Born as Oshima Yosahachi, the artist Toyahara Kunichika was one of the last printmakers in the ukiyo-e tradition. He began his career quite young, and at the age of eleven he was producing illustrations for his brother’s oshie-e shop. In 1848, he was apprenticed in the studio of Toyokuni Kunisada. In 1854, he adopted the artist name “Kunichika” as a combination of his two masters, Chikanobu and the previously mentioned Kunisada.
Kunichika was always interested in theater, and is perhaps most famous for his depictions of Kabuki actors. He also worked within the traditional ukiyo-e subject matter, producing a series of “Fifty-Four Modern Feelings” (1884) to illustrate the fifty-four chapters of an eleventh-century novel, “The Tale of Genji.”