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Utagawa Kuniaki II
Japanese Edo Woodblock Prints
Utagawa Kuniaki II (1835-1888)
Sources: A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 95; The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing Company, 2005, Volume 2, p. 503.
Utagawa Kuniaki II, was born to the Hirasawa (or Hirazawa) family and later adopted by the Hachisuka family.1 His familiar name was Onojirō. He was the younger brother of, or perhaps the same person as, the artist known as Utagawa Kuniaki I and the same prints are sometimes attributed to one or the other. He studied with Utagawa Kunisada I (1786–1865) and in addition to Kuniaki 国明 he used the artist names (gō) Hōsai, Ippōsai , Ichiosai, Onojirō and Hachisuka.
His genre included prints of wrestlers (sumo-e), actors (yakusha-e), beauties (bijin-ga) and westerners (Yokohama-e). While considered a minor artist of his time, his print The Wrestler Onaruto Nadaemon of Awa Province (see below) became famous, as it is pictured in Manet's 1868 portrait of Emile Zola (see below.)