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Okumura Masanobu

Okumura Masanobu

From the series "Mountain intense passion - Bedroom pattern": Fragrance

Okumura Masanobu

From the series "Iroko's the three big cities": Sanokawa Mangiku from Osaka

Okumura Masanobu

The actor Onoe Kikugoro I. role of Soga Goro

Okumura Masanobu

The actor Takinaga Hidematsu

Okumura Masanobu

Girl with hand mirror

Okumura Masanobu (Japanese: 奥村 政信; 1686 – 13 March 1764) was a Japanese print designer, book publisher, and painter. He also illustrated novelettes and in his early years wrote some fiction. At first his work adhered to the Torii school, but later drifted beyond that. He is a figure in the formative era of ukiyo-e doing early works on actors and bijin-ga ("pictures of beautiful women"). Early details are unsure; nothing is known about Okumura Masanobu parents or wife. It is believed he was born in Japan about 1686, possibly in Edo (modern Tokyo). Edo was a small fishing village when it was Tokugawa Ieyasu chose it as his administrative capital of the Tokugawa shogunate, and by the early 17th century the city had prospered and its population had grown to half a million.

Masanobu appears to have been self-taught; he is not known to have belonged to any artistic school. His early work shows the influence of the Torii school of ukiyo-e painting, particularly Torii Kiyonobu, and he likely learned from the examples of Torii Kiyomasa and the early ukiyo-e artist Hishikawa Moronobu. A print album published by Kurihara Chōemon in 1701 depicting coutesans in the Yoshiwara pleasure district is Masanobu's earliest surviving signed work, followed by a similar work ten months later. Moronobu provided the illustrations, and sometimes text, for at least twenty-two ukiyo-zōshi novels and librettos for puppet theatre between 1703 and 1711. These included a modernized illustrated version of the 11th-century Tale of Genji in eighteen volumes, whose translation was by Masanobu.

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