Utagawa Kuniyoshi was born on January 1, 1798. At age 12 his drawing talents attracted attention and was admitted to the famous ukiyo-e print master Toyokuni's studio.
He remained an apprentice until 1814, at which time he was given the name "Kuniyoshi" and set out as an independent artist.
During the 1820s, Kuniyoshi produced a number of heroic triptychs that show the first signs of an individual style.
In 1856 Kuniyoshi suffered from palsy, which caused him much difficulty in moving his limbs. He died at the age of 63 in April 1861 in his home in Genyadana.