My Favorite Views by Hokusai

If you haven’t seen any art today, take a look!

Ejiri in Suruga Province

Ejiri in Suruga Province

This is a vague title, I’m sorry. But here is what this article is actually about: My favorite prints from Katsushika Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mt. Fuji series. Many of you probably know Hokusai for his print The Great Wave off Kanagawa. For my AP Research project, I am investigating the color scheme differences between the views with seascapes and those with landscapes. Here, I’ll simply be sharing a few of my favorites and why I love them (in no particular order). Enjoy!!


First up: The Water Wheel at Onden

The Water Wheel at Onden

This print is one of my favorites because I could look all day at the water coming out of the wheel. I love the texture and the little waves that it makes. I also like the bush in the foreground, which looks to me like a piece of kale or something. The best part (look closely!) of this print is the little boy on the far left who is holding onto his pet turtle with a piece of string. It makes me laugh every time.


Next is Tama River in Musashi Province

Tama River in Musashi Province

I really love this print because every time it looks to me like the merchant in the boat is passing the reef and into the calm ocean, but then I remember it is a river and the calm ocean is actually a sea of fog around Mt. Fuji. It is just such a peaceful print in my mind. The singular man and his horse adds to the feeling of peace.


Number 3 is The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Yes, I know this is the most famous of Hokusai’s prints, but I didn’t put it in here just to jump on the bandwagon. I truly love this print because of how it makes me feel. I feel like I am in a boat braving the storm wave just as the merchants are. I feel like going to the beach right now and going for a surf or a swim. It makes me even more in awe of the ocean. I read an article about researchers who determined the true wave height- and it was about 32-36 feet high. The fragmenting whitewater and spray only adds to its power! Finally, I like that the merchants’ blue robes match the color of the wave.


#4: Kajikazawa in Kai Province

Kajikazawa in Kai Province (sorry about the watermark)

This print is another of my favorites because it makes me feel calm. Fuji is shown as just a swoop of a line, and is cloaked in greenish blueish fog. The fisherman and the person he is with are perched on an outcropping of what seems to be moss, and the surf crashes underneath him. The lines in this print seem to draw the eye around. First from his net to the waves, then around and back up to the fog, then up to the simple Fuji.


Numero Cinq is Tsukuda Island in Musashi Province

Tsukuda Island

This is just such a lovely print. I love the orangey-pink glow of the sky and the neutral greens of the forest, island, cargo, and people on the boats. One thing that interests me is how sizes seem warped. The island is not small–it has houses and the masts of large ships tower over the opposite side. However, in contrast with the distance that the main boat is from the island, it seems like it should be much larger. It’s hard to explain, but it gives me something to think about while I admire it.


Next, Koshu


This is one of my all-time favorites. The hill in the foreground is what makes it so great… the light mossy green contrasted with the dark bushes is lovely, and it makes me feel like I want to be one of those two people climbing up just for the view. Whether that’s moss or grass or what, I want to lay down on it because it seems so soft and cushy. Mt. Fuji itself is also very special here, it flaunts four colors: the earthy red, teal blue, deep blue, and then its snowy peak. I also like the bits of snow falling off the top that makes it look like it sparkles. ahhhhh.


Here we have our final view, Shower Below the Summit

Shower Below the Summit

I really love this print because it is so dramatic. Mt. Fuji is dark red, darkened from an approaching storm. The mountain takes on a reddish color around sunrise and sunset, so this is when the storm must be happening. I can’t help but think of the cumulonimbus clouds in the back as swirls of mashed potatoes. Also, the lightning in the foreground is something I think is cool because usually you don’t see lightning that is depicted like that. My favorite part is the color of Fuji, though.


So there are my favorite prints from 36 Views. I hope you look at some of the other prints! They are all fantastic. I believe that art is not incorporated into our daily lives at school enough, so beginning with this article I hope to continue with more art articles so you all aren’t art-starved. 🙂