1835 - 1900
Also known as: Toyohara Kunichika, Yasohachi Oshima
Increased appreciation of the printmaker Toyohara Kunichika is indicative in the 1999 publication on the artist by Amy Reigle Newland, "A Forgotten Master."
His was born in the Kyobashi district of Tokyo with the original name Yasohachi Oshima. Around the age of eleven or twelve, he became a student of the ukiyo-e artist Ichiosai Toohara Chikanobu (an artist of the Hasegawa school working in Kano-style painting and not to be confused the better known printimaker Yoshu Toyohara Chikanobu who was Kunichika's own pupil), and at the age of thirteen he entered the studio of Kunisada as an apprentice -- his artist name being a combination of these two teachers
Kunichika is foremost known as a designer of actor prints. Apart from actor prints, he created prints of beautiful women and some designs with historic scenes. He often used strong red and dark purple-blue colors, particularly as background colors on his prints; they were made of aniline dyes imported in the Meiji period from Germany. During his lifetime, Kunichika was an esteemed and appreciated artist. However he never received the public attention that his master Kunisada had or that Yoshitoshi could win during the last years of his life.
In 1867, one year before the collapse of the Shogunate, he received an official commission by the government to contribute to the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris.