Given name Katsushika (originally Nakajima) Tamekazu. Go: Fusenkyo, Gakyojin, Gakyo Rojin, Gumbatei, Gyobutsu, Hishikawa Sori, Hokusai, Iichi, Kako, Katsukawa Shunro, Kintaisha, Kuku, Manji, Manjio, Manji Rojin, Raishin, Raito, Ryosen, Shimpaku Sanjin, Shinsai, Shunro, Sori, Soshunro, Taito, Tatsumasa. (Used over 50 go, of which the above are the most common.) Ukiyo-e painter, printmaker. Lived largely in Edo. Adopted son of the mirror maker Nakajima Ise. Trained as an engraver; also learned to cut wood blocks for prints, apparently the only artist of his time to do so. At 18 learned to design actor prints from Katsukawa Shunsho; given the go Katsukawa Shunro, under which he also produced illustrated kibyoshi. In 1785 quarreled with Shunsho and was dismissed from his studio. In 1787 began to sign Hishikawa Sori; about 1797 began to use the go Hokusai. From about 1795 to 1806, under the go Gakyojin, Hokusai, Kako, and Sori, worked in a romantic manner turning out surimono and illustrated volumes of verse. Next, under the influence of Chinese-style landscapes in book illustrations by Ooka Shumboku and others, introduced landscapes into his own works, producing pictures of famous places. In 1814 the remarkable Manga volumes began to appear. By 1816, using the go Iichi, was doing some of his finest paintings, including the great landscapes; also the fine kachoga prints. In 1817 to Nagoya to work; in 1818 visited Osaka and Kyoto. After 1820 all the great sets of prints, such as Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, began to appear. By 1835, using the go Manji and Gakyo Rojin among others, worked primarily as a painter. His life unsettled, with frequent changes of residence and two marriages, but even so a prodigious output of prints, sketches, paintingsperhaps 30,000 in all. Many pupils. One of the great draftsmen of the world; worked in many styles, even that of Shiba Kokan, the exponent of Western perspective. Very daring landscapes and seascapes. Always inventive, fascinating, dexterous.
Taken in whole, or in part from: Roberts, Laurance P. A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer. Weatherhill, Inc: New York. 1986.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa
When he was seventy-five Hokusai wrote, in the preface to the "One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji", the following lines about his life and his program to the future: "From the age of five I have had a mania for sketching the forms of things. From about the age of fifty I produced a number of designs, yet of all I drew prior to the age of seventy there is truly nothing of great note. At the age of seventy-two I finally apprehended something of the true quality of birds, animals, insects, fish and of the vital nature of grasses and trees. Therefore, at eighty I shall have made some progress, at ninety I shall have penetrated even further the deeper meaning of things, at one hundred I shall have become truly marvelous, and at one hundred and ten, each dot, each line shall surely possess a life of its own. I only beg that others of sufficiently long life take care to note the truth of my words."
The Thirty Six Views of Mt Fuji Gaifu Kaisei
In 1839, within a year of Hokusai’s death, a great fire destroyed his studio, and with it many of his life’s works. At this point in his career, his popularity had already begun to wane as he was replaced with other budding artists with different styles. He still continued to paint and improve in his craft until his death. He was quoted on his deathbed saying that if heaven would just give him ten more years, even just five more years, then perhaps he could become a real painter. He died on May 18, 1849, and was laid to rest in his native city of Tokyo.
Senju in the Musachi provimce
Hibiscus and Sparrow
Poenies and Butterfly
Climbing on Mt. Fuji
Mishima Pass In Kai Province
Fuji Seen Through the Mannen Bridge at Fukagawa
Kajikazawa in Kai Province
Ono Shindon in the Suraga Province
Hodogaya on the Tokaido
Lake Suwa in the Sinano Province
Rainstorm beneath the Summit
Hawk on a Ceremonial Stand