Japanese artist
October 31, 1760 (exact date questionable) - May 10, 1849

Born as Tokitarō, in the Katsushika district of Edo (Tokyo in modern times) to an artisan family, but little more is definitively known about Katsushika Hokusai than that. It's believed that his father was Nakajima Ise, a mirror-maker of some renown, reputed to produce ornate mirrors for the shogun at the time. He was never designated as his father's heir, so it's conjectured that his mother was a concubine. It's also believed that Hokusai's earliest inspirations may have been his father's mirror work, as many of the pieces were decorated with ornately painted borders. His birth name is one of many names he adopted during his life, which was a rather common practice for artists in this period of Japan's history, however his use of this tradition was incredibly prolific, being known by at least thirty different names as his influences, styles, and mediums changed.

At 12, Hokusai was sent to work at a library by his father, where the “books” consisted of painted wood blocks. Two years later, he apprenticed to a woodcarver, and at the age of 18 was accepted into his first artistic education, by Katsukawa Shunshō. He studied ukiyo-e, an art form consisting of painted scenes upon wooden blocks, which he would eventually become a master of. Shunshō also prompted the first of many name changes for Hokusai, dubbing him Shunrō after his first year of study.

After the death of Shunshō in 1793, he began to experiment with influences from a more global source, including French and Dutch copper engravings he'd managed to acquire. He shifted away from the traditional kabuki and courtesan depictions of ukiyo-e, focusing more on landscapes and images of daily life, which, with some studying at a rival studio, caused Shunshō's successor, Shunkō, to kick Hokusai out of the studio. This lead to a radical shift in inspiration for Hokusai, motivating him to develop his own artistic style fully.

Over the following decade, his association with another school, Tawaraya, prompted yet another name change, Tawaraya Sōri. This period saw Hokusai produce numerous brush paintings, or surimono, and illustrations for books of humorous poems, as well as his first pupil. He eventually passed his most recent name to that pupil, and adopted Hokusai Tomisa instead.

Focusing more on ukiyo-e, and finally adopting the name that he's most known for, Hokusai became increasingly more popular with his departure from the traditional, publishing numerous landscape series, including his most famous work, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, as well as creating art manuals, both as a means of some income and as a way to attract more students. He also created the Hokusai Manga, a collection of sketches and caricatures that is credited with influencing much of the art style in comics of the same name even up to today.

In his late years, Hokusai had adopted the name Gakyō Rōjin Manji, which translates to “The Old Man Mad About Art”, and revisited his obsession with Mount Fuji by creating a follow-up of his earlier masterpiece, One Hundred views of Mount Fuji. Painting until his death in 1849, he's quoted as saying, upon his deathbed, “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years... Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”

24.6 × 24.6 cm
19.9 × 29.4 cm
24.7 × 36 cm
19.2 × 27.8 cm
61.5 × 94.5 cm
22.9 × 15.9 cm
25.4 × 36.9 cm
26.4 × 38.4 cm
38.5 × 25.9 cm
25.1 × 24 cm
98 × 71 inches
52 × 23 cm
24.8 × 36 cm
14.5 × 9.375 inches
24.1 × 37.1 cm
22.9 × 15.9 cm
23.9 × 16.9 cm
50.8 × 40.6 cm
25.4 × 36.7 cm
25 × 37 cm
24.2 × 35.5 cm
18.5 × 25.2 cm
22 × 33.8 cm
26 × 19.2 cm
26 × 38.7 cm
24.4 × 37.8 cm
25.7 × 38.5 cm
25.4 × 36.9 cm
26.2 × 38.2 cm
26.3 × 38.2 cm
26.1 × 38 cm
25.2 × 37 cm
20.1 × 55.4 cm
48.26 × 33.02 cm
12.5 × 17 cm
24.4 × 35.7 cm
26 × 38.1 cm
18.5 × 25.2 cm
25.8 × 18.9 cm
18.7 × 25.7 cm
18.3 × 25.4 cm
25.1 × 37.1 cm
28.5 × 42.8 cm
27.5 × 40 cm
22 × 33.8 cm
38 × 26 cm
24.2 × 36.5 cm
20.2 × 53.9 cm
26 × 38 cm
26 × 38.4 cm
25.2 × 37 cm
22.5 × 16.3 cm
29.8 × 31.5 cm
21.5 × 18.8 cm
25.2 × 37.3 cm
59.5 × 82 cm
25.7 × 38.4 cm
25.4 × 37.8 cm
26.2 × 36.9 cm
25.3 × 38 cm
24.9 × 37.9 cm
47.4 × 22.5 cm
22.1 × 31.6 cm
24.4 × 36.6 cm
25.4 × 37.8 cm
24.8 × 35.9 cm
120 × 41.5 cm
25.4 × 23.5 cm
23.1 × 17.5 cm
28.9 × 21.3 cm
51.8 × 23.2 cm
25.3 × 37.2 cm
25.7 × 37.2 cm
18.2 × 24.4 cm
23.5 × 37.5 cm
35.7 × 26 cm
36 × 25.8 cm
37.4 × 25.6 cm
36.5 × 25.7 cm
26.5 × 19 cm
25.8 × 18.8 cm
25.1 × 38.1 cm
24.9 × 38 cm
39 × 26.5 cm