Just forgetting about the printing revolution enabling full-colour printing for those who could benefit from this development, and just focusing on the now well-established benizurie prints, it is obvious that Torii Kiyomitsu, the number two in the 1750s, climbs to the first position in the 1760s. The number two is his pupil, the new talent Torii Kiyotsune, and number three is Torii Kiyohiro – who was the number one in the 1750s. The number two of the 1750s, Ishikawa Toyonobu, is almost completely out of sight, as is Torii Kiyoshige, the number three.
Interestingly, in the format of illustrated novels, we again find the numbers one and two in single print output, Kiyotsune (43 illustrated novels) and Kiyomitsu (40 illustrated novels), here ranking second and third as illustrators of popular novels of various kinds. But it is Tomikawa Fusanobu aka Ginsetsu (126 illustrated novels – “illustrated a few small books” is the comment in Roberts, p. 27) who takes the first position. Fusanobu had been active as a publisher of popular novels and single prints under the name of Yamamoto Kyūzaemon, operating from Ōtenmachō in Edo. However, he is said to have opted to rather be an illustrator as his business declined (Ukiyoe ruikō, p. 102). Yet, the Yamamoto firm seems to have been active from the 1710s to 1768, and we first see Fusanobu as an illustrator from 1756 to 1781, using the art-name of Ginsetsu from 1772. So he may have been the second generation in the family’s publishing business, leaving this to his son. According to the Watanabe copy of the Ukiyoe ruikō, Fusanobu studied with Nishimura Shigenaga. Actually, he just concentrated on illustrations to novels of the kurohon (171) and the akahon (88) genres, and no enpon, so it seems.
Anyway, with a total of 236 illustrated novels in the 1760s, versus only 25 in the 1750s, this is the beginning of an absolutely major development that will enable us to get a more correct notion of how artists of the popular printing tradition were being evaluated in their times. Here, for example, we know both Kiyomitsu and Kiyotsune from their prints, but in regard to Fusanobu, Binyon & Sexton remark ‘About eight prints in all comprise his output’ (p. 44). We will see this again in the 1780s, when the Kitao tradition is at its height, with Kitao Shigemasa (1739-1820, act. 1766-1820) taking the third position, responsible for the illustrations of 35 popular novels, and his pupils Masayoshi (1764-1824, act. 1780-1824) and Masanobu (1761-1816, act. 1778-1804) taking the second and third position, with 150 and 120 illustrated novels respectively. But none of them is really known for his prints.