Totoya Hokkei (魚屋北渓) (artist 1780 – 1850)

Hatsugorō (nickname - 初五郎)
Hokkei (go - 北渓)
Kien (go - 葵園)
Kikō (go - 葵岡)
Kin'emon (nickname - 金右衛門)
Iwakubo Tatsuyuki (family name - 岩窪辰行)



Born lived and died in Edo (present day Tokyo).


"Totoya Hokkei 魚屋北渓 (1780-1850) was one of Hokusai's most successful and prolific pupils in the genre of surimono and book illustration. The name Totoya, literally 'fishmonger', reveals his plebeian upbringing, but from an early age he was apprenticed to the Kanō school painter Yōsen'in (1753-1808). By 1799 he was already working in the Hokusai studio and by the late 1810s had established himself as a surimono designer and painter of note. He remained stylistically indebted to his teacher. Hokkei worked closely with his teacher on the compilation of the early volumes of the Hokusai manga from the mid- to late 1810s, and thereby became intimately acquainted with the Hokusai drawing style. Nevertheless, by the late 1820s he was producing some of hte most compositionally and technically complex surimono ever made, and the various series he designed on East Asian literary, historical and legendary topics reveals that he was a match for the most intellectually challenging assignments. His best surimono compositions reveal a healthy sense of humour and an innovative visual imagination. He was also an expert painter. Many of the works bearing his signature are uncannily like works by he master himself, sometimes even excelling them in technical prowess.

By the 1820s, after Shunman's death and after Hokusai had ceased from taking on major surimono commissions, Hokkei and Gakutei established themselves as the primary surimono designers of heir generation. Hokkei cultivated a discerning clientele that included samurai intellectuals and scholars immersed in the Kokugaku (National Learning) movement dedicated to the study of Japanese classics and indigenous religious philosophy."

Quoted from: Reading Surimono: The Interplay of Text and Image in Japanese Prints, edited by John T. Carpenter, p. 202.