Born with the name Shusaburo, and a member of a samurai family, Kawanabe Kyosai is an important example of an artistic generation transitioning from Japan’s Edo to Meiji period. At six years old, Kyosai was apprenticed to Utagawa Kuniyoshi. He later abandoned the ukiyo-e style of the Utagawa school and studied Kano painting.
Kyosai was mainly known as a painter, but also produced some of the most eccentric prints of nineteenth century Japan. His best known woodcut publications are “Kyosai Garden” and “Kyosai Manga.” He was also a writer, and published “Kyosai Gadan,” as part autobiography and part painting treatise.