Hiroshige

Signatures of Ukiyo-e Artists

Kanji characters with examples

© Hans Olof Johansson 2000-2003

Kunisada

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The signature on a Japanese ukiyo-e print is not handwritten, and its sole purpose is to tell us the name of the artist who designed the image. Unlike the signatures on modern art prints, it should never be interpreted as a proof of genuineness.

Usually, an artist's signature is a combination of kanji characters, arranged in vertical groups, that are read downwards, from right to left. Very often the signature only consists of one vertical group: two characters, followed by a suffix: ga or hitsu ('designed by', see the examples below).

The list below contains a number of the most common kanji characters in ukiyo-e signatures, as well as some less frequent ones. They have been arranged alphabetically, according to their pronunciation. Please note, however, that most of these characters can also be pronounced in a number of other ways, and that many other characters can have a pronunciation identical to anyone of these. In many instances, two artists' names can be pronounced exactly the same, but they are written with different kanji characters - a potential cause of confusion in non-Japanese reference works.

This list is by no means complete or comprehensive. There are, of course, hundreds or even thousands of other names that could be included. Hopefully, it can be of some use as it is now, and it is my ambition to expand it by adding more signature examples.

 

 


Character Artist Signatures
AKI

Names:
Kuniaki

(See also MEI)
 
ASHI

Names:
Ashiharu, Ashihiro, Ashikiyo, Ashikuni, Ashinuki, Ashitomo, Ashiyuki
Ashiyuki
(active ca 1814-1833)
Ca 1830

Gigadô Ashiyuki ga
 
BUN

Names:
Bunchô, Bunrô
Bunchô
(active ca 1765-1792)


Ippitsusai Bunchô ga
 
CHIKA

Names:
Chikanobu, Chikashige
Kunichika
Chikanobu
(1838-1912)
1884

Yôshû
Chikanobu
hitsu
(with toshidama
seal)
1895
Yôshû Chikanobu
Yôshû
Chikanobu
 
Chikashige
(active second half of 19th century)
Ca 1880

Morikawa Chikashige ga (with toshidama seal)
 
CHIKA

Names:
Kiyochika
 
CHÔ

Names:
Chôki

(See also NAGA)
Chôki
(active ca 1785-1805)


Chôki ga
 
CHÔ

Names:
Bunchô, Shûchô
 
CHÔ

Names:
Hokuchô
 
CHÔ

Names:
Senchô
 
CHÔ

Names:
Shunchô
 


Names:
Shundô
 
EI
EI
Names:
Eisen, Eishô, Eizan
Hokuei, Shunei

(See also HIDE)
Eisen
(1790-1848)
Ca 1825
Keisai Eisen ga
Keisai Eisen ga
 
Eizan
(1787-1867)


Kikugawa Eizan hitsu
 
EI

Names:
Eiju, Eiri, Eishi, Eishô, Eisui
Shunei
Eishi
(1756-1829)
1790s

Eishi zu
 
Eishô
(active ca 1780-1800)
Ca 1795

Chôkôsai Eishô ga
 
FUJI

Names:
Yoshifuji
 
FUSA

Names:
Fusatane
Morofusa, Sadafusa
Fusatane
(active ca 1850-1870)
1854

Fusatane ga
 
GIN

Names:
Ginkô
Ginkô
(active 1874-1897)


Shôsai Ginkô
 
GYÔ (KYÔ)

Names:
Gyôsai (Kyôsai)
Gyôsai
(1831-1889)
a k a Kyôsai
1864

Gyôsai
 
GYOKU

Names:
Gyokusai
Gyokusai
1868

Gyokusai ga
 
HARU
HARU
Names:
Harumasa, Harunobu, Harushige
Kiyoharu, Kuniharu, Nobuharu, Sadaharu, Shigeharu, Toyoharu, Yoshiharu

(See also SHUN)
Harunobu
(1724-1770)

Suzuki
Harunobu ga
 
HARU

Names:
Ashiharu

 
HIDE

Names:
Hidemaro
Sadahide, Toyohide

 
HIDE

Names:
Hidekuni
Toshihide

(See also EI)
 
HIRO
HIRO
Names:
Hirokage, Hirokuni, Hironobu, Hirosada, Hiroshige
Ashihiro, Kiyohiro, Kunihiro, Nobuhiro, Sadahiro, Shigehiro, Toyohiro
Hirokage
(active ca 1855-1865)
1859

Hirokage ga
 
Hirosada
(active ca 1820-1863)


Hirosada (with seal)
 
Hiroshige (I)
(1797-1858)
Ca 1833

Hiroshige ga
Ca 1845

Hiroshige ga
1858

Hiroshige ga
 
Hiroshige II
(1826-1869)
a k a Shigenobu, Risshô
1858

Nidaime Hiroshige
Early 1860s

Hiroshige ga
 
Hiroshige III
(1843-1894)
1868

Ôju Hiroshige gibitsu
 
HISA

Names:
Kunihisa, Toyohisa

 

HÔ
Names:
Hôsai

(See also TOYO)
Hôsai (1848-1920)
a k a Kunisada III


Kôchôrô Hôsai ga (with Toshidama seal)
1895

Hôsai Baidô hitsu (with Toshidama seal)
1899

Kôchôrô Hôsai hitsu (with seal Baidô)
 
Hôsai (1858-1923)
a k a Yoshikage


Hôsai ga
 

HÔ
Names:
Hôryû

(See also YOSHI)
 
HOKU

Names:
Hokuchô, Hokuei, Hokuju, Hokumei, Hokusai, Hokushô, Hokushû
Hokuei
(active ca 1825-1837)
Ca 1835

Shumbaisai Hokuei ga
 
Hokuju
(active 1789-1818)


Shôtei Hokuju ga
 
Hokusai
(1760-1849)
Ca 1830

Zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu
 
ICHI

Names:
Ikkei
Ikkei
(active ca 1870s)
1872

Shôsai Ikkei hitsu (with seal)
 
IKU

Names:
Yoshiiku
 


Names:
Shunjô
 
JU

Names:
Eiju, Hokuju, Shunju
 
KAGE

Names:
Kagematsu, Kagetoshi
Hirokage, Kunikage, Sadakage

(See also KEI)
Kagematsu
(active 1830s-1840s)
1841

Ipp˘sai Kagematsu hitsu
 
KATSU

Names:
Nobukatsu, Shigekatsu
 
KAZU

Names:
Kunikazu, Yoshikazu
 
KEI

Names:
Ikkei

(See also KAGE)
 
KI

Names:
Chôki
 
KI

Names:
Ashiyuki
 
KIYO

Names:
Kiyochika, Kiyoharu, Kiyohiro, Kiyokuni, Kiyomasa, Kiyomasu, Kiyomitsu, Kiyonaga, Kiyonobu, Kiyosada, Kiyoshige, Kiyotada
Ashikiyo
Kiyochika
(1847-1915)
1884

Shinsei Kobayashi Kiyochika (with seal: shinsei)
 
Kiyohiro
(active 1737-1776)


Torii Kiyohiro hitsu
 
Kiyomasu (I)
(active ca 1696-1716)

Torii uji Kiyomasu zu
 
Kiyomasu II
(1706-1763)

Kiyomasu ga
 
Kiyomine (I)
(1787-1868)
a k a Kiyomitsu II
1807

Kiyomine ga
1811

Torii ni-daime Kiyomasu zu ôbô (?) go-daime Kiyomine ga
 
Kiyomitsu (I)
(1735-1785)


Torii Kiyomitsu ga
 
Kiyonaga
(1752-1815)


Kiyonaga ga
 
Kiyosada (active ca 1848-1853)
a k a Masunobu
1848 or 1849

Kiyosada aratame Masunobu (in Toshidama cartouche)
 
KO

Names:
Koryûsai
Koryûsai
(active ca 1764-1788)
Late 1770s

Koryûsai ga
 
KO

Names:
Kokunimasa
Kokunimasa
1895

Baidô (?) Kokunimasa hitsu
 


Names:
Shôkôsai, Shunkô
 


Names:
Ginkô
 

KUNI
KUNI
Names:
Kuniaki, Kunichika, Kuniharu, Kunihiro, Kunihisa, Kunikage, Kunikazu, Kunimaro, Kunimaru, Kunimasa, Kunimasu, Kunimitsu, Kunimori, Kuninaga, Kuninao, Kunisada, Kunishige, Kuniteru, Kunitomi, Kunitora, Kunitsuna, Kuniyasu, Kuniyoshi
Ashikuni, Hidekuni, Hirokuni, Kiyokuni, Kokunimasa, Masakuni, Shibakuni, Toyokuni, Yoshikuni
Kuniaki II
(1835-1888)
1877

Ôju Kuniaki (with manji seal)
 
Kunichika
(1835-1900)
1864

Kunichika ga (with seal)
1878

Toyohara Kunichika hitsu (with toshidama seal)
 
Kunihisa
(1832-1891)
1857

Kunihisa ga (in toshidama cartouche)
 
Kunimaro
(active ca 1850-1875)
1865

Kunimaro hitsu
 
Kunimaru
(1794-1829)
 

Kunimaru ga
 
Kunimine
(1861-1944)
1882

Kunimine ga
 
Kuninao
(1793-1854)
 

Kuninao ga
 
Kunisada (I)
(1786-1864)
a k a Toyokuni III
(1844-1864)
Early 1810s

Kunisada ga
Ca 1820

Gototei
Kunisada ga
Ca 1835

Kôchôrô Kunisada ga
1844

Kunisada
aratame ni-dai
Toyokuni ga
Kunisada II
(1823-1880)
  1857

Baichôrô
Kunisada ga
(in
two toshidama
cartouches
   
Kuniteru II
(1829-1874)
a k a Kunitsuna II
1867

Ichiyôsai Kuniteru ga
 
Kunitomi
(active ca 1804-1844)
a k a Tominobu (ca 1820-)
Ca 1820

Kunitomi aratame Kasentei Tominobu
 
Kunitsuna II
(1829-1874)
a k a Kuniteru II


Ichiransai Kunitsuna ga
 
Kuniyasu
(1794-1832)
 

Kuniyasu ga
 
Kuniyoshi
(1798-1861)
  Ca 1840

Ichiyûsai
Kuniyoshi ga
Ca 1845

Ichiyûsai
Kuniyoshi ga

(with kiri seal)
 
MAN

Names:
Shumman

 
MARO

Names:
Hidemaro, Kunimaro, Shigemaro, Utamaro

 
MARU

Names:
Kunimaru, Toyomaru

 
MASA

Names:
Masakuni, Masanobu
Harumasa, Kiyomasa, Kokunimasa, Kunimasa, Nobumasa, Sadamasa, Shigemasa
Masanobu
(1686-1764)
a k a Okumura Masanobu


Hôgetsudô shômei Okumura Bunkaku Masanobu shôhitsu (with seal: Tanchôsai)
 
MASU

Names:
Kiyomasu
 
MASU

Names:
Masunobu
Kunimasu, Sadamasu
Masunobu (active ca 1848-1853)
a k a Kiyosada
1848 or 1849

Kiyosada aratame Masunobu (in Toshidama cartouche)
 
MATSU

Names:
Kagematsu

(See also SHÔ)
 
MEI

Names:
Hokumei

(See also AKI)
 
MINE

Names:
Kiyomine, Kunimine
 
MITSU

Names:
Kiyomitsu, Kunimitsu
 
MITSU

Names:
Shigemitsu
 


Names:
Môsai
Môsai
a k a Yoshitora (active ca 1850-1880)


Môsai ga
 
MORI

Names:
Kunimori, Yoshimori
 
MORO

Names:
Morofusa, Moronobu
 
NAGA

Names:
Nagahide, Nagakuni
Kiyonaga, Kuninaga, Shigenaga

(See also CHÔ)
 
NAO

Names:
Kuninao, Shigenao
 
NOBU

Names:
Nobuharu, Nobuhiro, Nobukatsu, Nobumasa, Nobusada
Harunobu, Hironobu, Kiyonobu, Masanobu, Sadanobu, Shigenobu, Sukenobu, Tominobu, Toshinobu, Toyonobu, Yoshinobu
 
NOBU

Names:
Chikanobu
 
NOBU

Names:
Shigenobu, Toyonobu
 
NUKI

Names:
Ashinuki

 
Ô

Names:
Ôsai
Ôsai
(active ca 1850-1870)


Ôsai ga
 
PÛ (FÛ)

Names:
Shumpûsha

 
RAKU

Names:
Sharaku, Shôraku, Soraku
 
RI

Names:
Eiri
 
RITSU

Names:
Risshô
Risshô
a k a Hiroshige II


Risshô ga
 


Names:
Bunrô
 
RYÛ

Names:
Ryûunsai
Hôryû, Koryûsai
 
SADA

Names:
Sadafusa, Sadaharu, Sadahide, Sadahiro, Sadakage, Sadamasa, Sadamasu, Sadanobu, Sadatora, Sadayoshi
Hirosada, Kiyosada, Kunisada, Nobusada
Sadahide
(1807-1873)


Sadahide ga
 
Sadakage
(active 1820s-1830s)


Gokotei Sadakage ga (with toshidama seal)
 
SAI

Names:
Gyôsai, Gyokusai, Hokusai, Hôsai, Koryûsai, Môsai, Ôsai, Ryûunsai, Shinsai, Shôkôsai
 
SEN

Names:
Senchô
Eisen, Shunsen
Senchô
(active ca 1830-1850)


Teisai Senchô ga
 
SEN

Names:
Shunsen
 
SHA

Names:
Sharaku
Sharaku
(active 1794-1795)


Tôshûsai Sharaku ga
 
SHA

Names:
Shumpûsha
 
SHI

Names:
Eishi
 
SHIBA

Names:
Shibakuni
 
SHIGE

Names:
Shigefusa, Shigeharu, Shigehiro, Shigekatsu, Shigemaro, Shigemasa, Shigemitsu, Shigenaga, Shigenao, Shigenobu
Harushige, Hiroshige, Kiyoshige, Kunishige, Terushige, Toyoshige
Shigeharu
(1803-1853)


Ryûsai Shigeharu ga
 
Shigemitsu
(active ca 1850)


Enrôsai (?) Shigemitsu ga
 
Shigenobu
(1787-1832)


Tôto Yanagawa Shigenobu
 
Shigenobu
a k a Hiroshige II


Ichiryûsai (?) Shigenobu ga
 
SHIN

Names:
Shinsai
Shinsai
(1764?-1820)


Shinsai

Ryûryûkyo Shinsai ga
 
SHÔ

Names:
Eishô, Shunshô
 
SHÔ

Names:
Eishô
 
SHÔ

Names:
Shôkôsai
Hokushô

(See also MATSU)
 
SHÔ

Names:
Risshô
 
SHÔ

Names:
Shunshô

(See also MASU)
 
SHÛ

Names:
Shûchô
 
SHÛ

Names:
Hokushû
 
SHUN (SHUM)
SHUN
Names:
Shunchô,Shundô, Shunei, Shunjô, Shunju, Shunkô, Shumpûsha, Shunsen, Shunshô, Shunsui, Shuntei, Shunzan

(See also HARU)
Shumpûsha
(active late 1850s)
1859

Shumpûsha ga
 
Shunchô
(active ca 1780-1795)

Shunchô ga
 
Shunei
(1762-1819)

Shunei ga
 
Shunkô
(1743-1812)

Shunkô ga
 
Shunsen
(1762-ca 1830)

Katsukawa Shunsen ga
 
Shunshô
(1726-1792)

Katsukawa Shunshô zu (with kakihan)
 
Shunshô
(active ca 1830-1854)
Ca 1845

Kochôen Shunshô ga
 
Shuntei
(1873-1915)
1897

Miyagawa Shuntei (with seal)
 
Shunzan
(active ca 1782-1798)


Shunzan ga
 
SHUN (SHUM)

Names:
Shumman
Shumman
(1757-1820)


Shumman ga
 
SUI

Names:
Eisui, Shunsui
 
SUKE

Names:
Sukenobu
 
TADA

Names:
Kiyotada

 
TAKI

Names:
Yoshitaki

 
TANE

Names:
Fusatane

 
TEI

Names:
Shuntei

 
TEI

Names:
Shuntei

 
TERU

Names:
Terushige
Kuniteru

 
TOMI

Names:
Tominobu
Yoshitomi

Tominobu
(active ca 1804-1844)
a k a Kunitomi (- ca 1820)
Ca 1820

Kunitomi aratame Kasentei Tominobu
 
TOMO

Names:
Ashitomo

 
TORA

Names:
Kunitora, Sadatora, Yoshitora

 
TOSHI

Names:
Toshihide, Toshinobu
Kagetoshi, Yoshitoshi
Toshihide
(1863-1925)
1889

Toshihide ga (with seal)
 
TOSHI

Names:
Toshinobu

 
TOYO
TOYO
Names:
Toyoharu, Toyohide, Toyohiro, Toyohisa, Toyokuni, Toyomaru, Toyomasa, Toyonobu, Toyoshige
Yoshitoyo

(See also HÔ)
Toyohiro
(1773-1828)


Toyohiro ga
 
Toyokuni (I)
(1769-1825)


Toyokuni ga
 
Toyokuni II
(1777-1835)
Ca 1830

Toyokuni ga
 
Toyokuni III
(1786-1864)
a k a Kunisada I (-1844)
1844

Kunisada
aratame nidai
Toyokuni ga
1852

Kôchôrô Toyokuni ga (with toshidama seal)
1857

Toyokuni ga (in
toshidama
cartouche)
 
Toyonobu
(1859-1886)
1884

Toyonobu ga (with toshidama seal)
 
TSUNA

Names:
Kunitsuna
 
TSUYA

Names:
Yoshitsuya
 
UME

Names:
Umekuni
Yoshiume
Umekuni
(active 1823-1826)


Toyokawa Umekuni ga
 
UN

Names:
Ryûunsai
 
UTA

Names:
Utakuni, Utamaro
Utamaro (I)
(1754-1806)
1793

Utamaro ga
Ca 1802

Utamaro hitsu
 
Utamaro II
(?-1831?)


Utamaro hitsu
 
YASU

Names:
Kuniyasu
 
YOSHI
YOSHI
Names:
Yoshifuji, Yoshiharu, Yoshiiku, Yoshikazu, Yoshikuni, Yoshimori, Yoshitaki, Yoshitomi, Yoshitora, Yoshitoshi, Yoshitoyo, Yoshitsuya, Yoshiume

(See also HÔ)
Yoshifuji
(1828-1887)
Ca 1850

Ippôsai Yoshifuji ga
1868

Yoshifuji ga
(the first part with hiragana: yo shi)
 
Yoshiiku
(1833-1904)
1876

Ikkeisai Yoshiiku (with seal: Yoshiiku)
 
Yoshikazu
(active ca 1850-1870)
1855

Ichijusai Yoshikazu (with kiri seal)
 
Yoshimori
(1830-1884)
1865

Ikkôsai Yoshimori giga
 
Yoshitaki
(1841-1899)


Yoshitaki ga
 
Yoshitomi
(active ca 1850s-1870s)
1860

Ichigeisai Yoshitomi ga
 
Yoshitora
(active ca 1850-1880)
a k a Môsai
1863

Yoshitora ga
 
Yoshitoshi
(1839-1892)
1864

Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga
1879

Ôju Yoshitoshi
(Seal: Taiso)
1888

Yoshitoshi
(Seal: Taiso)
 
Yoshitoyo
(1830-1866)
1859

Ichiryûsai
Yoshitoyo ga
 
Yoshitsuya
(1822-1866)
1862

Ichieisai
Yoshitsuya ga
 
YU

Names:
Ashiyuki
 
ZAN (SAN)

Names:
Eizan, Shunzan
 

 

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Updated 2003-04-10