Isoda Koryusai was a ukiyo-e printmaker, born into the samurai class during the Edo period in Japan. Little is known about his life, and until recently, he has been overlooked as a minor master. His birth and death dates are a point of conjecture, but his active career spanned from 1764-1788. It has been proposed that Koryusai may have studied his art under Harunobu, one of the most famous of the ukiyo-e printmakers. Though Koryusai’s early work strongly resembles and at times copies Harunobu’s work, there is no factual evidence to establish such a relationship.
Koryusai was a prolific printmaker, who produced more than 150 series and 2,500 designs. Many of these works are of traditional ukiyo-e subjects such as bijin (women), as in the courtesans in kimonos in his famous “A Pattern Book: First Designs for Young Herbs.” Koryusai's oeuvre also includes over 500 designs for shunga prints (erotic prints), and many kacho-e and hashira-e (bird and flower subjects and narrow, vertical prints, respectively).