Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is one of the most famous (if not the most famous) works of Japanese art in existence. However, many are unaware that the piece is actually part of a larger set.
Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji is Hokusai’s exploration of Fuji and the context around it. Every piece depicts Mount Fuji from a different place within Japan. In The Great Wave, Fuji can be seen in the distance just underneath where the wave is about to crash down. Every piece reveals a little piece of life in Japan - a little piece of Japanese history. Originally, only thirty-six (36) prints were created, but due to their popularity another ten were later added, bringing the total number of prints up to forty-six (46).
The first ten images of the series are above. In order, they are titled:
The Great Wave off Kanagawa
South Wind, Clear Sky (also known as Red Fuji)
Rainstorm Beneath the Summit
Under Mannen Bridge at Fukagawa
Cusion Pine at Aoyama
Senju, Musashi Province
Inume Pass, Kooshuu
Fuji View Field in Owari Province
Ejiri in Surugara Province (my personal favorite!!!)
“Although I knew that Japanese comics were called manga, I would have said that a comic was a comic no matter what you named it. At Forbidden
Planet I slowly began to understand that I was wrong. The first and most
obvious difference in Japanese comics is the broadness of subject
matter, from saccharine stories featuring little big-eyed girls to the
dense and serious works of Osamu Tezuka, although this is not something
one discovers in a single Saturday morning. What was immediately obvious
was the startlingly graphic nature of manga which, in its clarity of
line and dramatic blocky forms, echoed the Japanese wood-block prints of
the nineteenth century.” – Peter Carey, Wrong About Japan
Most foreigners have seen at least one of Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s woodblock prints (ukiyoe). He lived in the latter part of the Edo period and is famous for his ghostly themes of supernatural entities or historical events and his comical depictions of anthropomorphic animals. Mori Gallery in Roppongi Hills has just finished a massive show of his work. This is the cover from the pamphlet.
Despite the almost 20 dollar ticket price, there was a 30 minute wait in line just to get to the ticket counter the day I went…
The living room. Original movie posters adorn nearly every wall of the four-story residence of Martin Scorsese, the director of such films as Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and The Aviator (2004). N. Brodsky’s 1937 graphic image for La Grande Illusion hangs in the living room.
Photo # 2
The living room. Scorsese views his collection of 16-mm film on the projector in the living room. The poster for Renoir’s Le Carrosse d’Or is from 1953. On the mantel are 19th-century Japanese stirrups from actor Ken Takakura.
Photo # 3
The desk in the living room. The research done by Scorsese’s staff for The Age of Innocence (1993) gave the director “a greater feeling for Victorian pieces and antiques,” notes interior designer Karen Houghton. She divided the second-floor living room into two spaces. Above the circa 1850 English desk are 19th-century Japanese wood-block prints from Akira Kurosawa.
Photo # 4
One of the director’s vintage movie posters. The fantasy of Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête is portrayed in Jean-Denis Malclé’s 1946 poster. Scorsese has been buying vintage movie posters since 1968.
Photo # 5
The dining room. In the dining room is Bernard Lancy’s poster for Les Enfants du Paradis. “I would never just buy a beautiful poster if I didn’t know the film,” Scorsese says. “It has to be an extraordinary film, with a special meaning for me.” The 1870 dining table is French.
Photo # 6
The rear garden of the townhouse. The garden is off the dining room. “I’m not much of a gardener,” says Scorsese. “In the tenements I came from we didn’t have much room, although those big basil plants did pretty well on the fire escapes.”