Utagawa Kunimatsu

Utagawa Kunimatsu 歌川国松 or 歌川国枩 (1855-1944)   


Sources: Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints:1900 – 1975, Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii. 1992, p. 165; Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture, Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii Press, 2000, p. 220; The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing Company, 2005, Volume 2, p. 504; Japan wikipedia entry for the artist https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%AD%8C%E5%B7%9D%E5%9B%BD%E6%9D%BE [accessed 12-26-23]

Utagawa Kunimatsu, born Wada Kunijirō 和田国次郎, was the third son of the artist Utagawa Kunitsuru I 歌川国鶴 (1807–1878) and the younger brother of the artist Utagawa Kunitsuru II. He studied with his father and with Kobayashi Eitaku (1843-1890) and Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)

He was one of a number of the lesser artists of the Meiji period who designed war prints (senso-e); scenic view prints (meisho-e) depicting popular locations in and around Yokohama [including the series Competition of Famous Places in Yokohama (Yokohama meishokyō)]; book illustrations for novels including several written by Iwaya Sazanami (1870-1933); and illustrations for various newspapers, including the Kyoto binode shimbun and Mainichi shimbun.

He lived in Yokohama, Tokyo and Osaka. It is said that he was left-handed.

He used the (artist names) Ichiryūsai Toyoshige 一龍斎豊重 (Toyoshige III 三代 豊重), Fukudō 福堂, Kōshū 珖舟 and Ganshū 玩舟. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston also records a signature on a print credited to him as Ichiōsai Kunimatsu, adding another used by the artist. 

He passed away in Taitō  Ward, Tokyo at the age of 90. His grave is at the Zōjō-ji Temple in Shiba, Minato Ward, Tokyo. The Japanese Wikipedia entry states that he was posthumously honored as the Fifth Generation Utagawa Toyokuni 五歌川豊国 in 1972. However, this conflicts with reports that Utagawa Kunimasa IV 四代 歌川国政 (1848–1920) was also known as Utagawa Toyokuni V.

Signatures and Seals of the Artist (a sampling)


Ichiōsai Kunimatsu with

Kunimatsu seal

 国枩 Kunimatsu with Toshidama seal

 國松絵Kunimatsu-e with Kunimatsu seal

國松 Kunimatsu seal

国枩画 Kunimatsu ga with Toshidama seal

 歌川国松Utagawa Kunimatsu (appearing on from publisher's seal)

国枩 Kunimatsu with 福堂

Fukudō seal

著画 歌川国松

choga Utagawa Kunimatsu (appearing on publisher's seal)

gakō Utagawa Kunimatsu (appearing on publisher's seal)

IHL Cat. #833

last revision:12-26-2023

Prints in Collection


click on thumbnail for print details