Utagawa Kunisada
Kunisada Utagawa (1786-1864) started his career as the chief pupil of the head of the Utagawa school, Toyokuni I. Born with the name Sumida, to a family of ferry boat operators, Kunisada was given his name by his master when he began his career at the ago of 15. By 1807 he was publishing his first books and his first actor prints were published in 1808. Between 1810 and 1820 he signed much of his work as Gototei Kunisada, or "Kunisada of the Fifth Ferry Pavilion." Toyokuni died in 1825, leaving the title and position of head of the school to his son-in-law, Toyoshige (Toyokuni II). Kunisada's career continued successfully in spite of the fact that he believed he should be the head of the school. He studied with the Hanabusa Icho and took the name Kochoro Kunisada for a time between the late 1820's and 1844.

Nine years after the death of Toyokuni II in 1835, he was elevated to head of the Utagawa school and took the name Toyokuni the Second (though he is commonly referred to as Toyokuni III). Kunisada was a prolific artist with over 20,000 designs to his credit. He was not only an excellent print maker but also an excellent business man who had great commercial success with his works of art. Many critics have labeled him as "decadent" since he used lush patterning and newly developed colors in his designs, filling his images with exciting backgrounds and colors. Stylistically the work of Kunisada is very different from classic Ukiyo-e from the 18th Century. It should be considered that Ukiyo-e was a vibrant and living art, created for the masses. Tastes and styles changed, as they should, and he was creating work demanded by the public. Gone were the isolated figures and austere settings of the past. Kunisada replaced them with contexts of landscape or theatrical sets, creating a new, exuberant look for Ukiyo-e. Some of his most successful proteges include Kunisada II, Hirosada and Kunichika.

Because Kunisada changed his name several times - identifying his prints can be quite confusing for the less-experienced Ukiyo-e collector. In Ukiyo-e literature and catalogues he is mostly referred to as Kunisada or Toyokuni III.


Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) - Series: Tale of Genji
Chapter 1- Kiritsubo Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 2
#1- Chapter 1- Kiritsubo

#2 #3 #4
Chapter 6- Suetsumuhana Chapter 7- Momiji-No-Ga Chapter 8- Hana no en
#5 #6 - Chapter 6- Suetsumuhana

#7 - Chapter 7- Momiji-No-Ga #8 - Chapter 8- Hana no en

Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 9 Chapter 10- Sakaki Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 12
#9 #10 - Chapter 10- Sakaki #11

#12 - Suma
(Location of Genji's palace in exile)

Chapter 13- Akashi Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 16
#13 - Chapter 13- Akashi #14 - Chapter 14- Miozukushi #15 - Chapter 15- The Palace in the Tangled Woods (Yomogiu)

#16 - Sekiya
Chapter 20- Asagao
#17 #18 #19 #20 - Asagao

Chapter 21- Otome Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 22 Chapter 23- Hatsune Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 24
#21- Chapter 21- Otome #22 - Tamakazura
(Daughter of Yuugao)

#23 - Chapter 23- Hatsune #24

Chapter 25- Hotaru Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 26 Chapter 28- Nowaki
#25 - Chapter 25- Hotaru #26 Chapter 26- Wild Carnations (Tokonatsu)

#27 #28 - Nowaki
Chapter 29- Miyuki Chapter 30- Fujibakama Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 31 Chapter 32- Umegae
#29 - Chapter 29- The Royal Visit (Miyuki) #30 - Fujibakama #31 - Chapter 31- The Cypress Pillar (Makibashira)

#32 - Chapter 32- Umegae
Chapter 35- Wakana-No-Ge Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 36
#33 #34 - Chapter 34- New Herbs, Part One (Wakana 1)

#35 - Chapter 35- Wakana-No-Ge #36 - Kashiwagi
(Oak Tree)
Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 38 Chapter 39- Yugiri Chapter 40- The Rites (Minori)
#37 #38 #39 - Chapter 39- Yugiri #40 - Chapter 40- The Rites (Minori)

Chapter 42- Nionomiya Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 43 Chapter 44- Takegawa
#41 - Chapter 41- The Wizard (Maboroshi)

#42 - Chapter 42- Nionomiya #43 - Chapter 43- The Rose Plum (Kobai) #44 - Chapter 44- Takegawa
#45 #46 #47 - Chapter 44- Takegawa

#48
Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 49 Kunisada - Tale of Genji - Chapter 52
#49 - Chapter 49- The Mistletoe (Yadorigi) #50 #51 #52 - Chapter 52- The Gossamer-Fly (Kagerô)

#53 #54 - Chapter 54- The Bridge of Dreams (Yume no ukihashi)

Series: Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince
(Sono Sugata Yukari no Utsushi-e)
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 4
#1

#2 #3 #4
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#5 #6 #7 #8 - Chapter 8- Hana no en

Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 09 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 10 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 11 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#9 #10 - Chapter 10- Sakaki #11

#12 - Suma
(Location of Genji's palace in exile)
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 16
#13 #14 - Chapter 14- Miozukushi #15 - Chapter 15- The Palace in the Tangled Woods (Yomogiu)

#16 - Sekiya
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 17 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 18 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 20
#17 #18 #19 #20

Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 21 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 22 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#21 #22 - Tamakazura
(Daughter of Yuugao)

#23 #24

Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#25 #26 Chapter 26- Wild Carnations (Tokonatsu)

#27 #28
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#29 - Chapter 29- The Royal Visit (Miyuki) #30 #31 - Chapter 31- The Cypress Pillar (Makibashira)

#32
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#33 #34 - Chapter 34- New Herbs, Part One (Wakana 1)

#35 #36 - Kashiwagi
(Oak Tree)
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#37 #38 #39 #40 - Chapter 40- The Rites (Minori)

Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 41 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 42 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 43 Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#41 - Chapter 41- The Wizard (Maboroshi)

#42 #43 - Chapter 43- The Rose Plum (Kobai) #44
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH 48
#45 #46 #47 - Chapter 44- Takegawa

#48
Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#49 - Chapter 49- The Mistletoe (Yadorigi) #50 #51 #52 - Chapter 52- The Gossamer-Fly (Kagerô)

Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx Kunisada- Faithful Depictions of the Shining Prince- CH xx
#53 #54 - Chapter 54- The Bridge of Dreams (Yume no ukihashi)

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Literature sources used for artist biographies:

©Dr Ross F. Walker.