Formerly known as Toyoshige, he was a pupil and the son-in-law of Toyokuni I. After the death of his master in 1825, he called himself Toyokuni II. This was to the chagrin of Kunisada Utagawa, who did not officially recognise the name, believing he was the better choice to head up the Utagawa School after Toyokuni I’s death.
His prints of actors and bijin are in Toyokuni’s manner, but his landscape prints have elements resembling Hokusai and Hiroshige. Although the woodblock prints of Toyokuni II are often considered ‘mediocre’, this is confused with the faithful keeping to the style of Toyokuni I. Toyokuni II’s ukiyo-e prints are well executed, and can stand their ground against the works of his contemporaries.