Artist: Yamamato Shōun (山本昇雲)

Alternate names:
Shōkoku go used as an illustrator - 松谷)
Yamamoto Mosaburō (family name - 山本茂三郎)
Matsutani Shōun (松谷昇雲)

Lifetime: December 30 1870 - May 10 1965

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The progression away from subjects of idealized star entertainers and enlightened ladies of the Meiji court to less glamorized women engated in everyday life or as protagonists in melodramatic literary roles was pushed further by such print artists as Ikeda Shōen (1886-1917), Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908), and Yamamoto Shōun (1870-1965). These were among the transitional artists whose work prefigured that of shin-hanga. They made real changes to the style of nishiki-e prints and book illustrations, expanding the space, reducing the dependence on line and dense design, and relaxing the traditional conventions for facial features and costumes in favor of softer, more naturalistic images..."

Quoted from: Shin-hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, Hollis Goodall-Cristante, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996, p. 26.


Yamamoto Shōun (山本昇雲) was a Japanese print designer, painter, and illustrator. He was born in Kōchi, Kōchi into a family of retainers of the Shogun and was given the name Mosaburo. As a teenager, he studied Kanō school painting with Yanagimoto Doso and Kawada Shoryu. At about age 17, he moved to Tokyo, where he studied Nanga painting with Taki Katei. At 20 years of age, he was employed as an illustrator for Fugoku gaho, a pictorial magazine dealing with the sights in and around Tokyo. In his latter career, Shōun primarily produced paintings. He died in 1965, at the age of 96.

In addition to his magazine illustrations, Shōun is best known for his woodblock prints of beautiful women and a group of humorous shikishiban (prints about 7 by 8 inches). Shōun is considered a bridge between ukiyo-e and shin hanga. His career spans the Meiji (1868-1912), Taishō (1912-1926) and Shōwa (1926-1989) periods.

Yamamoto Shōun signed most of his works with a very small compact signature reading “Shōun” (昇雲).

This information is taken directly from Wikipedia.