Utagawa Kuninao (歌川国直) (artist mid 1790s - early 1850s)

Dokusuisha ( - 独酔舎)
Enryuro ( - 煙柳楼)
Gosoen ( - 後素園)
Ichiensai ( - 一煙斎)
Ichiyōsai ( - 一楊斎)
Kitsukawa (originally used before Utagawa - 吉川)
Ryūendō ( - 柳烟堂)
Sharakuo ( - 写楽翁)
Shashinsai ( - 写真斎)
Shirobei (family name - 四郎兵衛)
Tountei ( - 東雲亭)
Ukiyoan ( - 浮世庵)



Born in Shinano province. Originally studied Ming and Qing painting, but after that he went to Edo to study with Toyokuni I. Later he became a follower of Hokusai.

"Utagawa Kuninao is an ukiyoe artist who illustrated more than two hundred booklets, amongst which Santō Kyōden and Takizawa Bakin’s works." This information was taken from a pdf file from a library at the University of Cambridge.


"[Tamenaga] Shunsui and Kuninao are known to have lived next door to each other, and from around 1807 (Bunka 4) they collaborated on gōkan."

Quoted from: "The development of Eisen's bijin-ga style in relation to the Utagawa actor-likeness prints" by Sawako Takemura Chang, Andon, April 2019, p. 74.

"The closeness of these literary and artistic circles is seen in Kuninao's own connections: Kuninao's brother was Shuntei Sangyō (active 1820s-30s), a popular writer and pupil of Shikitei Sanba (1776-1822), himself a successful writer of kokkeibon (picaresque novels). (Ibid., p. 75)


Andreas Marks noted that "... in the first half of the 1810s Kunisada himself could not maintain his position as leading book illustrator. Other students of Toyokuni, such as Utagawa Kunimaru 歌川国丸 (1794–1829) and especially Utagawa Kuninao I 歌川国直 (1793–1854) clearly dominated this field. From 1819 on, when Kunisada again became the most often employed illustrator of books, he would maintain his leading position in this field for many years to come."


As an illustrator for book publishers

Kuninao drew illustrations for Kawachiya Genshichi in 1810 and 1816; Tsuruya Kiemon in 1812-13, 1815-16, 1818-20 and 1833; Tōeidō in 1814; Tsuruya Kinsuke in 1813-14, 1818-19 and 1822-23; Nishimuraya Yohachi in 1812, 1814-15 and 1822; Nishinomiya Shinroku in 1814-16; Murataya Jirōbei in 1814; Yamamotoya Heikichi in 1821-24; Iwatoya Kisaburō in 1818, 1822-23, 1826 and 1830; Takeuchi Magohachi in 1835; and Yamadaya Sasuke in 1844.