Yoshitoshi Tsukioka was born in the Shimbashi district of old Edo (now Tokyo), in 1839. His original name was Owariya Yonejiro. His father was a wealthy merchant who had bought his way into samurai status. At the age of three years, Yoshitoshi left home to live with his uncle, a pharmacist with no son, who was very fond of his nephew. At the age of five, he became interested in art and started to take lessons from his uncle.