“The Complete Hokusai” Exhibition

Visit the exhibition of Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) ’s 70-year-works as a ukiyo-e artist. In commemoration of the 260th anniversary of his birth, special exhibition has been held at Tokyo Midtown Hall from July 22. This exhibition showcases every page, piece, and image of his masterpieces “Hokusai Manga”, “Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji,” and “One Hundred views of Mt. Fuji” from his age of 20 to 90. This exhibition has been postponed from last year due to the pandemic. 

The exhibition has 5 areas as below :
①Hokusai Manga
②Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji
③One Hundred views of Mt. Fuji
④Digital Hokusai

①Hokusai Manga

This area showcases “Hokusai Manga”, called edehon (drawing manuals). You will view 15 passuses including about 3,600 illustrations of edehon. It is not present-day manga as the title suggests, but collection of sketches depicting elements of universe including plant matters, animals, fishes, rivers, mountains, rains, snows, human figures, shrines or temples, and martial arts etc.. Edehon served as a manual for amateurs who learned and loved to draw or paint. You will find Hokusai’s transition of line-work and the publishing culture at that time, in Edo era. Wood of mountain cherry blossoms were used for wooden printing block of edehon.

Hokusai’s Sketches (Hokusai manga) / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Hokusai’s Sketches (Hokusai manga), Vol.8 _Front cover
/ Uragami Mitsuru collection

Hokusai’s Sketches (Hokusai manga), Vol.8 / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Hokusai’s Sketches (Hokusai manga), Vol.12 / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Ryakuga-haya-manabi (Quick Lesson in Simplified Drawings)

Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing (Ryakuga haya-manabi), Vol.3
/ Uragami Mitsuru collection

This book shows people how to outline the shape using a ruler or a compass imported and draw pictures based on these drafts. It also includes illustrations, which suggested sequence to draw and handwriting became graphic. These ingenuity gave variety to edehon.

Ippitsu gafu (Book of One-stroke Paintings)

Book of One-stroke Paintings (Ippitsu gafu) / Uragami Mitsuru collection

These pages shows “Ippitsu-gaki”, unicursal or traversable way of drawing outline without pulling brush away from paper by finishing.

Santai gafu (Drawing in the Three Styles)

Drawing in the Three Styles (Santai gafu) / Uragami Mitsuru collection

3 styles of Kanji (cursive, semi-cursive and square style) were simplified into motifs of human figures, plant matters and animals etc..

②Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji

This area showcases, called “Fugaku-sanjyu-rokkei”, “Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji”. You will view 36 “ai” color and 10 “sumi” wood-block prints in his early 70s. Although the main theme was Mt. Fuji, these works were not relevant to actual landscapes. They were vestiges of tradition of notable-spot-pictures, which used certain motifs. So Hokusai tried to capture various figures of Mt. Fuji which changes views with every hour rather than those of from where the places were. The highlight of this area is “aizuri” with ai-color called “bero-ai”, Prussian blue came from Berlin, at that time.

Kajikazawa, Kai Province, from Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji
(Fugaku sanjūrokkei) / HAGI URAGAMI MUSEUM (Uragami collection)

This work beautifully applied “bero”.

Fuji View Moor, Owari Province, from Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji
(Fugaku sanjūrokkei) / HAGI URAGAMI MUSEUM (Tikotin collection)

Fujimibara was located in the present Aichi prefecture. But, actual Mt. Fuji is not seen from this spot.

③One Hundred views of Mt. Fuji

This area showcases Mt. Fuji-themed graphic books composed of 3 passuses including 102 illustrations. Hokusai draw various themes relevant to Mt. Fuji from Konohana-sakuya-hime, a heroine of Japanese myth, stories of birth of the mountain, flowers and birds, manners, historical figures, to notable sites. All of them were drawn with “usu-zumi”, pale sumi.

One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji (Fugaku hyakkei), Vol.3
/ Uragami Mitsuru collection

④Digital Hokusai

In this area you will enjoy immersive visual experience. Hokusai’s arts archived are projected on large screens on wall surfaces and special screens made of washi in the space.


Yomihon was entertainment novel which applied legendary hero as personage and based on Chinese or Japanese classics. It served as ethical education. Hokusai was also known as a leading person in illustration of Yomihon. He made great use of effective lines, which brought realistic sensation and followed by modern Japanese animation and manga. He almost only used sumi.

New Illustrated Edition of “The Water Margin”
(Shinpen suiko gaden), Vol.35 / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Warrior Hero Tametomo, from Strange Tales of the Bow Moon
(Chinsetsu yumiharizuki), Vol.5 / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Prince Siddhartha Tested by a Demon, from The Illustrated Life of Shakyamuni
(Shaka go-ichidaiki zue), Vol.4 / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Strange Stories From the Northern Province of Echigo
(Hokuetsu kidan), Vol.4 / Uragami Mitsuru collection

Textbook for self-practice of dance

Entrance of the venue

Solo Dancing Lessons (Odori hitori geiko) / Uragami Mitsuru collection

This is textbook for self-practice of dance. Hokusai draw these illustrations and edited them. And Shinsaburo Fujima, choreographer of Kabuki supervised. Series of these movements evokes modern animation.

The Complete Hokusai
Period: July 22 (Thu) – September 17 (Fri), 2021
Venue: Tokyo Midtown Hall