Japanese Art. Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”


The Japanese artwork comprises of very many interesting features. Their products have been produced in a range of materials, which includes wood, clay, and paints. These have to give rises to outstanding art articles of national and international interests. These articles are careful and prudently made so as to have the beautiful authentic look and touch as per intend purpose of the work. Generally, art in Japan is characterized by unique art forms such as paper folding.

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People from the outside world including the Chinese culture influenced the early development of this art. One of the earliest art articles that were products from Japan was ceramic clay products. The japans porcelain which is some of the ceramic products were in high demand to the west during the 17th century. The process of making started at the time of the Japanese uprising against the Koreans. This product is considered to have been originated from a Korean artisan who was captured by the Japanese.

The place of origin is suggested to be the southern parts of Kyushu island. The other early artwork from the Japanese includes traditional Japanese theater which comes in two forms as kabuki theater and noh- theater, Japanese tea ceremony, and Japanese art prints which are referred to as ukiyo-e. This kind of art commenced in the 16th century and became most popular, leading to the introduction of multi-color woodblock prints.

The great wave is one of the famous artwork. This was Hokusai’s work inauguration, which placed the common man into woodblocks. This form of artwork date back to 1831. it creates the general extraordinary impression of picture work. Its size is fairly small measuring 10by 15 in or 25.4 by 37.1 centimeters color woodcut.

History of the artist

Hokusai was born in Edo and grew to be a Japanese painter and wood engraver. He did a lot of artworks hence by the time of his departure from this world, he had left more than 30,000 works. His prudence and prowess in this field lead him to be considered as one of the outstanding figures of the ukiyo-e and school of printmaking. He is also observed as a pioneer as he introduced direct observation of nature and human subjects. Most of his distinctive woodblock works and other artworks can clearly be traced as done between the 1830s and 1840s.

The wave history

The picture of the Great Wave consists of three boats among the turbulent, broken waves. These boats are mold into the shapes of the engulfing waves. Usually, tiny humans are portrayed as if they are being tossed around under giant waves, while there is the sacred, enormous, snow-capped mountain at a distance. This wave is moderately humorous; it disperses itself into the wind. Without the boats and the width of the other print, this work is not as dramatic. The tension of the sea is drawn out through lines up the side of the wave.

Interpretation of the picture of the great wave

This great wave being Hokusai’s most famous picture and easily Japan’s most famous image is a seascape with Mt. Fuji, which is a distant hill. The waves form a frame through which observes Mt. Fuji is observed at a distance. it depicts water in motion which forms a wave that foams and breaks into claws that grasp for the fishermen. The large waveforms a massive ebb tide to the yang of empty space under it. There is the impending crash of the wave bringing tension into the painting.

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In the foreground, tiny-peaked waveforms a small Mt. Fuji, which is repeated hundreds of miles away in the enormous Mt. Fuji seem to shrink through perspective. The wavelet is larger than the mountain. Instead of shoguns and nobility, we see tiny fishermen huddled into their silky crafts as they slide down a seamount and submerge directly into the wave to make it to the other side. The yin violence of Nature is counterbalanced by the yang-relaxed confidence of expert fishermen. Unusually, though it is a sea storm, the sun is immaculate. The rapid boats are called Oshiokuribune in Japanese. They transported fresh fish and the like early in the morning from fishing villages on the Boho Peninsula to fish marketplace off the Tokyo Bay,

Most people in the west have a different perception of the picture. Often, many Westerners think of this woodblock as the classical Japanese image. However, it is in no articulated to belong to them. The reason is that traditional Japanese would have never highlighted lower-class fishermen. During that day the Japanese highly despised fishermen and considered them to be of the lowest class.

Japanese perception toward the great wave

This picture surprised most of the Japanese. They had greatly overlooked nature and also they could not use perspective. They did not pay much concentration to the delicate shading of the sky. Historically Japanese says that they liked the woodblock print because it was recognizable to them.


This Japanese great wave painting originated in Western art of landscape, long-distance perspective, nature, and ordinary humans. The gigantic Wave is essentially a Western painting but vividly seen through Japanese eyes.

Importance of the great wave

Through the working of the great wave, Hokusai was able to more innovation to both western art and the Japanese. He changed the Dutch l paintings by adding the Japanese style of flattening and the use of color surfaces as an element. The innovation made was one to be used in culture enhancement in the westerners. During those early times, such prints became popular to the west where they embraced them as a new form of their culture. Due to the introduction of these new products, a young artists from all over European countries go ca challenge to learning the technique of making them.

Lesson from the great wave

One I like to identify the brilliant picture which shows the eminent nature power. If someone has proper interpretation and observation of drawing and printing, he can learn that the appearance of the large waves than the mount is an indication of the relative higher power that vanquished the natural visible power. This shows that invisible powers are more pronounced than visible ones. The head of the crew is as small as the speckle of the foam while there relatively small man. This model would create good in the power hierarchy.

Many people will appreciate that the most powerful thing is unseen. It is clear that unpredictable power may cause more chaos than expected. The splashing power created chaotic light foam, which is dispersed by the wind

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The picture shows that man is so courageous. He can even dare to go through the turbulent storm of the which much greater in high than him. There are many eminent things that man is faced with, but it is not reasonable good to decide to fear nature instead of facing it boldly. He has the stamina to get into risky activities and venture to know the truth of the matter.


The Japanese artwork is a wide array of articles, which range from wood- products, ceramics as well as painting and printing works. These products have attracted global interest and hence they are in international demand. This prominent requirement has been attached to them due to their uniqueness in their cultural and expressional ability to passed impeccable information both of nature and human interest. The great wave is not a Japanese art by origin. But it originated partially from the westerners. The full implement to come up with the great wave was done as an improvement of some facts from the westerners by Hokusai.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, September 2). Japanese Art. Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/japanese-art-hokusais-the-great-wave/

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1. StudyCorgi. "Japanese Art. Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”." September 2, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/japanese-art-hokusais-the-great-wave/.


StudyCorgi. "Japanese Art. Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”." September 2, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/japanese-art-hokusais-the-great-wave/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Japanese Art. Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”." September 2, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/japanese-art-hokusais-the-great-wave/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Japanese Art. Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”'. 2 September.

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