Utagawa Kunisada II

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Signatures of Kunisada I (left) and Kunisada II (center and right)
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Utagawa".

Utagawa Kunisada II (歌川国定)(1823–1880) was a Japanese ukiyo-e printmaker, one of three to take the name "Utagawa Kunisada."

A pupil of Utagawa Kunisada I, he signed much of his early work "Baidō Kunimasa III." He took the name Kunisada after marrying his master's eldest daughter in 1846. He changed his name once more following his master's death, to Toyokuni III. However, since there were three artists called Toyokuni before him, Kunisada II is now often known as Toyokuni IV.

Kunisada II is renowned for his prints. His favourite subjects were pleasure-houses and tea ceremonies. These themes are sometimes found together in some of his prints, as geishas usually acted as chaperones at tea-houses.


Kunisada II usually signed prints either 国貞画 (Kunisada ga, drawn by Kunisada) or 国貞筆 (Kunisada hitsu, from the brush of Kunisada). He did not sign prints “Kunisada II”. His signature may be distinguished from that of Kunisada I in that the sada kanji is straight in the signature of Kunisada I, but angular in the signature of Kunisada II (see figure).

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