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Isoda Koryūsai



Isoda Koryūsai was born around 1735, likely near Tsuchiura, to an impoverished family of samurai associated with the Tsuchiya clan. When the head of the clan died, Isoda renounced his samurai title and moved to the Yagenbori neighborhood of Edo (now Tokyo). He likely trained under the ukiyo-e master Suzuki Harunobu, as Isoda’s first works produced around 1769 took inspiration from his style and inclusion of samurai themes. After Harinobu died in 1770, Isoda’s production of ukiyo-e prints, specifically of geishas and courtesans, was prolific in order to fulfill the commercial demand left by the death of his teacher. Isoda produced the “New Year Patterns for Young Leaves” series of more than 100 prints from the mid-1770s until 1782, the same year he received the title of hokkyō, the highest honorar granted to Buddhist artists by religious authorities. There are 2,500 known works by Isoda, including at least 350 of his specialty hashira-e pillar prints—some art historians contend that he may have been the most productive artist of the 18th century. Isoda Koryūsai died in 1790.

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