Culture/History Travel

The Sumida Hokusai Museum


Who is Hokusai?

Hokusai is a famous Japanese artist whose work had been recognized inside and outside of Japan during his lifetime. His name became highly acknowledged after the onset of Japonism popularity upon the International Exposition of 1867 held in Paris. The influenced artists include Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Edgar Degas (1834-1917). Hokusai’s “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” is the most famous ukiyo-e series that focuses on Mount Fuji. “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” one of the prints from the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series (see a picture below) gave the composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) an inspiration for his symphonic poem La Mer.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Great Wave off Kanagawa was considered a masterpiece that is comparable to Davinci’s Mona Lisa during Hokusai exhibition in London in 2017. The blue was essential to the depiction of waves that Hokusai tirelessly pursued. The synthetic pigment Prussian blue (called “bero-ai,” which means “Berlin blue”) imported from Europe in the late Edo Period was used to print Hokusai’s work. It is impressive to know that Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series were produced when Hokusai was over 70 years old.

Where to see Hokusai’s collection?

If you are in Tokyo, The Sumida Hokusai Museum is a place to check out Hokusai’s amazing art collection. Some collection changes by season but the permanent gallery includes Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Located in Tokyo’s north-eastern Sumida ward where Hokusai was born in 1760. In the museum, you can also learn how passionate Hokusai was as an artist and his character as a humble person.

Check out the website below!

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