Last updated

Benizuri-e (紅刷絵, "crimson printed pictures") are a type of "primitive" ukiyo-e style Japanese woodblock prints. They were usually printed in pink (beni) and green, occasionally with the addition of another color, either printed or added by hand.

The production of benizuri-e reached its peak in the early 1740s. Torii Kiyohiro, Torii Kiyomitsu I, Torii Kiyonobu I, Okumura Masanobu, Nishimura Shigenaga, and Ishikawa Toyonobu are the artists most closely associated with benizuri-e.

Related Research Articles

Suzuki Harunobu Japanese Ukiyo-e artist

Suzuki Harunobu was a Japanese designer of woodblock print art in the Ukiyo-e style. He was an innovator, the first to produce full-color prints (nishiki-e) in 1765, rendering obsolete the former modes of two- and three-color prints. Harunobu used many special techniques, and depicted a wide variety of subjects, from classical poems to contemporary beauties. Like many artists of his day, Harunobu also produced a number of shunga, or erotic images. During his lifetime and shortly afterwards, many artists imitated his style. A few, such as Harushige, even boasted of their ability to forge the work of the great master. Much about Harunobu's life is unknown.

Torii Kiyonaga

Torii Kiyonaga was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist of the Torii school. Originally Sekiguchi Shinsuke, the son of an Edo bookseller, from Motozaimokuchō Itchōme in Edo, he took on Torii Kiyonaga as an art name. Although not biologically related to the Torii family, he became head of the group after the death of his adoptive father and teacher Torii Kiyomitsu.


Yakusha-e (役者絵), often referred to as "actor prints" in English, are Japanese woodblock prints or, rarely, paintings, of kabuki actors, particularly those done in the ukiyo-e style popular through the Edo period (1603–1867) and into the beginnings of the 20th century. Most strictly, the term yakusha-e refers solely to portraits of individual artists. However, prints of kabuki scenes and of other elements of the world of the theater are very closely related, and were more often than not produced and sold alongside portraits.

The Torii school was a school of ukiyo-e painting and printing founded in Edo. The primary producers of kabuki theater signboards and other promotional materials, the Torii were among those whose work led to the development of ukiyo-e. Their style was one of the primary influences in the ukiyo-e depiction of actors and kabuki scenes for much of the 18th century. Still today, kabuki signboards are sometimes painted by members of the Torii family.

Torii Kiyomitsu

Torii Kiyomitsu was a painter and printmaker of the Torii school of Japanese ukiyo-e art; the son of Torii Kiyonobu II or Torii Kiyomasu II, he was the third head of the school, and was originally called Kamejirō before taking the Kiyomitsu. Dividing his work between actor prints and bijinga, he primarily used the benizuri-e technique prolific at the time, which involved using one or two colors of ink on the woodblocks rather than hand-coloring; full-color prints would be introduced later in Kiyomitsu's career, in 1765.

Torii Kiyomasu II

Torii Kiyomasu II was a Japanese ukiyo-e painter and woodblock printmaker of the Torii school, a specialist, like the rest of the Torii artists, in billboards and other images for the promotion of the kabuki theatres. Scholars are unsure as to Kiyomasu II's relation to the original Kiyomasu who came a few decades earlier; they may have been close relations, or master and student, or they may have been the same man.

Ukiyo-e artists may be organized into schools, which consist of a founding artist and those artists who were taught by or strongly influenced by him. Artists of the Osaka school are united both stylistically and geographically. Not all of these artists designed woodblock prints, and some ukiyo-e artists had more than one teacher, and others are not known to be associated with any particular school.

Utagawa Yoshitaki

Utagawa Yoshitaki, who is also known as Ichiyōsai Yoshitaki, was a Japanese designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints who was active in both Edo (Tokyo) and Osaka. He was also a painter and newspaper illustrator. His father was a paste merchant, and Yoshitaki became a student of Utagawa Yoshiume (1819–1879). Yoshitaki was the most prolific designer of woodblock prints in Osaka from the 1860s to the 1880s, producing more than 1,200 different prints, almost all of kabuki actors.

An ōkubi-e is a Japanese portrait print or painting in the ukiyo-e genre showing only the head or the head and upper torso. Katsukawa Shunkō I (1743–1812) is generally credited with producing the first ōkubi-e. He, along with Katsukawa Shunshō, designed ōkubi-e of male kabuki actors. In the early-1790s, Utamaro designed the first ōkubi-e of beautiful women. The shogunate authorities banned ōkubi-e in 1800, but the ban was lifted after eight years.

Shunbaisai Hokuei

Shunbaisai Hokuei, also known as Shunkō III, was a designer of ukiyo-e style Japanese woodblock prints in Osaka, and was active from about 1824 to 1837. He was a student of Shunkōsai Hokushū. Hokuei’s prints most often portray the kabuki actor Arashi Rikan II.

Ryūkōsai Jokei

Ryūkōsai Jokei was a designer of ukiyo-e-style Japanese woodblock prints, painter, and illustrator in Osaka, who was active from about 1777 to 1809. He was a student of Shitomi Kangetsu (1747–1797), who in turn was the son and pupil of Tsukioka Settei (1710–1786). Ryūkōsai is considered to be either the founder or one of the founders of the Osaka school of ukiyo-e. He is best known for his biting portraits of actors. His prints are mostly in the hosoban format.

Ishikawa Toyonobu

Ishikawa Toyonobu was a Japanese ukiyo-e print artist. He is sometimes said to have been the same person as Nishimura Shigenobu, a contemporary ukiyo-e artist and student of Nishimura Shigenaga about whom very little is known.

Utagawa Toyoharu

Utagawa Toyoharu was a Japanese artist in the ukiyo-e genre, known as the founder of the Utagawa school and for his uki-e pictures that incorporated Western-style geometrical perspective to create a sense of depth.


Shini-e, also called "death pictures" or "death portraits", are Japanese woodblock prints, particularly those done in the ukiyo-e style popular through the Edo period (1603–1867) and into the beginnings of the 20th century

<i>Actor Arashi Rikan II as Osome</i>

Actor Arashi Rikan II as Osome is an ukiyo-e woodblock print by Osaka print artist Ryūsai Shigeharu. It depicts late Edo period kabuki actor, Arashi Rikan II as the lead female character in a scene from a popular play of the period. The print belongs to the permanent collection of the Prince Takamado Gallery of Japanese Art in the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada.

Ryusai Shigeharu

Ryūsai Shigeharu (柳窗重春/柳斎重春) (1802–1853) was an Osaka-based Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock print artist active during the first half of the nineteenth century. A member of the Utagawa school, he was one of a very select group of kamigata-e print artists who were able to support themselves solely as professional artists.

<i>Actor Nakamura Shikan II as Satake Shinjuro</i>

Actor Nakamura Shikan II as Satake Shinjūrō is an ukiyo-e woodblock print by Osaka-based late Edo period print designer Shungyōsai Hokusei. It depicts celebrated kabuki actor Nakamura Shikan II as a character in the play Keisei Asoyama Sakura. The print belongs to the permanent collection of the Prince Takamado Gallery of Japanese Art in the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada.

Shunshosai Hokucho

Shunshosai Hokuchō was a Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock print artist active in the Osaka area during the first half of the nineteenth century. He was a member of the Shunkōsai Fukushū school of artists, and studied under Shunkōsai Hokushū (春好斎北洲). His original surname was Inoue (井上), and he used the art names Shunsho (春曙) (1822-1824), Hokuchō (北頂) (1824-1830), Inoue Shunshosai (井上春曙斎).

Nishimura Shigenaga

Nishimura Shigenaga was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist.

Torii Kiyohiro Japanese painter

Torii Kiyohiro was a Japanese artist of the Torii school of ukiyo-e.