No Hokusai, No New Year!

(Belated!) Happy new year. Thank you for visiting the iU Blog again in this new year.

The beginning of the new year is an excellent time to visit the Hokusai Museum. So, I went to the Hokusai Museum to see the “Hokusai’s Historiographics: Japan Through the Ages‐How Did He Depict Them?‐”

It takes about 5 minutes, by foot from Ryogoku Station, on the Toei Oedo Line to reach the Sumida Hokusai Museum. The building was designed by Kazuyo Sejima is unique. The Midoricho Park in front of the building is filled with the cheerful voices of many children basking in the mild winter sunshine. The special exhibition focuses on how Hokusai and his apprentices depicted Japanese history, people, and events in total 113 selected works in two periods of exhibitions. This exhibition will make you a connoisseur of both Hokusai and Japanese history. At the entrance of the exhibition hall, in addition to the listed works, there are also worksheets for beginners and advanced learners, along with red check sheets for memorization. You can enjoy the artwork while solving quiz-style questions. Here are some works exhibited, but I’ll try not to spoil your experience. It is more fun to visit the Hokusai Museum and find the answers!

  1. Hokusai’s “that person” is looking at Daruma, a person who was starving. Think about, “Who is that person associated with Horyuji Temple?”
  2. Hokusai’s “that person” is writing a famous long story about the life of a court noble under the moonlight!
  3. The end-of-year raid is the must-know story about Japan. Ask yourself, “How did Hokusai cut out the hero and the scene?”

Some exhibits were replaced from January 25 (Tuesday) in the second period of the exhibition.

Speaking of myself, I was very impressed with the composition of the fighting scene of Kusunoki Masashige (whose childhood name was Tamonmaru). Hokusai was surely virtuoso painter, he was also a poet, movie director, and a remarkable producer during the Edo period.

If you have time, please take a walk around the Sumida Hokusai Museum. You may visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Memorial Hall, the birthplace of Kaishu Katsu, the residence of Issa Kobayashi, and did you know Ryunosuke Akutagawa also grow up in Sumida Ward?

Studying all masterpieces in this time of special exhibition, you can be assured that you will discover a new history of Japan and a new Hokusai. Please spend a precious moment in early new spring at the Sumida Hokusai Museum!