260th anniversary of Birth of Hokusai
Special exhibition “Hokusai-zukushi”
22 July – 17 September 2021
Tokyo Midtown Hall, Roppongi
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was an “Old Man Crazy to Paint” – so he called himself – who tried to depict everything in the world for seventy years of his life, from the debut of his career as an ukiyo-e artist at age twenty until his death at age ninety.
In commemoration of the 260th anniversary of Hokusai’s birth, the present show will take place as a tribute, highlighting his three magnum opus “Hokusai Manga“, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” and “One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji“.
The Japanese expression “zukushi” makes a compound noun that connotates “a whole lot of things” related to something – in this case, Hokusai.
And thus, this show scheduled to coincide with the Olympic year, initially in 2020, will be an unprecedented “Housai-zukushi” in its scope – all pages, all illustrations and all pieces from these Big Three opus by Hokusai will be presented to the public, at the same time in the same place.
What the “Hokusai-zukushi” exhibit is all about
The show will be a not-to-miss opportunity for those who love Hokusai and all those who are intrigued by the artist to discover the depth, richness and ingenuity of his work.
◆ Hokusai Manga (15 volumes/ 883 pages)
“Hokusai Manga” is a series of wood-blocked sketches from life by Hokusai.
It was initially meant to offer model illustrations so that artists and wanna-be artists living all over the country could copy them, as he felt he was too busy to respond to the ever-growing demand of aspirants to become his disciples.
The series was an instant success, becoming immensely popular not only among artists, but also among ordinary people in Japan.
A series of 15 volumes, “Hokusai Manga” comprises approximately 3,600 figures and illustrations, vividly depicting everything from the manners and customs of Edo (pre-modern Tokyo), seasonal events, people engaging in variety of acts, the work of craftsman; to flora and fauna, landscapes, architecture and yokai (fantom like, other-worldly figures).
These splendid works will be displayed in a special setting that would make you feel like in a “forest of Hokusai Manga”.
◆ Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (46 prints)
“Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” is a series of large-format nishiki-e (multi-coloured ukiyo-e prints) by Hokusai on the theme of Mount Fuji.
It consists of thirty-six prints of Mount Fuji made with the first woodblock of blue shades using indigo and Prussian blue pigment, to which were later added ten more prints made with the first woodblock of ink – thus totaling forty-six prints as a whole in the series.
Of these, “Gaifu kaisei” or “Fine Wind, Clear Morning” (often called Red Fuji) and “Kanagawa-oki namiura” or “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” (known as “The Great Wave”) in particular have achieved world-wide popularity as artistic icons.
◆ One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (102 illustrations)
“One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji” is a picture book series of three volumes by Hokusai, illustrating Mount Fuji in four seasons, while covering various myths, legends and stories related to the iconic mountain.
The entire 102 illustrations contained in the three volumes, recognized as the masterpieces of Hokusai’s picture books, will be on display in the show.
Hokusai’s art extravaganza aided by notables
This show represents an unprecedented attempt – thanks to Mitsuru Uragami, known as the world’s number one collector of the Hokusai Manga series – to display every single page contained in the fifteen volumes of Hokusai Manga as well as the entire illustrations included in the three volumes of “One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji.
The exhibition design is by Tsuyoshi Tane, a Paris-based Japanese architect, who also designed the exhibition space for the 2014 “Hokusai Exhibition” held at Paris’s Grand Palais, which was hugely successful, drawing a large number of crowds.
The poster and graphics of the venue representing Hokusai’s artistic universe are by Shin Sobue, an art director.
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