Utagawa Toyokuni (Toyokuni I) was a Japanese Ukiyo-e known for his prints of erotica, aristocracy, and kabuki actors. His wood block prints of the theater were what distinguished him from his peers, as he portrayed actors costumed on stage rather than seated in formal dress. “My pictures—they are merely something that I draw, and nothing more than that,” the artist once said. Born in 1769 in Edo (currently Tokyo), Japan, he apprenticed with the artist Utagawa Toyoharu at the age of 14. Over the course of his career he became a leading master of the Utagawa School. His pupils Utagawa Kunisada and Utagawa Kuniyoshi went on to become famous in their own right. The artist died on February 24, 1825 in Edo, Japan.