Chikanobu was a student of Toyohara Kunichika (He has the same name but is different from the Kunichika Toyohara (1835-1900) that you know.) His original name was Hashimoto. He took both the last name and the second part chika of his master’s first name – following an old tradition of the way an artist’s name was inherited from master to student. He signed his prints usually with Yoshu Chikanobu or Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu.
Favorite subjects of Chikanobu were historical and mythological legends and histories from Japan’s past and genre scenes with women and children. The percentage of triptychs among the prints created by the artist is maybe higher than for any other artist of the Meiji period. (from artelino)
His best known series are triptychs showing court life in and around the Chiyoda Palace. Like Chikanobu’s contemporary, Yoshitoshi, his print themes concentrate on the history and traditional values of old Japan. These series must be seen against the background of an era when Japan was striving to adopt Western technology and civilization without any criticism. The Japanese society then regarded their own traditional and culture as something of low value that had to be replaced by Western values as fast as possible.