Kyosai was born in Shimosa province in a samurai family. He studied as a child under Kuniyoshi Utagawa, then later in the Kano school. Exhibited at the Vienna International Exposition in 2873 and in Paris in 1883. His distinguished painting, largely in the late-Kano manner, includes some excellent bird studies and is often marked by a wild, eccentric humour. Left many lively sketches of great dexterity of draughtsmanship. Also made prints, some of the most iconic ones being of ravens, in a bold, simple style, and caricatures full of fantasy and invention. His work mirrored his life in its wild and undisciplined nature, and occasionally reflected his love of drink. He compensated with a fantastic exuberance, which always lent interest to his technically excellent drawing skills.