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Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎) (1760 - 1849), known as simply Hokusai (北斎) is a famous Japanese painter and Ukiyo-e maker.

His works were important sources of inspiration for many European impressionists like Claude Monet.


Hokusai was born was born in Edo in the 9th month of the 10th year of the period Horeki (October-November, 1760) to an artisan family. His father, Nakajima Issai, was a mirror-maker. At age eighteen, after some practice as a wood-engraver, he entered the studio of Katsugawa Shunsho, a painter and designer of color prints. His disregard for the artistic principles of his master caused his expulsion in 1785.

Although from time to time Hokusai studied various styles, he maintained stylistic independence thereafter. For a time he lived in extreme poverty, and, although he must have gained sums for his work which might have secured him comfort, he remained poor, and to the end of his life proudly described himself as a peasant.

He was an eager student to the end of his long life, and said on his deathbed, "If Heaven had lent me but five years more, I would have become a great painter." He died on May 4, 1849.


His most popular work is Ukiyo-e series "36 views of mount Fuji", which was created between 1826 and 1833. In consists of 46 images (10 of them added later).

Some of Ukiyo-e from that series:

First in the series, known as "Wave".

Second in the series, known as "Red Fuji"

"Dragon over mount Fuji"

45th of the series - "Travelers going through river Oi"