He was born in Hyōgo Prefecture, which stretches from Kobe on the Inland Sea to the Sea of Japan, in the center of the main island, Honshū. He was probably a pupil of Yoshitoshi, because his name is inscribed on the latter's memorial. He worked as kuchi-e illustrator, and also for newspapers and magazines; at the end of the first decade of the new century he was illustrating novels.

He used both forms of the 'mine' character in signing his works.

Kobayashi Toshimitsu 古林 年充 or 年光 Eisei or possibly Hidenari (栄成)
Kōsai (高斎), Shinsai (進斎)
fl. 1871-1904 It is thought that all of these names refer to one person, who used the Kōsai (and the first characters for 'Toshimitsu') from 1871-1877, and the Shinsai (and latter characters for 'Toshimitsu') from 1877-1904.

See this page for more.

Teisai? Toshimitsu 年参 Nensan (alternate reading for 年参) This may be a different person from the Toshimitsu above; sources differ.
Suzuki Toshimoto 鈴木 年基 Sessai fl. ca. 1880s-1890s He was born in Osaka. His favorite subjects were historical and social scenes; he also produced several war prints during the Satsuma Rebellion.
Shimane Toshinaka 年中 See entry for "Shimane Toshitada" (below) This identification is from Merritt, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints".
Shibata Toshindo 柴田 年人 The wife of a well-known artist.
Kifuji Toshinobu 木藤 年延 An early student.

Note: This image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.

Yamazaki Toshinobu 山崎 年信 Tokusaburō
Sensai, Shunkō
1857-1886 He was initially a pupil of Utagawa Kunisada, and later of Yoshitoshi. After a scandal involving a batch of prints he mis-appropriated, he left and moved to Kyōto.

He lived and worked as a printmaker in both Tōkyō and Yokohama; in the latter location as a member of the Yokohama school. He also produced illustrations for books and newspapers.

Shirai Toshinobu 白井 年信 Taguchi, Shinjirō
Kuniume (国梅)
1866-1903 He later studied with Kansai, Chokusei, and Gyokushō, but eventually wound up starting a correspondence course in Japanese painting.
Yamada Toshisada 山田 年貞
Toshishige 年重?
Toshishige?* 年茂 Note: not necessarily a student of Yoshitoshi.

Possibly the same person as above, whose kanji has been incorrectly guessed as being the one usually used in the Utagawa school for -shige?

Toshisue?* 年季 Note: not necessarily a student of Yoshitoshi.
Takeuchi Toshisuke 武内 年甫 Keishū (桂舟):
1861-1943 He was not really a student of Yoshitoshi; he received his from Yoshitoshi through a misunderstanding. He came by to visit one day, and Yoshitoshi mistook his purpose. They later became good friends, and his name appears on Yoshitoshi's memorial, indicating that in some sense he was a member of his school; this is somewhat ironic, as his style to some degree replaced that of Yoshitoshi in public esteem.

The second son of the retainer of a daimyo in what is now Wakayama Prefecture, he initially trained in the classical Kanō school of painting. Unable to find work in that field, he worked as a porcelain painter, then a painter of hanshita, and later of an extensive number of kuchi-e.

Merritt, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints", includes a somewhat lengthy biographical note (pp. 216-217). One sometimes sees his name given as Ginpei or Shimpei.

Shimane Toshitada 島根 年忠 Yamada Keichū (山田 敬中):
Katoku (可得), Nanshi (南志), Nansai (南斎)
1868-1934 Born in Tōkyō, after studying with Yoshitoshi, he also studied with Kawabata Gyokushō. He became a teacher at the Tōkyō School of Fine Arts, but left, and participated in founding the Japan Art Institute. He seems to have worked mostly as a painter, not in prints.
Fuse?* Toshitaka 布施 年鷹
Toshitane 年種 At one point, he worked painting under-glaze decorations on ceramics.
Toshitei?* 年貞 Note: not necessarily a student of Yoshitoshi.
Toshitoyo?* 年豊
Toshitsugu 年次 Note: This image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.
Toshitsuki 年月 Nengetsu (alternate reading of 年月)
Inano Toshitsune 稲野 年恒 Takebe Takayuki
Insai (胤斎), Kitaume/Hokubai (北梅), Kagasenjin (可雅賎人)
1859-1907 Born in Kaga Province, he started studying at the age of 15 with Yoshitoshi, and later was a pupil of Kōno Bairei in Kyōto. He later moved to Ōsaka, where he was a neo-ukiyo-e painter; he worked as an illustrator for newspapers (including the Osaka Mainchi Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun, after 1893), and also illustrated several kuchi-e.

Some sources give his birth year as 1858, but this may be an issue with the end of year calendar mismatch.

Toshiume 年楳
Toshiyasu 年保 Kyōsai, Nempo (alternate reading of 年保)
Arai Toshiyuki 年雪 Shujirō
Nenshi (年雪), Yoshimune, Isshōsai
1863-1941 The youngest son of Utagawa Yoshimune I, he became a pupil of Yoshitoshi at the age of thirteen. After his father's death in 1880, he took the name of Utagawa Yoshimune II in 1882 (some sources give 1881, and say he became Yoshimine III), along with his father's Isshōsai.

Note: This image (in red) is probably not his signature; rather, it's likely his name written by Yoshitoshi.

Hattori Toshiyuki 服部 年之 Toshikore (alternate reading for 年之), Nenshi (alternate reading for 年之) A student in the 1880s; he apparently produced no prints.
Toshiyoshi 年芳? fl. ca. 1890s He had a personality conflict with Yoshitoshi, and left the studio and lived in the provinces for many years, before returning in the 1880s.


These lists are not exhaustive.


The single most comprehensive source is Keyes' Ph.D. thesis: on pages 534-556. Other sources include:


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© Copyright 2009-2012 by J. Noel Chiappa and Jason M. Levine

Last updated: 18/May/2012