|Died||1868 (aged 81–82)|
Gakutei was born in Osaka around 1786, though his exact year of birth is somewhat unclear. He was the illegitimate son of the samurai known as Hirata who served under the Tokugawa shogunate. Gakutei's mother later married into the Yashima clan, explaining the artist's name. For some time, he worked in Osaka, focusing chiefly on woodblock prints called surimono in addition to book illustrations. Most of what is known about Gakutei has been surmised from the subjects and context of his work.
Gakutei is noted for the quality in his wood printing works and for his general contributions to the body of ukiyo-e artwork. Specifically, critics have noted his technical prowess and precision, his skill in embossing, and that his specialization in surimono exceeded that of his teacher, Hokkei. Some of his work included a set of five woodblock prints featuring young women performing gagaku, a traditional kind of court music from the Heian period. Each woman plays an instrument: a reed called a shō, a woodwind called a ryūteki, a koto, a stringed instrument called a biwa, and a drum called a tsuri-daiko. Gakutei also illustrated an entire book called the Kyōka Suikoden (狂歌水滸伝) related to the translated Chinese novel Suikoden. Gakutei also created landscapes and seascapes for books, which are rare pieces amongst Hokusai's pupils.
Gakutei is also known for his prolific writing; he wrote many humorous poems called kyōka and used them in his artwork and prints. Additionally, he was responsible for a Japanese translation of Journey to the West, for which he also completed illustrations.
A woman playing a large suspended drum, a surimono woodblock print from Gakutei, circa 1827.
Untitled, a woodblock print embossed on paper, circa 19th century, illustrating the Kagerō Nikki.
Sennin Ôkyô, a woodblock print in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 1821 and 1822
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