Katsukawa Shun'ei (勝川春英) (artist 1762 – 1819)

Isoda (original family name - 磯田)
Kyūjirō (family name - 久次郎)
Kyūtokusai (go - 九徳斎)
Shun'ei (go - 春英)



"Lived in the Shin Izumi-chō, Edo. Pupil of Katsukawa Shunshō. His earliest work is an actor print datable to 1778, but most of his colour prints, mainly of actors but some bijin and sumō wrestler prints as well, are concentrated in the decade between the late 1789s and the late 90s. His hosoban actor prints show a highly individual style - excited and kinetic - in comparison with those of his fellow (but senior) pupil Shunkō, and his ōban series of the 1790s a searching portrayal of psychology that would set the tenor for actor prints of his contemporaries.

Even fewer paintings by Shun'ei are known - perhaps a dozen - than by Shunkō, but in this field, too, he displays interest in exploring a wider range of psychological states than perhaps any of his contemporaries Utamaro included." Quoted from: Ukiyo-e Paintings in the British Museum by Timothy Clark, p. 115.


Katsukawa Shun'ei (c.1762-1819) was Katsukawa Shunsho's most important pupil, giving a modern impetus to the Katsukawa school. By dint of particular emphasis on gesture and facial expression, he gave his yakusha-e enhanced individuality and dramatic power. His influence can be seen to particularly good effect in the work of Toshusai Sharaku and Utagawa Toyokuni. In private, Shun'ei was an eccentric, but he had many friends, among them Shuncho, Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Toyokuni, with all of whom he occasionally collaborated.

Quoted from Centaur Galleries, Las Vegas.


As an illustrator for book publishers

Kunisada drew illustrations for Okumura Genroku in 1784; Matsumuraya Yahei in 1784; Iseya Jisuke in 1791 and 1793; Enomotoya Kichibei in 1793 and 1805; Murataya Jirōbei in 1793 and Iwatoya Genpachi in 1807.