Nishimuraya Yohachi | Nishiyo (西与)

Nishimuraya Yohachi (dates unknown), was one of the leading publishers of woodblock prints in late 18th Japan. He founded the Nishimuraya Yohachi publishing house, also known as Nishiyo (西与), which operated in Nihonbashi's Bakurochō Nichōme under the shop name Eijudō. The firm's exact dates are unclear, but many art historians date its activity to between c. 1751 and 1860.
According to Andreas Marks, Nishimuraya's "success came from engaging the best artists and providing a broad range of prints to satisfy the public's interest."One of the press' most significant products was Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which appeared between c. 1830 and 1833. In addition to Hokusai, Nishimuraya Yohachi published prints by Eishi, Kuniyasu, Toyokuni I and Kunisada. The store is immortalized in the 1787 print Scene of Print Buyers at the Shop of Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijudou) on New Year’s Day by Torii Kiyonaga (1752–1815).

Yohachi is known to have been a member of the Fuji-kō, an Edo period religeon centred around Mount Fuji. Founded by an ascetic named Hasegawa Kakugyō (1541–1646), the religeon venerated the mountain as a female deity, and encouraged its members to climb it. In doing so, they would be reborn, "purified and... able to find happiness." The religeon waned in the Meiji period, and, though it persists to this day, it has been subsumed into Shintō sects. The publisher's association with the Fuji-kō gives clues not only to imagery in his portrait by Utagawa Toyokuni I, but also to his eagerness to participate in the production of Hokusai's series celebrating Mount Fuji.