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Biography: Gyokutei YOSHIMINE (玉亭芳峰)

Utagawa Yoshimine 1857 Senryo tazuna
Utagawa Yoshimine print from 8/1857
Onoe Tamizô II, Arashi Kichisaburô III, and
Arashi Rikaku II in Senryô tazuna koi no somekomi

Yoshimine signature-3Yoshimine signatureGyokutei Yoshimine signatureGyokutei Yoshimine (玉亭芳峰 also 芳峯), active from around the mid-1850s to the late 1880s, designed a small number of yakusha-e (actor prints: 役者絵), sensô-e (war prints: 戦争絵), and surimono (privately issued specialty prints: 摺物), as well as illustrations for nishiki-e shinbun (color-picture newspapers: 錦絵新聞) and shôsetsu (novels: 小説). Beyond the surmise that he was apparently a pupil of Ichiôsai Yoshiume (一鶯齋芳梅 1819–79), we know little else about Yoshimine.

More research is needed about the career of Yoshimine, but it appears that most of his production of nishiki-e (full-color woodblock prints: 錦絵) spanned about twenty-five years from the mid-1850s to the late 1870s. These were primarily of two types: yakusha-e and sensô-e, the latter scenes from the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, most often with the heroic Saigô Takamori [Takanaga] (西郷隆盛 [隆永], 1828-1877) as the featured attraction. Otherwise, Yoshimine designed a few, very rare oversized surimono with images accompanied by poems.

A rare ôban-format design by Yoshimine, and a fairly early work by him, is shown at the left. The actors (UR) Onoe Tamizô II (尾上多見蔵) as [mago, pack horse driver: 馬子] Edohei (江戸平); (LR) Arashi Kichisaburô III as (嵐吉三郎) as [modoriuma, "return-route" pack-horse driver, 戻り馬] Hachizô (八蔵); and (LL) Arashi Rikaku II (嵐璃珏) as [yakko, servant, 奴] Ippei (逸平) are depicted in a "tug-o'-war" scene from a performance of Senryô tazuna koi no somekomi (A thousand gold coins and love for a colorfully dyed bridle: 千金手綱恋染込) staged at the Naka Theater, Osaka in 8/1857. For more, see the link at the end of this text.

The 1880s were apparently a time when Yoshimine focused on illustrations for fiction books, especially shôsetsu (novels: 小説) written by Udagawa Bunkai (宇田川文海 1848-1930). The publisher for these works was Shinshindô (駸々堂), who issued the books both in Osaka and Kyoto.

Yoshimine's Names

Utagawa (歌川)
Takebe (武部)

Personal Name (jinmei):
Yasubei (安兵衛)

Art Names (geimei):
Yoshimine (芳峰) see signature above with the red background
Yoshimine (芳峯) most often seen on title pages or colophons for Yoshimine's book illustrations

Art Pseudonyms ():
Gyokutei (玉亭) see signature above with the yellow-green background
Kyokutei (旭亭) most often seen with Yoshimine's book illustrations
Ichibaisai (一梅齋)
Kochôrô (胡蝶樓)

Pupils of Gyokutei Yoshimine

So far, no artists have been identified as pupils of Yoshimine.

For more information about Gyokutei Yoshimine, see John Fiorillo's web page: