Hokusai, in full Katsushika Hokusai…Japanese master artist and printmaker of the ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) school. His early works represent the full spectrum of ukiyo-e art, including single-sheet prints of landscapes and actors, hand paintings, and surimono (“printed things”), such as greetings and announcements. Later he concentrated on the classical themes of the samurai and Chinese subjects. His famous print series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji,” published between 1826 and 1833, marked the summit in the history of the Japanese landscape print.
Hokusai’s date of birth is not known for certain, but is often said to be the 23rd day of the 9th month of the 10th year of the HÅreki era (in the old calendar, or October 31, 1760) to an artisan family, in the Katsushika district of Edo, Japan…His father never made Hokusai an heir, so it is possible that his mother was a concubine. Hokusai began painting around the age of six, possibly learning the art from his father, whose work on mirrors also included the painting of designs around the mirrors.
Hokusai was known by at least thirty names during his lifetime. Although the use of multiple names was a common practice of Japanese artists of the time, the numbers of names he used far exceeds that of any other major Japanese artist. Hokusai’s name changes are so frequent, and so often related to changes in his artistic production and style, that they are useful for breaking his life up into periods.
Woodblock Prints in the Ukiyo-e Style~