The Great Wave off Kanagawa and the 36 Views of Mount Fuji

The great wave off Kanagawa is part of the ukiyo-e called the 36 views of Mount Fuji. The famous picture of waves is present everywhere in different formats when talking about Japan. What is the history and significance of this famous?

The Great Wave off Kanagawa is called in Japanese Kanagawa oki nami ura [神奈川沖浪裏]. It is a famous woodcut by the Japanese master Hokusai and was published in 1830 in the aforementioned series. Ready to meet them?

Ukiyo-e - Pictures of the Floating World

Before we talk about a Kanagawa Wave, at 36 views of Mount Fuji or its author Katsushika Hokusai, we need to understand what a Ukiyo-e is, the portraits that Hokusai and many other Japanese from Edo period did.

Ukiyo-e [浮世絵] can be literally translated to portraits of the floating world, it is a Japanese print, a painting that usually shows female beauty, theater kabuki, sumo wrestlers, historical scenes, legends, landscapes, fauna and flora of Japan.

These engravings appeared around the 17th and 20th centuries and initially addressed serious and sad themes. The engravings were usually nailed to wooden blocks with a blank space excavated to make reprints of the original art.

That is, these are not rare paintings that are somewhere, several versions were made of the original print. Nowadays really many paintings are rare and valuable. Artists had no limits, many of these prints were erotic.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa and the 36 Views of Mount Fuji
An example of classic Ukiyo-e

The Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji

Despite the name, the series Fugaku Sanjū-Rokkei [富嶽三十六景] has 46 wood engravings, 10 of which were added later. These Arts by Katsushika Hokusai depicts Mount Fuji in different seasons, weather, locations and distances.

The woodcuts date from 1831 to 1834 and were printed by Nishimuraya Yohachi main publisher of block engravings of the time. The ukiyo-e wood printing technique is what allowed the paintings to expand and become popular.

At the end of this article, you will find a list of the names of the 46 engravings in the series 36 seen from Mount Fuji. See briefly some engravings made by Katsuhika Hokusai that will also be scattered throughout the article:

The Great Wave off Kanagawa and the 36 Views of Mount Fuji

Who was Katsushika Hokusai?

Katsushika Hokusai was the artist behind Great Wave off Kanagawa and of 36 views of Mount Fuji. It is believed that he was born in Tokyo in the year 1760 and died in 1849 at the age of 89. In addition to landscapes, the author also made erotic prints.

In his day, he was one of Japan's leading experts in Chinese painting, he gained a name in the West because of the Great Wave off Kanagawa. He painted all kinds of natural phenomena and produced over 30,000 works during his lifetime.

Katsushika Hokusai had a long history, on his Japanese Wiki page we can see that he had aberrant behaviors, despite his skills he was poor, he had problems with foreigners, warriors and kabuki actors.

It is interesting to see his thoughts and decisions throughout his life, as he revolutionized and even exported his prints to the world. Another curious fact is that Hokusai changed his home 93 times, but ended up ending his life in the city of origin Tokyo.

At the end of the article, you will still see a book with illustrations by the author called Hokusai Manga, as well as the possibility to buy his Etching of the Great Wave off Kanagawa. Before he died, Hokusai wrote a Haikai poem That say:

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now as spirit
I must cross
the summer fields.
Hitodama de
yuku kisan jiya
natsu no hara
悲と魂で 
ゆくきさんじや 
夏の原

The article is still halfway through, but we recommend also reading:

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

In Hokusai's Engraving, The Great Wave off Kanagawa is a Great Wave that threatens a fishing boat in Kanagawa Prefecture, with Mount Fuji visible in the background. Despite its size, it is not a tsunami, but a normal wave created by the effect of wind and tides.

This painting is believed to have been done around 1820, being the first in the series Fugaku Sanjū-Rokkei and also Hokusai's most popular painting. Thousands of copies were made of the mold used, which were distributed among collectors around the world.

This print is of the yoko-e type, that is, in landscape form, it has an ōban size, 25 cm high by 37 cm wide. The landscape is composed of three elements: the sea stirred by a storm, three boats and a mountain.

This painting became very famous in the 19th century. Where many artists from other places ended up buying a copy and spreading it around the world. Today it is possible to find this woodcut in several museums such as the British Museum and the National Library of France.

Hokusai even had an influence on famous artists like Van Gogh and Claudet Manet.

mount fuji

Mount Fuji is a great sacred symbol of beauty and national identity, the main protagonist of Hokusai's 36 paintings. The magnificent Mount Fuji is drawn small in the background in contrast to the Big Waves.

The dark colors near the horizon and the appearance of well-lit snow-capped peaks suggest that the sun rises on the observer's side and is in the morning. Although it's not raining, the clouds in the sky indicate a storm.

the 3 boats

Three boats rubbed by the big waves are drawn on the screen. This boat was a oshiokuri-bune used to transport live fish at that time.

Each boat has eight oarsmen clinging to the sword, two or more passengers can be seen in the bow and about 30 people are in the picture. People stand rigid on the boat, contrasting with the dynamic waves.

the big wave

The sea is raging, showing the moment when the crest of the wave breaks. The wave curve draws an arc and forms a composition centered on Mount Fuji in the background. The splash of waves spread across the front of the waves is like snow falling on Mount Fuji.

The wave height is almost the same as that of the boat at the back, the length of the push is usually 12 to 15 meters, and as Hokusai extends the vertical scale by 30%, the wave height can be estimated between 10 to 15 meters. meters.

This wave is sometimes interpreted as a tsunami. This interpretation is from the 1960s onwards, before that it was interpreted as a normal wave. No major tsunamis occurred in Kanto and Kansai during Hokusai's lifetime. The waves in this painting have a short wavelength and cannot be a representation of a tsunami.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa and the 36 Views of Mount Fuji

Hokusai Manga and Wave Engraving

In 1814, the great artist Katsushika Hokusai published the first volume of his sketches: Hokusai Manga. Originally conceived as a reference for its students, it exceeded all expectations and became a best seller to this day. 3

You can have the chance to buy 3 volumes on Amazon Brazil for a low price, without worrying about import bureaucracy. Don't miss your chance to see over 4,000 images of the great Hokusai. You can also purchase The Great Wave off Kanagawa painting below:

List of The 46 Engravings of Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

If we put the 46 large images in this article, it would weigh a lot, so we'll just leave a list with a thumbnail image. Hope you like the list below:

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NumberPortuguêsJapaneseRomaji
1A Grande Onda de Kanagawa神奈川沖浪裏Kanagawa-oki nami-ura
2O Monte Fuji com Tempo Limpo (também conhecida por Fuji Vermelho)凱風快晴Gaifū kaisei
3Trovoada Abaixo do Cume山下白雨Sanka hakū
4Fuji visto da ponte de Mannen em Fukagawa深川万年橋下Fukagawa Mannen-bashi shita
5Fuji visto de Passagem Mishima東都駿台Tōto sundai
6A Costa em Kamakura青山円座松Aoyama enza-no-matsu
7Senju na província de Musashi武州千住Bushū Senju
8O rio Tama na província de Musashi武州玉川Bushū Tamagawa
9A passagem de Inume na província de Kai甲州犬目峠Kōshū inume-tōge
10Vista do campo Fujimi Fuji em Owari尾州不二見原Bishū Fujimigahara
11Templo Asakusa Honganji em Tóquio東都浅草本願寺Tōto Asakusa honganji
12Ilha Tsukada em Musashi武陽佃島Buyō Tsukuda-jima
13Praia Shichiri em Sagami相州七里浜Soshū Shichiri-ga-hama
14Umegawa em Sagami相州梅沢庄Soshū umezawanoshō
15Kajikazawa na província de Kai甲州石班沢Kōshū Kajikazawa
16Passagem Mishima em Kai甲州三嶌越Kōshū Mishima-goe
17O Lago Suwa em Shinano信州諏訪湖Shinshū Suwa-ko
18Ejiri-juku em Suruga駿州江尻Sunshū Ejiri
19O Fuji das montanhas de Totomi遠江山中Tōtōmi sanchū
20Ushibori em Hitachi常州牛掘Jōshū Ushibori
21Esboço da loja Mitsui na rua Suruga em Edo江都駿河町三井見世略図Kōto Suruga-cho Mitsui Miseryakuzu
22Pôr-do-sol na ponte Ryogoku da margem do rio Sumida em Onmayagashi御厩川岸より両国橋夕陽見Ommayagashi yori ryōgoku-bashi yūhi mi
23Hall Sazai - 500 templos Rakan五百らかん寺さざゐどうGohyaku-rakanji Sazaidō
24Casa de chá em Koishikawa. O amanhecer após um nevão礫川雪の旦Koishikawa yuki no ashita
25Shimomeguro下目黒Shimo-Meguro
26Moinho-de-água em Onden隠田の水車Onden no suisha
27Enoshima em Sagami相州江の島Soshū Enoshima
28Costa da Baía de Tago, Ejiri-juku em Tokaido東海道江尻田子の浦略図Tōkaidō Ejiri tago-no-ura
29Yoshida em Tokaido東海道吉田Tōkaidō Yoshida
30A rota marítima da província de Kazusa上総の海路Kazusa no kairo
31Ponte de Nihonbashi em Edo江戸日本橋Edo Nihon-bashi
32Vila de Sekiya no Rio Sumida隅田川関屋の里Sumidagawa Sekiya no sato
33Baía de Noboto登戸浦Noboto-ura
34O Lago Hakone em Sagami相州箱根湖水Sōshū Hakone kosui
35O reflexo do Fuji no Lago Kawaguchi, visto da passagem Misaka em Kai甲州三坂水面Kōshū Misaka suimen
36Hodogaya na região de Tokaido東海道保ケ谷Tōkaidō Hodogaya
37Honjo Tatekawa本所立川Honjo Tatekawa
38Nakahara em Sagami従千住花街眺望の不二Senju Hana-machi Yori Chōbō no Fuji
39Tokaido Shinagawa東海道品川御殿山の不二Tōkaidō Shinagawa Goten'yama no Fuji
40Soshu Nakahara相州仲原Sōshū Nakahara
41Ocaso em Isawa em Kai甲州伊沢暁Kōshū Isawa no Akatsuki
42Encosta do Fuji do rio Minobu身延川裏不二Minobu-gawa ura Fuji
43Ono Shinden em Suruga駿州大野新田Sunshū Ōno-shinden
44A plantação de chá de Katakura em Suruga駿州片倉茶園の不二Sunshū Katakura chaen no Fuji
45O Fuji de Kanaya-juku na região de Tokaido東海道金谷の不二Tōkaidō Kanaya no Fuji
46Trepando o Fuji諸人登山Shojin tozan

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