Kanagawa Oki Namiura – Under the Great wave off Kanagawa



Why the Great Wave?

“Kanagawa Oki Namiua” is the most famous piece of work by KATSUSHIKA Hokusai. Mt. Fuji is drawn in the background of a boat being tossed by a gigantic wave and is one of a series of Ukiyo-e landscapes published in 1831(the 2nd year of Tempo). It is one of the most famous works in the world of Japanese art, and is famous worldwide as the “Great Wave”. As soon as it was published, it became a great best seller within the Edo citizens. This established the position of Hokusai. It is said that the size is 37.9 cm wide × 25.7 cm long. In this large-sized horizontal picture, the brilliant indigo blue called “bero ai” dominates most of the space.

Let’s see the composition of this Kanagawa Oki Namiua.”Kanagawa Oki” is the name of the offshore of the station town of Tokaido and Kanagawa (Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama). This means that this picture would have been one that was drawn from the current view of the Tokyo Bay. The composition of this picture is divided into four, consists of three large waves, three boats, Mt. Fuji, a signature on the upper left corner of the background. There is also a great human confronting great nature. Dynamic and quiet, far and near, the space that spreads indefinitely. “Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei”(Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji) is the landscape art collection with the theme of Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is not only a mountain with the highest altitude in Japan. It is also sacred and a symbol of beauty in the country of Japan because there is a shrine on the summit. It is also considered the main symbol of the state. However, in this work, Mt. Fuji is shown as a supporting role. Mt. Fuji, which is supposed to be majestic, is drawn small and is drawn quietly as the background in the lower center, contrasted with the magnificence of the big wave in the foreground. Behind the original theme of the work, it is an interesting piece where the waves are inverted to be the protagonist and the contrast between the dynamic and static parts is interesting.

compared with photographs taken with modern high-speed cameras

The big wave shows how wild the sea was on this day, and the picture perfectly depicts the moment the wave breaking. The fact that this moment has been captured has been compared with photographs taken with modern high-speed cameras. It has been verified that it is a graphically correct still picture. As for where the wave front collapses, it may only seem like an abstract expression to an ordinary eye, but the waves express excitement on the right side of the screen and go down towards the center. A falling feeling is emphasized by the ship riding on the movement of the downward facing wave. The tip of the ship just reaches the lowest part of the wave almost as if to show the link of the lowest part of the wave and Mt. Fuji. If this ship was drawn to the right, the movement of the wave and the direction of the ship would be opposite, and the feeling of liberation would have been considerably diminished. The wave that goes down to the lowest base part shows a rise with a smooth circular movement from that direction. It is implicitly shown that this movement will cause the waves to repeat repetitive movements indefinitely. The wave reaches a peak at a little to the left of the center, and is drawn at the moment just before it collapses. Hokusai seems to have pressed the camera shutter without missing a chance. In order to actually intuitively grasp the movement of this wave, we should try to express what kind of sound would be heard by using mimetic words, or reproduce the movement painted: such as the big waves, the ship, or Mt. Fuji. Trying it in a group of several people may be good too. It may also be a good idea to assimilate the big wave of momentum that would likely swallow Mt. Fuji, and use voices and large body movements to feel the dynamics of it all.

The wave which is growing larger and the small size of the person riding on the ship shows a remarkable contrast. This emphasizes the greatness of nature. Humans are nothing compared to the grandness of nature. This represents a view of the nature of the Japanese people, and how Mt. Fuji is located between the waves and the ship, as if to say that it is always calm and composed, and indifferent. It could also be seen as a symbol of settling disputes between nature and humans. Looking at the picture as a whole in this way, the intense motion dominates the left half of the screen, whereas the right half is relatively calm, and the world where the dynamic and the static expressions are represented as intertwined. However, as a whole, there are no flaws in the picture, and that makes the impression of the work that much more dynamic.

Hokusai, known for drawing using geometry, decided the composition using the golden ratio and drew the arc of the great wave with a tool that corresponds to the contemporary compass. This tool was called “Bunmawashi”. The water splashing from the wave crest appears as the snow on Mt. Fuji. The delicate expression of this part is a technique of woodcut printing called “Fukiage-bokashi”(wiping down blurring), it is an expression that a sculptor creates by adjusting the moisture rather than expressing it with a woodcutter. This printmaking technique needs advanced technology. This is an interesting thing to look for, that not many people know about.
Detailed information is explained in the guidebook attached to the product.


Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei

Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei”(Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji) is an ukiyo-e picture of a landscape painting drawn on the theme of Mt. Fuji. It is painted by Katsushika Hokusai. It consists of 46 charts of the main 36 versions, and 10 additional versions added by popularity. The main 36 paintings are called “Front Fuji”, and the additional 10 pieces are called “Back Fuji”. The production is in a large format Nishiki-e. The first edition began around 1823 (the 6th year of Bunsei), it was published around 1831(the 2nd year of Tempo), and was completed around the 4th year of Tempo. The signature on this painting reads Hokusai revised to Iitsu. The publisher was Yohachi Nishimuraya (Eiju-do) of Bakuro-cho in Edo. Hokusai at the time of the presentation was 72 years-old. It is a piece he completed in the later years of his life, and “Fugaku” refers to Mt Fuji. In it, Mt. Fuji is drawn from various parts of the city. 13 were drawn from Edo city, 4 from the Edo area, 2 from Kazusa(the present southern part of Chiba prefecture), 1 from Joushu (Ibaraki prefecture), 18 from the Tokaido line, and 7 from the Koshu (Yamanashi prefecture) direction, and 1 miscellaneous. It is also characterized by the fact that the perspective methods being utilized and the use of Purushan Blue, “Bero ai” which was very popular at the time. Known as the particularly famous masterpieces of Hokusai Katsushika are the “Gaifu Kaisei”(known as Red Fuji) and “Kanagawa Oki Namiura”. Landscape paintings in Ukiyo-e became called “Meisho-e”(landmark painting) at the time, and by the commercial success of this series, Meisho-e was established as a genre alongside Yakusha-e (Ukiyo-e pictures of Kabuki actors) and Bijinga (ones of beautiful women).


Katsushika Hokusai was deeply moved by the “Mountain of God” – Mt. Fuji when he was traveling in his early 50’s. He looked at it from various places, thought about the composition for many years afterwards, and drew it from every angle possible. His works varied from Mt. Fuji painted on the whole screen, such as “Gaifu Kaisei” or “Sanka Hakuu” (Raining at bottom of the mountain), to it being drawn in the distance like “Kanagawa Oki Namiuwa” and “Koshu Izawa Yaki”. Along with a variety of Mt. Fuji drawn in different angles and seasons, he also actively portrayed many people’s activities. The placement of Mt. Fuji is very calculated. You can sometimes see it peeking from between raging waves or from behind a Torii (a shrine’s gateway), sometimes from a tub, and sometimes it is even portrayed as if the universe is spreading around Mt. Fuji at a center. At the same time, the pieces carefully depict the lives of the ordinary people. At the time of the Edo period, among the people was an extraordinary faith in Mt. Fuji. “Fuji kou” (Fuji visiting), a group worshiping activity on Mt. Fuji was performed regularly, and artificial Mt. Fujis named “Fujitsuka” was made and placed in various parts of Edo. Amid such social trends, “Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei” was born. The people of Edo rejoiced to Mt. Fuji and how they were portrayed in the same scene, expressing their high praise towards the piece. It became a hit, with people saying “When you are talking about Hokusai, you’re talking about Mt. Fuji. When talking about Mt. Fuji, you’re talking about Hokusai.”
For more stories, please refer to the guidebook attached to the product. If you read it you can become a master that is more familiar to this than the Japanese.

Picture crazy old man

Hokusai once said, “If you do not know about the human skeleton, you can not truely draw a person.” Hokusai continued persisting in his study of painting even in his later years. He entered as a disciple under a bonesetter named Nayakura Yajibee. He says that he was finally able to correctly draw the human form after he learned about the bone structure and how to perform bone realignment surgery. In the testimony by Tameichi Tsuyuki, Hokusai’s disciple, he has said, “Although I have drawn a long time under him, I have yet to paint freely…”.
Hearing him complain in this way, Hokusai’s daughter smiled and said “Yet, just recently I saw my father fold his arms and cry that he couldn’t draw a single cat. This applies to everything, but the moment you think you are not good enough is the time where you grow.” Hokusai, hearing these words, agreed and said “Exactly, that is absolutely correct.”

Even more famous than the work itself are the words that he wrote later, describing the motivation for draw such an unusual piece.

“I could somewhat realize the how the skeletal structure of animals and fish were developed”

Even if you are six years old you and have a habit of copying shapes of things, or if you draw half a hundred pictures, or even if you draw for seventy years, your work will not be special.
At seventy-three, I could somewhat realize the how the skeletal structure of animals and fish were developed.
Therefore, at the age of eighty-six, I gradually proceed to ninety years oldness (still) and then (that) make a husband’s intention to make it hundreds of years old and make it one hundred and ten years old. I wish I could live.
Hopefully I saw no obligation of Kimiko prophecy of longevity

The difference in age between Katsushika Hokusai and other Ukiyo-e artists was that Sharaku was two years younger than Hokuksai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi were both 37 years younger, and Utamaro was seven years older than him. He also influenced craftsmen and musicians, including impressionist artists such as Vincent van Gogh. Although it seemed to be caught in the Siebold incident, Keiga Kawahara became a substitute and escaped the difficulties.
It was the only Japanese nominated as 86th in “The 100 people in the world who left the most important achievements in this 1000 years” planned by the magazine “Life” in the United States in 1999.

Real Ukiyo-e print handcrafted by oldest workshop

Ukiyo-e, which is produced by traditional techniques that continue from the Edo period, has been approved and protected as a traditional craft item designated by the Japanese government’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in modern times. Katsushika Hokusai’s “Kanagawa Oki Namiura” provided here is produced at the oldest workshop which continues from the Edo period and is designated as an ‘authentic’, traditional craftwork by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. Japanese-Style, custom-made Kanagawa Oki Namiura, which was specially framed to fit this large Western European building.

The size of Ukiyo-e prints corresponds to B4 size (353 cm × 250 cm) of the standard called ‘Japan unique B row’. The Ukiyo-e prints that are generally sold in Japan are framed, and the size is about B3 size (500 cm × 353 cm), the decoration of the frame itself is very simple so as not to disturb the features of the painting it is something. In general houses, they look stunning, however, paintings of this size are too small in size in Western European museum type buildings and a simple frame can seem weak or unimpressive, and even though they are adorning these wonderful Ukiyo-e prints.

So we used A0 size (841 cm × 1189 cm) and fitted it to a big Western European building which was bigger than Japanese houses. We framed it, put a beautiful purple mat suits the Kanagawa Oki Namiura. Next, we entered a special order for a craftsmen to frame it.

“Raden” – pearl shell craft embedded

This screw is a traditional technique that shapes parts using the glossy part inside a pearl shell into a motif and embeds it in the frame’s wood. It is a traditional craft that requires a highly skilled individual to shape the circular shell into a flat shape and flatten it into the desired shape. In Ukiyo-e prints of Japanese-Style, you can embed the beautiful spiral work into the shape of a great wave and get a Hokusai decorated like no others. It shines with a rainbow colored luster. Your room decorating Ukiyo-e prints will become a beach in the Edo period when Hokusai sees it.
If you want to know more details, please purchase the product and read the attached guidebook. If you read the book you can become a master that is more familiar to this than the Japanese. Surely you will be satisfied.

Please enjoy a genuine Kanagawa Oki Namiura made using traditional techniques employed for 300 years from the Edo period, please decorate it in your house.

A perfect guidebook is appended

For this product, a guidebook that covers stories and detailed informations are appended. Please take a look at the product first and then watch it carefully. Next, We recommend you to peruse the guidebook deeply. In addition, please refer to the explanation of the guidebook and try and taste the product again.
You can gain a deeper understanding than when you first picked it up and you can make this product your own.

Because this product is handmade by a complete craftsman, we accept orders for only 2 pieces per month from all over the world. We will deliver it to you in about 4 months. Please wait for your product to be completed from ordering to delivery.



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