26 Facts About Hokusai

1. Hokusai is best known for the woodblock print series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

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2. Hokusai was instrumental in developing ukiyo-e from a style of portraiture largely focused on courtesans and actors into a much broader style of art that focused on landscapes, plants, and animals.

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3. Hokusai created the monumental Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji as a response to a domestic travel boom in Japan and as part of a personal interest in Mount Fuji.

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4. Hokusai was best known for his woodblock ukiyo-e prints, but he worked in a variety of mediums including painting and book illustration.

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5. Hokusai began painting around the age of six, perhaps learning from his father, whose work included the painting of designs around mirrors.

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6. Hokusai was known by at least thirty names during his lifetime.

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7. Hokusai fathered two sons and three daughters with these two wives, and his youngest daughter Ei, known as Oi, eventually became an artist and his assistant.

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8. Hokusai was expelled from the Katsukawa school by Shunko, the chief disciple of Shunsho, possibly due to his studies at the rival Kano school.

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9. Hokusai changed the subjects of his works, moving away from the images of courtesans and actors that were the traditional subjects of ukiyo-e.

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10. Hokusai produced many privately commissioned prints for special occasions, and illustrations for books of humorous poems (kyoka ehon) during this time.

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11. In 1798, Hokusai passed his name on to a pupil and set out as an independent artist, free from ties to a school for the first time, adopting the name Hokusai Tomisa.

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12. Hokusai began to attract students of his own, eventually teaching 50 pupils over the course of his life.

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13. Hokusai described the painting to the shogun as a landscape showing the Tatsuta River with red maple leaves floating in it, winning the competition.

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14. Especially popular was the fantasy novel Chinsetsu Yumiharizuki with Minamoto no Tametomo as the main character, and Hokusai gained fame with his creative and powerful illustrations, but the collaboration ended after thirteen works.

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15. Hokusai paid close attention to the production of his work.

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16. Hokusai wrote directly to another blockcutter involved in the project, Sugita Kinsuke, stating that he disliked the Utagawa school style in which Kinsuke had cut the figure's eyes and noses and that amendments were needed for the final prints to be true to his style.

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17. In 1811, at the age of 51, Hokusai changed his name to Taito and entered the period in which he created the Hokusai Manga and various etehon, or art manuals.

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18. In 1820, Hokusai changed his name yet again, this time to "Iitsu," a change which marked the start of a period in which he secured fame as an artist throughout Japan.

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19. Hokusai began producing a number of detailed individual images of flowers and birds, including the extraordinarily detailed Poppies and Flock of Chickens.

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20. At the age of 83, Hokusai traveled to Obuse in Shinano Province at the invitation of a wealthy farmer, Takai Kozan where he stayed for several years.

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21. Hokusai continued working almost until the end, painting The Dragon of Smoke Escaping from Mt Fuji and Tiger in the Snow in early 1849.

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22. Hokusai made designs for book illustrations and woodblock prints, sketches, and painting for over 70 years.

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23. Hokusai was an early experimenter with western linear perspective among Japanese artists.

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24. Degas said of him, "Hokusai is not just one artist among others in the Floating World.

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25. Hokusai is an island, a continent, a whole world in himself.

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26. Hokusai inspired the Hugo Award–winning short story by science fiction author Roger Zelazny, "24 Views of Mt.

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