A History of Japanese Colour-Prints/HOKUSAI



Hokusai is in Europe the most popular of all Japanese artists; for a long time indeed Europeans were inclined to regard him as the greatest. He plays an important part in the history of Japanese wood-engraving, by virtue both of the peculiarity of his talent and of the influence that he exerted during a long and laborious life; nevertheless, to the masters of the eighteenth century he does not attain. It is just those peculiarities which are new in him and his work, and which make it appear so familiar, indeed almost akin, to the European eye—namely, realism without style or subordination of the observation of nature to any higher artistic conception—it is just these that brought upon him in his own country the disregard under which he had to suffer during his lifetime. We, for our part, have no desire to join in either panegyric or condemnation. Looked at from the European point of view, Hokusai certainly displays a richness of invention, a keenness of observation, and a sureness of touch which we could find but little to match; and even from the Japanese point of view, we must admit that during the first decades of his activity, from about 1790 to 1805, he stands worthily beside Yeishi, Utamaro, and Toyokuni, producing graceful work of an individual stamp; what he created later during his best period, from about 1815 to 1835, in the field of landscape, animal representation, and still life, surpasses anything of the kind that has been produced in Japan in the nineteenth century. To speak truth, however, he never adventured himself on representations of a great and noble style, on high art proper, and that of itself suffices to assign a subordinate rank to the artist in the judgment of the Japanese, who find no compensation in wit and humour for defects of formal beauty. Literary culture also seems never to have been his forte; and as his success was mainly due to his native talent, so he remained to the last an artisan.[1]

During an activity of more than sixty years—he died in the year 1849, at the age of ninety—he is reputed to have produced some 30,000 sketches and to have illustrated about 500 volumes.

(Katsu­) (shika ) (Hoku­) (sai ) (Shun­) (ro)Katsushika Hokusai was born in Yedo on 5th March 1760, and was adopted in early youth by Nakajima Ise, looking-glass maker to the Tokugawa clan, who lived in the garden-suburb Honjo, on the farther side of the Sumida River, in the district of Katsushika.[2] At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a bookseller; then from the age of fourteen he studied the art of wood-engraving, and became in 1779 a pupil of Katsukawa Shunsho, as such adopting the name of Katsukawa Shunro. He painted actors and theatrical scenes, illustrated from 1781 many of the small popular books, called Kibiyoshi, from their yellow colour, but was obliged to leave his master in 1786. According to Bing, he then went to Kano Yusen, whom likewise he was soon obliged to leave. In the years 1786–88 he employed the name Gummatei. From 1789, he himself composed many popular Vever Collection, Paris

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Hókusai: Three Girls boating at the Season of Cherry-blossom. Green, grey, brown, and yellow. Diptych. Medium size. About 1800.

tales and novels, which he illustrated at the same time. He is also said to have been an adept at the popular forms of poetry. In 1792 he illustrated the story of the "Tongue-cut Sparrow," still signing himself Shunro, but not Katsukawa. In the following year he styles himself alternately Mugura (instead of Katsukawa) Shunro, Toshu formerly Shunro (as pupil of a certain Torin, according to Bing), Tokitaro Kako (in two books of about 1798-1801 (Duret, Nos. 287, 283) and on the "Eight Views of Lake Omi," (Hishi­) (kawa ) (So­) (ri) which are represented by female figures), and Sori, as pupil of the painter Tawaraya Sori, whom he had succeeded about 1795; this name he later gave up to his pupil, Soji. He signed himself Tawaraya Sori, Hiakurin Sori, and Hokusai Sori (Tokio Catalogue, p. 101), and under this name published a book in 1803 (Hayashi Catalogue, No. 1771), and a series of fine landscapes in large oblong format.[3] His publisher at that time was Yeirakuya Toshiro, of Nagoya, who had a branch establishment in Yedo. Before the end of the century he had already used the name (Tai­) (to)Tokimasa Taito (not Tatsumasa Raito, as Anderson states in his Catalogue), which he assumed again later on, as is proved by a Santei gwafu of 1816 and the Hokusai gwashiki of 1818.[4] In the year 1797 he illustrated books together with Yeishi, Shigemasa, and others; in 1798 he brought out with them and Utamaro a work: Dantoka (?) "Dancing Songs for Men." In the same year is dated the foreword to the work Onna niobo sanjiurokkasen, the Thirty-six Poetesses, printed in 1801, for which Hokusai designed the title and Yeishi the other sheets. Here he already uses the name Hokusai, which he is supposed to have taken as a token of his great reverence for the god Hokushin Mioken, and which first occurs in 1790 in the Mitate shushingura; Anderson's Catalogue, however, traces this name back to his "northern studio," as the artist presumably designated his dwelling from its situation. He generally called himseif Katsushika Hokusai, from the precinct of that name, in which he grew up; from 1800 he often signed himself Gwakiojin Hokusai, meaning "Hokusai Dote-on-drawing." After having, about 1820, given up his surname Taito to his son-in-law, Shigenobu (or a pupil by name of Kameya Kisaburo), he often signed himself Iitsu (which read in Japanese is sounded like Tamekazu). () (itsu) 

During his activity in the last two decades of the eighteenth century, Hokusai underwent the influence of the most diverse masters. Under the influence of Shunsho he produced, as early as the latter seventies, a succession of actor pictures; then he imitated the warriors of Shunyei and the landscapes of Toyoharu; Shigemasa, too, had some effect upon him. Bing, however, emphasises especially the influence of Kiyonaga, the greatest master of that period; in the style of Kiyonaga he executed a picture of Kintoki embracing a bear while an eagle is perched on his shoulder, as well as a triptych with scenes from the history of the Ronin. His representations of wrestlers date from the beginning of the tenth decade. He early learned from Shiba Gokan the rules of perspective, which he occasionally, but not always, applied; a series of twelve landscapes, 1796, already bear a horizontal signature in the European manner; a contemporaneous set of eight views of Lake Biwa likewise shows European influence. Besides his numerous book-illustrations, he produced, toward the end of the century, four sets of the Stations of the R. Wagner, Berlin

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Hókusai: A Travelling Company. Among them a little prince, carried on the back of one of the men. In the foreground an aristocratic house. From the "Onno Sanju rokkasen" of 1798. Signed: Gwakiyojin Hókusai (Hókusai Dote-on-drawing). Diptych.

Royal Print Room, Dresden

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Hókusai: A Boat laden with Mats and Melons. View of Fuji from Ushibori, in the Hitache province. From the "Thirty-six Views of Fujiyama." Diptych.

Tokaido, followed by a fifth in 1801; the finest of these is that in the form of small oblong surimonos, no less beautiful an upright one produced at the same time: further, several series treating of the history of the Ronin, one in lateral form, 1798 (illustrated in Strange, p. 64); a second series of eleven sheets in lateral form, also two series, each of twelve sheets, in vertical form. The beautiful large oblong sheet, the Ferry-Boat, is placed by Fenollosa (No. 363) about the year 1798, when Utamaro's influence on him was very noticeable, especially as regards the extreme slenderness of the figures. But he was distinguished favourably from his contemporaries by a healthy breadth of treatment, which he afterwards lost.

The period of his prime was that about 1800. He had mastered perfectly both landscape and figure drawing; his slender, elegant figures move with consummate grace and ease in idyllic spots about the banks of Yedo's many streams, at all seasons and times of day; his colouring is serious, simple, and almost sombre, with a predominance of dark green, dark violet or blue, yellow and grey, similar to Yeishi. The year 1800 was for him particularly fruitful in surimonos, the first of which he had executed about 1793 under the name Mugura Shunro; his output in this field went on increasing until about 1804. Besides the two small volumes Itakobushi, or Chorai zekku, love-songs, of 1801, and the Yehon Chushingura, the history of the Ronin, of 1802, in two volumes, this period witnessed the production of those series of views of Yedo which brought him fully into popular favour: the Yehon Azuma asobi of 1799 (in colours, 1802), the Toto meisho ichiran of 1800 (in the second edition of the same year Toto shokei ichiran), and the Sumidagawa riogan ichiran of 1804. At this time also he drew the unusually broad sheet which shows the two banks of the Sumida as seen from one of the connecting bridges. In 1804 there further appeared one of his most beautiful works: the three-volume Yama mata yama, "Mountains and yet again Mountains," views taken from Yedo bay.

From 1805 to 1817 he devoted himself chiefly to the illustration of novels, especially those of his friend Bakin, with whom he had a disagreement later. The year 807 was particularly fertile in this respect; during it appeared the first instalment, comprising ten volumes, of the ninety-volume Shimpen Suikogwaden, or New Illustrated Suiko Den, tales of robbers, the text of which was written at first by Bakin and afterwards (for the last eighty volumes) by Ranzan. Hokusai resumed his activity as an illustrator toward the close of his life, from 1845 onwards.

The chief turning-point in the life of Hokusai occurred in the year 18 12, which saw the production of the first volume of his celebrated Mangwa, the "Fancy Sketches," followed in succeeding years by thirteen others. In these rapid sketches, which comprise the whole circle of daily life, of legend and of history, as well as of nature, executed with the greatest brilliancy, and exhibiting an extraordinary mastery of anatomy, Hokusai created a work which departed widely from all previous efforts of the Japanese, and pursued an aim similar to that of the art of Europe. An infinite abundance of observation is stored up in these sketches, but comparatively little has been done towards co-ordinating it. However much fresh suggestion they might offer to Europeans, the art of Japan, which seeks to progress only through strength and individuality of style, could draw from it but little inspiration. But the tireless ingenuity, the inexhaustible creative power, and the imperturbable good humour of the artist constantly arouses our admiration anew. Madsen, page 117, cites as a characteristic example the dancer in the third volume of the Mangwa, who is presented in thirty different postures without his head once becoming visible.[5] In the first Vever Collection, Paris

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Hókusai: The Wave. From the "Thirty-six Views of Fuji." Diptych.

Koechlin Collection, Paris

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Hókusai: Fuji in Fine Weather from the South. The red mountain, with its snow-capped peak, melts gradually into the green of the lower part. The blue sky, against which the white clouds are relieved, is darkest at the top. From the "Thirty-six Views of Fuji." Diptych.

edition these sheets, toned in black, grey, and light red, are of extraordinary sharpness; there are said to be also some pulls in black or in red only.

With this work Hokusai began the series of publications that relate to instruction in drawing; it is probable, therefore, that about this time he attained a special reputation as a teacher; until the year 1823 there followed in quick succession various works of this class. In the year 1812 itself there appeared the first volume of the Riakugwa hayashinan, "Rapid Lessons in Abbreviated Drawing," which was followed in 1814 by the second; a third appeared undated. In the first all objects are reproduced by segments of circles, and also partly by squares; in the second Hokusai depicts himself holding brushes in both hands, in his mouth, and with both feet (illustrated by Goncourt in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, pér. iii. t. xiv. [1895], p. 441); in the third the drawings are brought into the form of idiographs. In 1813 appeared his studies of nature, Shashin gwafu, fifteen polychrome sheets of various content, coloured, of medium lateral format, usually collected in two albums, one of his best works (illustrated in Perzynski, No. 20).[6] From 1816 dates the Santai gwafu, the album of the three different kinds of drawing (in the strong, the withered, and the dead style), signed Taito, in two colours, medium size. From 1817-19 there appeared in two volumes the Yehon hayabiki, "Rapid Review of the Art of Drawing," on every sheet some fifty or sixty human figures in outline, the heads generally indicated only by an oval, to prove that a face can be drawn without features. In 1813, the Hokusai gwakio, "the Mirror of Hokusai's Drawings," large (in the second edition called Denshin gwakio), with the Shashin gwafu of 1814, the principal work of this kind. 1818, Hokusai gwashiki, "Hokusai's Method of Drawing," signed Taito, published with the assistance of his pupils. In this work Hirata, the author of the text, remarks: "Hokusai is incomparable. While all his predecessors were more or less the slaves of classical traditions and acquired rules, he alone emancipated his brush from all such fetters, and drew according to the dictates of his heart. Whatever it be that his eyes, devoted to nature, absorb into themselves, he works it out with severity and precision." 1820, Hokusai sogwa "Rough Drawings," Yedo, in black and white. Lastly, 1823, the Ippitsu gwafu, sketches with a single stroke of the brush, slight colouring, medium size. He also produced a series of extremely vivacious caricatures, in a small oblong format, which are printed in two different greys and a flesh tint, and therefore probably belong to the same period as the Hundred Views of Fuji. His deep blue prints are especially delicate. In 1848 there appeared the Yehon Saishikitsui, a treatise on colouring, in two volumes; Hokusai promised a third, but was not able to finish it.

To the time of his chief activity as a teacher probably belong his gigantic paintings, which he was in the habit of executing to astonish his admirers. In the celebrated epilogue to the first volume of his Hundred Views of Fuji, 1834, he speaks of his own artistic development, saying that as early as his sixth year he felt the impulse to draw the forms of things; when he was about fifty years old he had already published innumerable sketches, but was dissatisfied with all that he produced before his seventieth year (1830). It was not until the age of seventy-three that he began to comprehend approximately the true form and nature of birds, fishes, and plants; consequently he hoped to make great progress after the age of eighty, and at the age of ninety to penetrate into the essential being of all things. Then with one hundred years he would surely attain to a higher and indescribable state, and when he should have reached the age of one hundred and


British Museum

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ten, everything, every dot and every line, would be alive.[7] From his eightieth year he signed his age on his paintings. About 1820 he had already trained a considerable number of pupils, many of whom made a name for themselves, and, like Gakutei and Hokkei, reacted in turn upon their master's style; a proof of this may be found in the surimonos, the production of which he resumed about that time, and which he rendered particularly rich and varied by employing innumerable metallic pigments.

As Hokusai—although without ever reaching his great predecessors in style—developed further that sense for natural life in the plant and animal world which had already begun in the last quarter of the eighteenth century and was cultivated more especially by Utamaro, so he also gave proof of his susceptibility to the tendencies of the times in the numerous landscapes which he produced, more especially since the twenties. Together with Hiroshige and Kunisada he forms the artistic constellation which proclaims the revival at this time of a feeling for nature and represents a last characteristic uplift in Japanese art. After the landscape with the hundred bridges, a very large sheet of 1823, there appeared until 1829 the celebrated Thirty-six Views of Fuji, the volcano, 3729 metres high, which lies to the west of Yedo, and which may be regarded as a landmark of the country. In this set, which was printed mainly in blue, green, and brown, and gradually increased to forty-six sheets, of medium size and oblong form, he exhibited the mighty mountain now near, now afar, in the reflection of varying hours and seasons. The ever-changing foreground, which differs in each print, in itself awakens our interest; but though sometimes the mountain appears only as a vanishing point, yet it is always indispensable to the total impression.[8] About 1827 appeared the waterfalls, Shokoku takimeguri, eight sheets, vertical, and 1827-30, the bridges, Shokoku meiko kiran, eleven sheets, oblong, similar in execution to the thirty-six views of Fuji. Lastly, in 1834-35, he published his Hundred Views of Fuji, the smaller work printed in black and white (in the second edition a light blue tone is added), which, while it is inferior in creative power to the thirty-six views produced ten years earlier, contributed by its amazing wealth of invention almost as much to the popularity of the master as did the Mangwa.[9] He also executed some landscapes in the "Dutch" (European) taste.

Toward the close of the twenties he returned with fresh vigour to book-illustration. We have of this time an excellently printed erotic work: Kinoye no Komatsu, the Young Pines, in three medium-sized volumes; then the Yehin teikinorai, Illustrated Correspondence about the Family Garden, an educational system, in three medium-sized volumes, one of his most beautiful works, 1828; further, the five thrilling sheets of apparitions, entitled Hiaku monogatari, the Hundred Tales, of 1830; of about the same time, the ten large sheets, Shika shasbinkio, Pictures of Poets, excellent and very rare (Goncourt, p. 185 ff.); five sheets of animals, signed Hokusai Iitsu (Goncourt, p. 188), the ten large flower pictures, in oblong form, excellent in style (Goncourt, p. 190), ten somewhat smaller sheets with flowers; further the cock, hen, and chickens, one of the largest known colour-prints, 45 cm. in height and 60 cm. in breadth (in Bing's Coll.), and in similar style the No-dance (Vever Coll.), 40 cm. by 51 cm., and the kakemono with the pyramidally arranged street-dancers (in the same collection).

In his best style is his Toshisen Yehon of 1833 (and 1836), the illustrated poems of the Tang period, in black and white; from 1835 dates the Yehon Kokio, Filial Love, two medium-sized Vever Collection, Paris

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Hókusai: Lilies. Bluish ground. Medium size.

Vever Collection, Paris

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Hókusai: Lobster and Pine-branch. Large. volumes, in which is also the well-known large signature which Brinckmann (p. 199) reproduces; to show his extraordinary versatility it suffices to point to his models for combs and pipes, Imayo Shikken hinagata, of 1822-23, the 10,000 drawings for industrial workers, Banshoku zuka, 1835, five volumes, tinted, signed Taito (cf. Brinckmann, p. 266 ff.), and the architectural drawings, Shin hinagata, of 1836.

Of the three daughters of the artist, the youngest (Oyei?) became a very clever painter; she married a certain Minamizawa, but was later divorced. Another of his daughters, Oteru (Omiyo?), married his pupil, Yanagawa Shigenobu. Their son caused his grandfather much anxiety, forcing the old artist, in order to escape his grandson's creditors, to live during the years 1834-39 in the little village of Uraga, in the province of Sagami; indeed, he was probably the cause of Hokusai's restless manner of life—it is said that the artist never spent more than one or two months in any one place. When, in 1839, a famine broke out, and as a last calamity Hokusai's house with all his drawings was burned down, the old man was obliged to live from the sale of albums that he drew. In the same year he brought out twenty-seven of the projected hundred sheets of the Hiakkuninisshu ubagayetoki, one hundred Poems explained for Nurses (Goncourt, p. 238 ff.); to these succeeded a series of three sheets, snow, moon, and flowers. In this last period of his life, he repeatedly collaborated with Toyokuni II. (Kunisada), Kuniyoshi, his son-in-law Shigenobu, and Yeisen, in illustrating books. In 1843 appeared his small Mangwa.

In 1849 the master died, at the age of ninety years. A list of his paintings and drawings is given by Goncourt, pages 269-332. No other artist has so often changed his name as Hokusai; Gonse, i. 275, mentions nine different signatures. The number of pupils trained by him is very large; the most prominent of them we shall mention later. A likeness of Hokusai may be found in Kuniyoshi's Tatsugawa, the hundred celebrated poets (reproduced in Burty's Catalogue, p. 130). A portrait of him in his eightieth year, by his daughter Oyei, is reproduced by Goncourt in colours at the beginning of his book. We find reproductions of his works in Gonse, i. 94, 95 (landscapes of about 1790), i. 274, and ii. 338 (of the year 1802), and in Anderson's Japanese Wood-Engraving, ill. 24 (interior view in perspective from a work of 1826), as well as in numerous other places. Fenollosa (Outline, pl. xvii.) reproduces one of his paintings.

After a thorough training in youth, Hokusai had risen, about the year 1800, to the first rank of artists; by his subsequent activity, which always exhibited great ability and imagination, and an effort to expand the sphere of representation, he retarded the inevitable decline of Japanese art for decades, but as he was lacking in culture and sterling personality, and remained fast-bound among externals, he was neither able to lead art back to its former height nor to create a new and great style.

In addition to the data previously given concerning his individual works, we may here add the following.

Single sheets:—

  • Actors, in yellow and a little pink, about 1778 (?).
  • Kintoki between a monkey and a dog that is carrying his trunk; early.
  • The same, with a bear and an eagle, black and white, medium size (Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum).
  • A fisherman caught by a cuttle-fish, near by a youth laughing.
  • Representations of wrestlers, about 1793.
  • Triptych with scenes from the story of the Ronins; under the influence of Kiyonaga.
  • A boat with the gods of fortune fishing; dating from the nineties.
  • Kintoki embracing a bear, with an eagle perched on his shoulder, signed Shunro; under the influence of Kiyonaga.
  • Dakki, the mistress of a Chinese tyrant, looking out from a window at a hangman holding up a child.
  • The sun-goddess in her cave.
  • View of the two banks of the Sumida, seen from a bridge; very broad sheet, about 1800.
  • The Landscape with the 100 Bridges; very large.
  • Fujiyama across the water. 1802, unsigned.
  • The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido as a Sugoroku-game; large.
  • Surveyor at work, 1848; large oblong.
  • Representations of animals: eagle on perch beside a cherry-branch in blossom; two storks on a pine-branch under snow; two carp swimming up a waterfall; horses grazing; tortoises at the bottom of the sea.


  • The six Tamagawa; somewhat brutal.
  • The same, with medallions.
  • 3 sheets, evening landscapes with women promenading; small.
  • Shika Shashinkio, poems, 10 large sheets, with excellent landscapes and figures.
  • The Liukiu Islands, 8 sheets.
  • 27 (?) sheets, the Hundred Poems; oblong, signed Hokusai Manji.


  • A young merchant, 1793; on the back the programme of a summer concert.
  • The Twelve Months typified by female figures.
  • The Childhood of Characters in History.
  • Large size: lobster and pine-branch, 1802; another without the branch; tea-house by the river, 1804; plum-branch in blossom, 1806; sempstresses, 1809; series of five sheets of shells, signed Gechi Rojin Jitsu.


  • Yellow books (kibiyoshi), size 17 by 12½ cm., from 1780 to 1811 (see Goncourt, page 347 ff.). Among them the story of the Tongue-cut Sparrow, 1792, and the Paths of Riches and Poverty, 1793.
  • His earliest work was the Meguron o hiaku zuka (Yedo, 1780), 2 vols., with twenty pictures.
  • Yehon onaga mochi, the Box of Various Contents. Yedo, 1784.
  • Mitate chushingura, Contemporaries compared with the Forty-seven Ronin. 1790. Signed Hokusai.
  • Aa shinkiro, 1804 (men with shells in place of heads).
  • Onna niobo sanjiurokkasen, the Thirty-six Poetesses, 1801; with a preface of 1797. The first page is by him, the rest is by Yeishi.
  • Yehon Azuma asobi, the Promenade of the East (that is, in Yedo, the capital of the East); large. 1799, black and white in one vol.; 1802, coloured in three vols. Not so good as the following. Illustrated in Gonse, i. p. 274; ii. p. 338; Strange, p. 66.
  • Toto meisho ichiran, Views of Yedo, 2 vols.; large. 1800. Very various in style, with a number of small figures in the landscape. In the second edition of same year called Toto shokei ichiran.
  • Sumidagawa riogan ichiran, View of the two Banks of the Sumida, 3 vols.; large. 1804. Beginning with spring and ending with winter (reproduction in Strange, pl. vii.).
  • Later editions of all three above-mentioned works, 1815, with the addition of a blue tone; also still good.
  • Yehon chushingura, History of the Ronin, 2 vols.; medium size. 1802.
  • Shimpen suikogwaden, New illustrated Suiko den, in nine sets of ten vols. The first, 1807, with text by Bakin; the others with text by Ranzan; second set, 1829; the third and remaining ones not until later. Every volume contains some three double sheets.
  • Mangwa: I., 1812; II., 1814; III., 1815; IV. (especially mythological) and V., 1816; VI. (gymnastic, &c.) and VII. (landscapes, &c), 1817; VIII., 1818; IX. and X., 1819; XI. and XII., 1834; XIII., 1849; XIV., 1875; XV., 1879. Reprints 1844-1848, and 1875. According to Duret, Hokusai was assisted in the completion of the ninth volume by his pupils Bokusen, Hokun, Hokkei, Hokusen, Utamasa. The first edition of the twelfth volume is printed in black and white, without the flesh-tint block. For the contents of the volumes, see Perzynski (p. 59 seqq.). Ill. ibid. (Nos. 11–17).
  • Dochu gwafu, the Tokaido, in 2 vols.; medium size. 1836. New impression in 1881.
  • In the Kwacho gaden are very fine representations of animals, which are among his best work of the kind (illustrated in Perzynski, Nos. 37-42).
  • The Hundred Tales (see Perzynski, p. 84 seqq.; ill. ibid., Nos. 67-70).
  • The blocks of the Yehon Toshisen gogon zekku, 110 pictures, were not discovered until 1880 and were then printed at Tokio in 2 vols. (Gillot Catalogue).
  • The Hundred Views of Fuji: first ed. with falcon's feather on cover; vol. i., 1834; vol. ii., 1835; vol. iii., unknown in this edition. Printed in black and white. Second edition soon after, with overprint of a bluish tone. Reprint of 1880, much darker than first edition. Illustrated in Perzynski (Nos. 73-86; see ibid., p. 87 seqq.).

About twenty artists are specified as Hokusai's pupils. We mention here the following:—

(Hoku­) (ba) Teisai Hokuba worked during the first three decades of the nineteenth century, and therefore ranks along with Hokkei as the oldest of these pupils.[10] Fenollosa mentions a painting by him which he places about the year 1800. Of his illustrated works, the following are mentioned:—

  • Toshitsu yogen kwairoku, Lights and Shadows of the Night's Constellations, 28 vols., 8vo, black and white. 1809.
  • Denka chawa, 5 vols. 1829.

In his later years, from about 1830 onwards, he followed the style of Kunisada and of Hiroshige, and finally attached himself to Kuniyoshi. According to the Tokio Catalogue (p. 108) he did not adopt the name Teisai until about 1830. He produced good surimonos. Reproduction of a spirited composition in Strange, page 74.

(Hoku­) (kei) Uwoya Hokkei, Hokusai's best pupil, was born in 1780 and died in the period of Ansei (1854-59).[11] Before he came to Hokusai, he is supposed to have studied under Kano Yeisen. According to the Hayashi Catalogue (No. 1229) he also signed himself Todoya, Kiosai, Kiyen, &c. He excelled in his surimonos, one of which is illustrated by Fenollosa (Outline, pl. xix.). Of his illustrated books the best known is the

  • Mangwa (1814) 2 vols., 8vo.

Besides this the following are mentioned:—

  • Fujin gwazoshu, Japanese Poetesses, 8vo, black and white. 1806.
  • Sinsen kioka gojunin isshu, Fifty Poets, 8vo, black and white. 1819.
  • Kioka foso meisho zuye, Celebrated Places, 3 vols., 8vo, coloured. 1824.
  • Suiko Den, 108 Heroes, 8vo, coloured. 1828.
  • Hokuri junitoki (Yedo, about 1820), Views of the Yoshiwara, black and white.
  • Shokoku meisho, Celebrated Places.
  • Yoshiwara junitoki, the Twelve Hours of the Yoshiwara.
  • Hokkei zuko, sketches, 2 vols., 8vo, in 3 tones.
  • Poems to the Moon, 8vo, black and white.
  • Haikai hiakkachu, 100 hokku (poems of seventeen syllables), and portraits of poets, 8vo, black and white. 1848.
  • One of his most important prints is the large suspension-bridge in the snow.

Among his pupils were, besides Gakutei, Keiju (Hayashi Catalogue, No. 1252) and Keise (ibid., No. 1253).

(Gaku­)𠅘 (tei)  Gakutei, who worked in the first third of the nineteenth century, is supposed to have been originally an author, then to have studied with Shunsho, and later with Hokusai (or according to the Hayashi Catalogue, No. 1249, with Hokkei).[12] He also was celebrated for his surimonos, as e.g. the series of the Seven Gods or Fortune represented by beautiful women in gorgeous robes. Gonse, i. 144, gives a reproduction from him of the year 1822. Of his works may be mentioned:—

  • Ichiro gwafu, drawings of an old man. Yedo, 1823.
  • The thirty-six poets, double sheets, 1826.
  • Riakugwa shokunin zukushi, the craftsmen, 46 sheets, 8vo.
  • Illustrations of poems, mostly landscapes, 11 double sheets.
  • Landscapes, 40 sheets, 8vo; not very good.
  • Dancing girls in the light of a red lamp; a series or five small sheets (Gillot Catalogue).
  • The Ko-Shoguns, five surimonos (Hamburg).

Yanagawa Shigenobu, 1787–1842, married Hokusai's daughter Omiyo, who later obtained a divorce from him; after this he imitated Kunisada's style.[13] From his father-in-law he had received, about 1820, the name Taito. Of his works the following may be named:—

  • Satomi Hakken den, illustrated in collaboration with Sadahide and Keisai Yeisen.
  • Yanagawa gwacho, album with various representations, in black and red, 8vo. Owari, 1821.
  • Yanagawa gwafu, the same, 1821.
  • Landscapes, 20 double sheets, 8vo; not very good.
  • Kioka meisho zuye, 1826, tinted.
  • Sansui gwajo, 1835, landscapes.

Yanagawa Shigeyama was his pupil; he produced the Yehon Fujibakama, famous women, Yedo, 1823; new edition 1836, 2 vols.

Katsushika Isai counts among the later pupils of the master.[14] Of his work may be mentioned:—

  • Kwannonkio riakuzukai, a Buddhist tract. 1851.
  • Nichiren Shonin ichidaizuye, the life of Nichiren, 6 vols. 1858.
  • Isai gwashiki, sketches, 2 vols., black and white. 1864.
  • Kwachosansui zushiki, 5 vols., small oblong, black and white. 1865-68.
  • Mangwa hayabiki, four series. 1867.

Shotei Hokuju published a drawing-book, Hokuju gwafu, also landscapes in European style, which are much sought after; they are remarkable for their indigo-blue with pine-green and manganese violet and for their masses of light cloud, and mostly represent views of rivers. Duret (No. 384) mentions a book of 1813. Fenollosa assigns a print of his to about 1835.[15]

Hokuun, at first an architect, brought out a Mangwa, 8vo, in black and white, which is closely akin to Hokusai.[16] The Hayashi Catalogue (No. 1775) mentions a book by him, Nagoya, of about 1818.

Shofu Kiosai, the youngest of Hokusai's pupils, born in 1831, imitated his master with faithfulness and spirit. By him are:—

  • Kiosai gwafu, sketches, about 1860.
  • Yehon takakagami, 5 vols., about 1870.
  • Mangwa, 1881 (from which Brinckmann reproduces an illustration p. 214).

Other pupils of Hokusai are as follows: Rinsai Soji (Hayashi Catalogue, No. 1214). Isai Hokutai (ibid., No. 1235), a book of 1803 by him: Yedo. Hotei Gosa Hokuga (ibid., No. 1238), a book of 1820 by him: Yedo. Katsushika Hokuga, surimonos. Taigaku (ibid., No. 1244). Hokute Joren, about 1840 (ibid., No. 1245). Yanagawa Shigeyama, a book of 1823 by him (Duret, No. 390). Hokusu, a book of 1808 by him: Yedo (Hayashi Catalogue, No. 1773).

  1. See the just, but in the main unfavourable, judgment of Binyon (p. 247).
  2. Edmond de Goncourt, Hokousaï: Paris, 1896, containing the artist's biography taken from the Ukiyo-ye ruiko, p. ix. ff., which, however, needs frequent correction; S. Bing, "La jeunesse de Hok'sai," La Revue blanche, x. 310 ff. (No. 68, 1 April 1896); wherein is related that Iijima Hanjuro printed in Japan his materials collected on Bing's commission, from which Hayashi made translations in Paris for Goncourt. Anderson Cat., pp. 350, 357 ff.; Fenollosa Cat., Nos. 358388; Strange, p. 60 ff.; Brinckmann, pp. 241272; Duret, Critique d'avant-garde, pp. 191209; and elsewhere. The year of birth is taken from Revon. Fenollosa (Outline, p. 45) gives a good appreciation of the artist.
  3. Fenollosa Cat., No. 359, cites a certain Hishikawa Sori, but leaves it doubtful whether this be, as Fenollosa inclines to believe, a distinct painter or only one of the many metamorphoses of Hokusai. Of this Hishikawa Sori there survive some very delicately conceived and beautifully coloured illustrations of Poems on Artisans, 30 sheets, small folio. As the prints signed Sori are as fine as any of Hokusai's work, there seems no need for denying them to him, as the Hayashi Cat. does (No. 1205).
  4. A certain Katsushika Taito, several of whose prints are mentioned by the Hayashi Cat. (No. 1240 seqq.), and who is the author of an illustrated work: Flowers and Birds, that appeared in two volumes at Osaka, 1848-49 (ibid., No. 1785), was probably a late pupil of Hokusai (but see also under Shigenobu).
  5. For a detailed description of the contents of the fourteen volumes, see Brinckmann, p. 244 ff.
  6. Described by Goncourt, p. 136 ff. Siebold is said to have brought back four copies now to be found in the libraries of Paris, Vienna, and the Hague, and in the Gonse Collection.
  7. Brinckmann, p. 203.
  8. See the description of the single sheets, Goncourt, p. 162 ff. Fenollosa (No. 382) mentions the picture with the Boat as perhaps the most original and impressive. Colour-reproductions in Perzynski (pp. 16, 64, 80), black and white, ibid. (Nos. 52-61); see also ibid., p. 77, seqq.
  9. Madsen, p. 129 ff.; Brinckmann, p. 258 ff.; Goncourt, p. 208 ff.
  10. Anderson Cat., p. 367; Burty Cat., No. 671 ff.; Fenollosa Cat., No. 391; Strange, p. 73.
  11. Anderson Cat., p. 367; Cat. Burty, No. 675 ff.; Goncourt, Hokousaï, p. 339; Fenollosa Cat., No. 389.
  12. Anderson Cat., p. 343; Strange, pp. 32, 74; Goncourt, Hokousaï, p. 341.
  13. Anderson Cat., p. 368; Goncourt, Hokousaï, p. 344; Cat. Burty, No. 687.
  14. Anderson Cat., p. 370; Cat. Burty, No. 726 f.; Duret, No. 417.
  15. Anderson Cat., p. 367; Goncourt, Hokousaï, p. 343; Fenollosa Cat., No. 390.
  16. Anderson Cat., p. 367; Goncourt, Hokousaï, p. 343; Burty Cat., No. 688.