Miyagi Gengyo (宮城玄魚) (artist 1817 – 1880)

Baisotei (go - 梅素亭)
Fūen (go - 楓園)
Katōshi (go - 蝌蚪子)
Suisenshi (go - 水仙子)
Baiso Gengyo (go - 梅素玄魚)



The curatorial files at the British Museum say: "Common name: Miyagi Kisaburo. He had numerous pen-names, including ‘Baisotei’, ‘Seiken’, ‘Fuen’ and ‘Suisenshi’. The son of a scroll mounter, in his youth he was employed by an antique dealer, but he left that profession to concentrate on the design of surimono and covers for ‘kusazoshi’. After the great earthquake of 1855 he designed a large number of caricatures, including prints of catfish, which are said to have sold extremely well. Following this, he designed many satirical pictures. He was not a pure ‘ukiyo-e’ artist but he had a very close connection with that school. Born in Bunka 14 (1817), he died in Meiji 13 (1880) at the age of 64."

In an article in Andon 96 by Herwig, Vos and Griffith it says: "From what little we know of Miyagi Gengyo (1817-1880) it seems that he made a living as a copyist and writer, and was also a skillful haikai poet, having studied haikai under the poets Kojima Dalbai (1772-1841) and Morimura Hōgi (1805-1862). In painting he was self-taught, and although not a pure ukiyo-e artist, he nevertheless had a close connection to that school. The present series was the beginning of collaboration between Gengyo and Kunisada that would be continued in the 1860s, with Gengyo designing simple backgrounds for several of Kunisada's actor print series."

In footnote 11 of that same article on page 61 it is pointed out that Andreas Marks noted that Gengyo produced a number of catfish (namazu) prints after the great quake of 1855. Gengyo's connection with Kunisada is made clearer because this minor artist was one of five who contributed poems engraved on Kunisada's memorial stone.