Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎

Kobayashi Toshimitsu (active 1876–1904)

Biographical Data


Kobayashi Toshimitsu 古林年光  (active 1876–1904?)*

The Simple Story

The catalog of the Worcester Art Museum's exhibition In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars1 provides the following profile on Kobayashi Toshimitsu:
Kobayashi Toshimitsu (second half of nineteenth century)
Kobayashi Toshimitsu, an early student of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, designed a small series of battle prints in 1875 "with the assistance of Yoshitoshi," Satsuma Rebellion (1877) prints, and genre scenes.  He is listed as deceased on the 1898 Yoshitoshi memorial.

Prints by an artist identified as Toshimitsu can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Waseda University Library collection and the Hagi Uragami museum.

* The "active" dates are taken from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston online database for the artist Kobayashi Toshimitsu.  Of course, if the artist was "listed as deceased on the 1898 Yoshitoshi memorial," he could not still be active in 1904, hence my added "?" after the 1904 date.

The Not So Simple Story

However, as with a number of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's (1839-1892) students, there is some confusion about the identity of this artist as he used several different artist names () during his career.  In addition, it is possible that several different students of Yoshitoshi’s used the artist name Toshimitsu.  The Japanese Wikipedia entry for 進斎年光 Shinsai Toshimitsu, states that this name was used by a number of Yoshitoshi's disciples and could be any of the following three artists: 小林年参 [Kobayashi Toshikazu], 大月年光 and 福島年光 [Fukushima Toshimitsu].2

Keyes, in his dissertation on Yoshitoshi, provides the following information on two of Yoshitoshi's students with the Toshimitsu:3

Kobayashi Toshimitsu 小林年充, 年参
Gō: Kōsai 高斎
An early pupil who used the name 年充 in 1874 and 年参 on prints in 1875 and 1876; named as an assistant on prints of the mid-1870s; designed a series of small battle pictures in 1875 “with the assistance of Yoshitoshi;” not named on the Kuniyoshi memorial ; named as deceased on the Yoshitoshi memorial (of 1898.)  Possibly the same as the below Toshimitsu.

Kobayashi (or Furubayashi) Toshimitsu 古林年光
PN: Hidenari [actually read Eisei] (栄成)
Kobayashi Eisei 古林栄成 is the name that appears in the publishing seals which provide the "real name" of the artist on prints IHL Cat. #447 and IHL Cat. #448.

Gō: Shinsai 進斎 and Himizugaoka

Also said to have used the name Toshimine; designed pictures of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877 and of genre subjects around 1880; named as deceased on the Yoshitoshi memorial.

"PN" means "personal names," and includes familiar names (tsush
ō and zokumyō) and informal names (na)
Gō are secondary art names which usually appear on seals or before an art name in signatures.

1 In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars, Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1991, p. 58.
2 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%80%B2%E6%96%8E%E5%B9%B4%E5%85%89
3 Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 1839-1892Roger Keyes, 1982, p. 550, 551, 556.
4 Ibid. p. 540.

Signatures and seals attributed to Toshimitsu

ōju Shinsai ga
應需 進斎 画
(Waseda University Library Bunko10 8477)

ōju Shinsai ga*
應需 進斎 蛾
Seal: unread
(IHL Cat. #447)

ōju Shinsai
應需 進斎
(IHL Cat. #448)

ōju Toshimitsu
應需 年光
Seal: unread
(MFA, Boston 2000.221)
 ōju Toshimitsu ga, 1881
應需 年光 画
(Artelino archive)

* Guy Pepermans noted that "the character for “ga”, usually “画” , is here “蛾” which means literally “moth” in Japanese."  Noel Chiappa in a followup comment stated "This kind of homophone character substitution is common in woodblock prints."

Shinsai Toshimitsu
進斎 年光
Seal: Shinsai no in, 1894
(MFA, Boston 2000.368)

Seal: Suidō
(MFA, Boston 2000.23)

 Motome ni ōjite Toshimitsu
Seal: Suid
ô shujin
In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars, Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1991, p. 59.)

ōju Toshimitsu
進斎 年光
Seal: Suidō
(Artelino archive)
(IHL Cat. #429)

Toshimitsu ga
(IHL Cat. #430)
(appearing on IHL Cat. #s 429, 430 from the series Brocade Pictures of Moral Education)
last updated: