Katsushika Hokusai Exhibition

posted on 2005-12-02 10:54 EST
Tokyo National Museum Exhibition to the Art of the Creator of "Manga" - Exhibition Coming to North America

The Tokyo National Museum is holding an "unprecedented" exhibition of works by woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai. The exhibition, which includes spans 70 years worth of work - but only a small fraction of the 30,000 or more works he created - includes several of Hokusai's "manga."

Hokusai is widely recognized as having coined the term "manga," meaning whimsical pictures, as referring to a series of 15 volumes of sketches that Hokusai published in the 1800s. His manga were often comical depictions of common everyday activities involving Japanese people. He even published several works showing people how to draw like him, the first "How to Draw Manga." However for Hokusai, the term did not refer to the content of the work, but rather the "whimsical" manner in which he drew it, allowing his brush to move across the page at random creating what it chose to create.

Osamu Tezuka, the "godfather" of modern manga is regularly said to have been heavily influenced by Walt Disney and Max Fleischer, but influence from the art of Hokusai and other woodblock artists can also be seen in Tezuka's manga.

"Hokusai" will be on exposition at the Tokyo National Museum until Sunday, December 4th. It will then be disassembled and parts of the exhibition will be put on display in March 2006 at the Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

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