The Nanpo Album ( [Nanpo jo). Artist: Nagayama Koin (Hirotora) (Japanese, 1765-1849)
Nampo served the shogunate in various ways throughout his life. He began his literary career as a student of Chinese Ming-dynasty writings, and adapted traditional Chinese comic verse (called kyōshi in Japanese), under the mentorship of playwright Hiraga Gennai, to daily life in Edo. His first collection of work was called Neboke sensei bunshū, or the Literary Works of Master Groggy.
Nampo soon began to write kyōka, comic waka verses, as well. His popularity grew in the 1760s and 1770s, as a result of his down-to-earth subject matter and unabashed style. During this time he also wrote a number of works of popular literature, and edited a collection of comic verses called Manzai kyōkashū, which truly cemented his position as a central literary figure of his time.
For political reasons, he was forced to abandon his writings for a time in the 1780s. He committed himself for several years to shogunal duties, but eventually returned to poetry.
Nampo produced the first version of the Ukiyo-e Ruikō ("Various Thoughts on Ukiyo-e") in 1790. The Ukiyo-e Ruikō is a collection of commentaries and biographies of ukiyo-e artists was circulated in handwritten copies subject with numerous additions and alterations over the years; it did not appear in print in the Edo period.
Nampo also collaborated with many different artists such as Hokusai, Eishi, Hokuba, Sakai Hōitsu and many others. Many paintings bears his original calligraphy and poem, he also worked together with artists in making prints, surimono and ehon. Nampo made calligrphies (calligraphy) mainly in the tanzaku and kakemono format. He also produced paintings; these are now extremely rare.