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About Hokusai - Japanese ukiyo-e artist

Updated on January 21, 2015
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Katherine has researched and written about many British, European and Japanese Artists - both past and present

a crop of the "The Great Wave of Kanagwa" by Hokusai
a crop of the "The Great Wave of Kanagwa" by Hokusai

Learn about Hokusai (1760-1849)

Find out about Hokusai (1760-1849), the famous Japanese ukiyo-e artist and his drawings, artwork and woodblock prints and where you can see and read about them online and in art museums and books.

This site shares information about:

  • the life of Hokusai
  • the art of Hokusai - his drawings and woodblock prints
  • museums, art galleries and exhibitions where you can see Hokusai's artwork in person or images of them online,
  • books and articles about Hokusai's life and artwork;
  • videos about the man and his images and
  • other resources for artists wanting to improve their knowledge about how Hokusai worked

It was created to record the resources I found for a project about Japanese Art in Making A Mark in 2008. This included looking at the work of Hokusai and his use of wood-block prints (ukiyo-e) and their subsequent influence on Impressionism and art in Western Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Hokusai - Self portrait as an old man

VIDEOS: Hokusai on YouTube

Biography of Hokusai

These links are to resources which provide information about what is known about the life of Hokusai

Fuji from the Platform of Sasayedo. Part of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, no. 07 by Katsushika Hokusai
Fuji from the Platform of Sasayedo. Part of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, no. 07 by Katsushika Hokusai | Source

Making A Mark - posts about Hokusai

The Making A Mark project I undertook in 2008 serves as an INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE ART and ukiyo-e - the Japanese wood block print. Hokusai was one of the artists I studied

I created my blog posts about ukiyo-e and Hokusai from various resources I found online - and I created this website to record the links as I progressed with the project.

Each of the links below is explained in the short descriptions

BOOKS: Hokusai on Amazon

Hokusai
Hokusai

Recommended reading by the Freer and Sackler Galleries

 
Hokusai and His Age
Hokusai and His Age

Recommended reading by the Freer and Sackler Galleries

 
Hokusai
Hokusai

Recommended reading by the Freer and Sackler GalleriesRated 4.1 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)

 
Hokusai's Mount Fuji: The Complete Views in Color
Hokusai's Mount Fuji: The Complete Views in Color

Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)

 

VIDEO: Katsushika Hokusai Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

This video was made in connection with the exhibition of The Honolulu Academy of Arts' treasured collection of Hokusai's "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" (actually 46) in 2009/2010.

 Kanagawa oki nami ura, (The great wave off shore of Kanagawa) by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760–1849
Kanagawa oki nami ura, (The great wave off shore of Kanagawa) by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760–1849 | Source

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

This is a colour woodblock oban print. In the The Great Wave' we see fishermen apprehensive in three fishing boats (skiffs). The wave is about to crash down on them and Mount Fuji is framed on the horizon in the hollow of the wave.

36 views of Mount Fuji - a series of landscape prints by Hokusai

"Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" is probably the most well known of all the 'series' of landscape prints produced by Japanese artists. The Hokusai series "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" depicts scenes of the famous mountain from around the region. This is the series which "made" Hokusai's name in Japan.

Mounti Fuji in the the Kanto Region of Honshu Island, 100 kilometres (60 mi) south-west of Tokyo, is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m. It last erupted on December 16, 1707.

One of the reasons it is famous is because it has a very symmetrical cone - which is often snow-capped - and hence looks the same from every direction. It is also considered to be a 'holy' or sacred mountain.

The mountain is known to have been a subject for artists, particularly after c.1600. This is because Edo (Tokyo) became the actual capital of Japan and people travelling towards it used to see the mountain when traveling on the Tokaido-road.

The two most famous prints are:

  • The Great Wave off Kanagawa
  • South Wind, Clear Dawn (aka 'Red Fuji' or 'Fine Wind, Clear Morning')

Katsushika Hokusai - Fine Wind, Clear Morning (color woodblock print)  by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760–1849
Katsushika Hokusai - Fine Wind, Clear Morning (color woodblock print) by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760–1849 | Source

Curator Ann Yonemura on Hokusai - Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji - Arthur M. Sackler Gallery March 24--June 17, 2012

Curator Ann Yonemura talks on video about "36 Views of Mount Fuji" and the exhibition at the Sackler Gallery

  • The series of prints were first published for the New Year of 1831
  • it established the landscape as a new subject and hence became a landmark in Japanese art
  • the series also incorporated innovative compositions, techniques, and coloration and establishing.
  • the exhibition at the Sackler presents examples of all 46 prints in the series - including several rare, early printings featuring unusual coloration
  • There are 46 prints in a series titled "36 Views of Mount Fuji" because the designs became very popular and everybody knew the series by its original title.

BOOKS: Hokusai and Manga - books on Amazon

Hokusai in Museums and Art Galleries

These are museums and galleries which own works by Hokusai. If you want to see them:

  • Check before you visit to see if they are on display or
  • search the online collection

Exhibition Catalogue: Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints - from the James a Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts

Amazon reviews: 4.9 out of 5 stars (7 customer reviews)

Includes 200 prints from the Great Japanese Prints Exhibition. This focuses on prints by Hokusai and Hiroshige from the James A Michener Collection

Egrets from Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing, 1823 by Hokusai
Egrets from Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing, 1823 by Hokusai | Source

VIDEO: Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints from the James A. Michener Collection

Comments and suggestions - Let me know what you think - but please do not spam

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      Issis666 3 years ago

      Fantastic site, thank you for providing such a comprehensive overview ... Hokusai is such a master.

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      Toshidama-Gallery 6 years ago

      Hi, it's very good to see such a fine artist as Hokusai gaining exposure, maybe Japanese art lovers on Squidoo should form a group of some kind?

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      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      @anonymous: I normally never ever allow comments like this - but I checked this out on iTunes and it's not bad!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      As a german artist and composer, Katsushika Hokusai is my favorite japanese artist.I composed for him a musical homage. You can hear this worldwide! Go to iTunes. Go to Andreas Pfalzer. Go to Hokusai.

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      iampersona 7 years ago

      Cool lens. I found out about Hokusai's 50 identities really interesting analogy with branding. http://iampersona.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/let-you...

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      California_Dreamin 8 years ago

      Hokusai is my favorite Japanese artist.

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      Author

      Katherine Tyrrell 9 years ago from London

      Sara - if you feel knowledgeable enough to rate this site as "boring but OKish info" presumably you also knew some better sites? What a pity that you failed to name and share them with the other readers of this site!I'm struggling to find better websites so I'm afraid I find comments like this to be very tedious - and very boring! Next time please say how it can be improved.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      boring....but ok ish info

    • manpride profile image

      manpride 9 years ago

      Great lens on Hokusai and ukiyo-e.