One of the last recognized masters of ukiyo-e, few other printmakers ever matched Kuniyoshi's detail and artistry, and his ability to capture the passion and intensity of famous warriors.
Kuniyoshi was born and raised in Edo (modern day Tokyo) during the final phase of the Tokugawa Shogunate. His father worked as a silk dyer, so Kuniyoshi was exposed to the arts at a young age. In his early teens, he worked as an apprentice for the renowned woodblock print artist Toyokuni.
As a young man, Kuniyoshi developed his own bold and original style. While he designed a variety of subjects, such as landscapes, actors, mythical creatures, and beauties, his favorite theme was samurai. By far, his most famous series was "Seichu gishi den" (Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai), begun in August 1847 and completed in January 1848, based on the true story of the forty-seven ronin. This series is an absolute masterwork and is considered the ultimate forty-seven ronin series among collectors and scholars alike.