Utagawa Kunisada 1786 – 12 January 1865), also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III, was the most popular, prolific and commercially successful designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints
in 19th-century Japan
. In his own time, his reputation far exceeded that of his contemporaries, Hokusai
He was a very prolific, successful and at his time highly appreciated leading designer of ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints). He was born near Edo as the son of an affluent merchant with a ferry boat license. At the age of 15 Kunisada joined the famous art school of Utagawa Toyokuni
and took the artist name Kunisada.
In 1807 Kunisada Utagawa produced his first illustrated book. And in 1808 his first actor prints were published. His fame grew fast. While other artists like Kuniyoshi Utagawa
had to fight for recognition for years, he was successful from the beginning. He should become the most commercially successful of all woodblock printmakers ever. His early success may not have had a good influence on his personality. He had a reputation for his conceited personality.