Son of the owner of a tea-house, Yoshiiku was a pupil of Kuniyoshi along with Yoshitoshi, six years his junior. From this time dates a life-long rivalry with Yoshitoshi whom, it is reported, he bullied at school. Despite this the two artists collaborated together to draw a few series of prints.
In the wake of his master, Yoshiiku produced drawings for prints of female beauties, warriors and kabuki actors. From 1874 to 1875 the artist produced drawings for prints published by the newspaper Nichinichi Shimbun, of which he was co-founder.