Utagawa Toyokuni II (二代目歌川豊国) (artist 1777 – 1835)

Genzō (nickname - 源蔵)
Gosotei or Kōsotei ( 後素亭)
Ichibetsusai ( - 一鼈斎)
Ichiesai ( - 一瑛斎)
Ichiryūsai ( - 一龍斎)
Kunishige ( - 国重)
Gosotei Toyokuni ( 後素亭豊国)
Utagawa Toyoshige (歌川豊重)



"Lived in Hongō in Edo working as a pottery dealer. Pupil and son-in-law of Toyokuni. After the death of his master in 1825, called himself Toyokuni II but was challenged by other followers of Toyokuni and changed his name to Toyoshige. From 1826 signed Toyokuni or Gosotei Toyokuni, commonly known as Hongō Toyokuni after the district in which he lived. In later years, resumed name of Toyoshige. His prints of actors and bijin in Toyokuni's manner, and often confused with his work, have little merit, but in his landscape series, which owe much to Hokuju and Hokusai, he can be compared to Hiroshige. Also illustrated storybooks."

Quoted from: A Dictionary of Japanese Artists... by Laurance P. Roberts, pp. 186-187.


The British Museum says of this artist: "Painter and print artist. Lived in Hongo Haruki-cho (c. 1828). Pupil of Toyokuni I, adopted by him in the New Year of 1824, or before. Earliest works c. 1823. Known for prints of actors and 'bijin' and illustrations for 'gokan'. In 1825 assumed the name Toyokuni II on the death of Toyokuni I. In early 1830s designed some fine landscape prints and did a few paintings. No works known after c. 1835 and is assumed to have died or given up painting. Said to have run a pottery business, but this is not proven."


Did Toyokuni II really marry Toyokuni I's daughter and was he adopted into his family?

Andreas Marks wrote in his doctoral thesis in a footnote on Toyoshige/Toyokuni II: "Toyoshige is sometimes erroneously described as Toyokuni’s son-inlaw, but Toyokuni’s only daughter Okin おきん married in 1826 a Watanabe Ihei 渡辺伊兵衛... Very little is known about Toyoshige and many questions remain. As his first illustrated book was only published in 1825, what could he have done before? Are Toyoshige and Toyokuni’s disciple Kunishige 国重, of whom only one illustrated book from 1817 is known, the same persons? Why did Toyokuni adopt him, if at all? Did Toyokuni’s family pass the name Toyokuni onto him or did he ‘take’ it as Toyokuni’s granddaughter Ume claimed..."


For whatever reason, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston give his dates at ca. 1802 to 1835.


As an illustrator for book publishers

Toyoshige drew illustrations for Bunhōdō in 1825; Nishimuraya Yohachi in 1826; Tsuruya Kiemon in 1826 and 1831; Moriya Jihei in 1826-27; Yamamotoya Heikichi in 1827-28 and 1833; Iwatoya Kisaburō in 1828-29 and 1831; Izumiya Ichibei in 1832.