Ochiai Yoshiiku (落合芳幾)

Yoshiiku OCHIAI (1833 - February 6, 1904) was an ukiyoe artist and newspaperman in the end of Edo period to the Meiji period. His family name was Ochiai and his name was Ikujiro. His artist's family name was Utagawa and his artist's appellation was Ikkeisai (一恵斎, 一蕙斎), Keisai (蕙斎), Asaakero (朝霞樓).

He was a disciple of Kuniyoshi UTAGAWA and Yoshitoshi TSUKIOKA was his fellow disciple. He was as popular as Yoshitoshi as an ukiyoe artist at a time, and he also took part in publishing newspaper as a newspaperman and an illustrator.

Brief Personal History

He was born in Amigasajaya in Nihonzutsumishita in April 1833. He was fond of painting and became a disciple of Kuniyoshi UTAGAWA when he was 17 or 18 years old. He lost his wife and children in the Ansei Great Earthquakes in 1855, but he made nishikie (colored woodblock prints) of disastrous scenes of Yoshiwara and he became famous. Kuniyoshi died in 1861 and Yoshiiku became one of excellent ukiyoe artists in the end of Edo period to the early Meiji period. Niyo HIGUCHI wrote that Yoshiiku was at the height of his prosperity in the Bunkyu and Keio eras. In 1866, he vied with fellow disciple Yoshitoshi UTAGAWA and published 'Eimeinijuhatishuku' which gained popularity.

However, the interest of Yoshiiku was not limited to ukiyoe. Together with Denpei JYONO and Densuke NISHIDA, he became promoters of 'Tokyo Nichinichi Newspaper' in 1872 and he began writing nishikie (a color woodblock print) shinbun (newspaper) in nishikie shinbun "Tokyo Nichinichi Newspaper", leading proliferation of nishikie shinbun.

He was also involved in publication of 'Hiragana Eiri Shinbun (Hiragana Illustrated Newspaper)' (later Tokyo Eiri Shinbun) in 1875 and worked as an illustrator for this newspaper. He also participated in publication of 'Kabuki Shinpo' and drew realistic illustrations of actors. He was devoted to newspaper business in and after 1877 and did not produce nishikie much. He liked witticism and was good-natured, but was misfortunate in his later years after retiring from the newspaper business. He died in Honjo Taiheicho on February 6, 1904. His posthumous Buddhist name was Juzenin Yoshiiku Nikkaku Koji (従善院芳幾日確居士).

Main Masterpieces

'Eimeinijuhatishuku'

He vied with Yoshitoshi to draw a set of large-sized nishikie (colored woodblock prints) called chimidoro-e (bloody painting), zankoku-e (cruel painting) and muzan-e (atrocity prints).
1866 to 1867

Kurabegoshi-yukiyanagiyu' Bijinga (a type of ukiyo-e portraying beautiful women)

Shinshagekka no sugatae', a set of large-sized nishikie (colored woodblock prints), in 1867.

Haiyu shashin kagami' a set of large-sized nishikie (colored woodblock prints), in 1870.

Shinbun nishikie (newspaper with brocade pictures)

- A series of publications of nishiki-e for articles of "Tokyo Nichinichi Newspaper"
1874 to 1876