Utagawa Kokunimasa

Utagawa Kokunimasa 歌川小国政 (1874 – 1944)  

BIOGRAPHY

Sources: Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints:1900 – 1975, Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii. 1992, p. 164; The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing Company, 2005, Volume 2, p. 503, Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers and Masterworks 1680-1900, Andreas Marks, Tuttle Publishing, 2010, p. 176; Japan wikipedia entry https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%AD%8C%E5%B7%9D%E5%9B%BD%E6%94%BF_%285%E4%BB%A3%E7%9B%AE%29 [accessed 12-25-23] 

There is confusion about the true identity of this artist who may be credited with work belonging to two different artists, the second of which may have signed his work Kunimasa V (which appears on a few prints in 1891.) What most sources agree on is that he was born in 1874 and was the eldest son of Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920), who was also known as Kunisada III, Baidō Hōsai, Baidō Kunimasa and Toyokuni V.)  In addition to Kokunimasa, meaning "Kunimasa Junior," he used the (artist names) Baidō 楳堂 and Ryūkei or Ryūa 柳蛙. His first work appears in 1889 when, if his date of birth is correct, he was only fifteen years old. He produced humorous pictures, caricatures, actor portraits, genre pictures and Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese war prints. He signed Sino-Japanese War prints Kokunimasa and his Russo-Japanese prints Ryūkei. 


His death date is commonly given as 1944, but his Japanese wikepedia entry states he passed away prior to the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake.

Signatures and Seals of the Artist (a sampling)

 梅堂小国政筆

Baidō Kokunimasa hitsu

with Toshidama seal

1897

小国政 

Kokunimasa

with plum blossom seal

柳蛙

Ryūa

with frog seal

1899

柳蛙 

Ryūa with square 江戸子  "Edokko" seal 

(from Russo-Japanese War Print)

1904

柳蛙

Ryūa with square 楳堂 之畫  seals

梅堂小国政

Baidō Kokunimasa

1894

太郎坊小国政画

Tarōbō Kokunimasa ga

Kokunimasawith Baidō 楳堂 seal
Baidō Kokunimasawith bai and dō 楳堂 seals
梅朝齋小国政Baichōsai Kokunimasa
last revision:11/11/2018

Prints in Collection

[BELOW PRINTS MARKED WITH AN ASTERISK GIFTED TO THE JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON]

click on thumbnail for print details