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I had Ramen noodles for lunch today. Later, I ran across this wonderful tribute to Hokusai. As a student of art, and oil painter myself, I have always admired the preeminent Japanese master of wood block prints. His best know work, “The Great Wave” has been imitated as much as any great art masterpiece in history. It is part of a series of prints featuring Mt. Fuji, each from a different vantage point.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏 Kanagawa-oki nami-ura?, lit. “Under a Wave off Kanagawa”), also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. An example of ukiyo-e art, it was published sometime between 1830 and 1833 (during the Edo Period) as the first in Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei (富嶽三十六景?)), and is his most famous work. This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa. While sometimes assumed to be a tsunami, the wave is, as the picture’s title notes, more likely to be a large okinami – literally “wave of the open sea.” As in all the prints in the series, it depicts the area around Mount Fuji under particular conditions, and the mountain itself appears in the background.