Toyokuni II:- facts and fiction


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Posted by Theo de Kreijger on May 20, 2003 at 21:21:55:

Dear all,

I think it's time to get some more facts and less fiction about this artist. If possible with references and scans. Some examples:

Example 1: it has been long thought that Toyoshige used the signature Toyokuni with the "zig-zag" character for "Toyo" in contrast to Toyokuni I. But a lot of kabuki prints with zig-zag signatures have been dated before the death of Toyokuni I.

Example 2: I personally thought that the designs of "squashed" onagata (short, odd physical appearences, mostly when sitting) indecated fieble designs by Toyokuni II (also in combination with zig-zag signatures). Several prints which have been dated before Toyokuni I's death, showed the same awkward designs. So it seems that Toyokuni II was at least not responsible for inventing these strange body deformations.

Some of my questions are: when exactly did Toyoshige give up the name Toyokuni and changed back to signing Toyoshige? Did he indeed move to another city at that time? What drove him to do that?

Thanks,

Theo


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