The famous Japanese artist Hokusai Katsushika was famous for his beautiful illustrations- woodblocks, nature, folkart, monsters & the first manga-ka. In 1812, he created a book of black & white sketches that he called manga. During the Meiji Era, it was becoming just as popular as ukiyo-e.
The free-flowing composition and quirky style inspired generations of artists to come and has become a major part in the Japanese industry since the 1950’s. The first manga was mainly about stories of Japanese life, Noh plays & samurai tales with famouse people such: as Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Oda Nobunaga, Jubei Yagyu & Musashi Minamoto. Events in Japanese history including The Battle of Sekigahara & Genji. Also Japanese folklore of favourite legends such as: Momotaro, Hidesato no Omukade, Kaguya the Celestral Maiden, Amaterasu & Legend of Orochi. Today, manga attracts readers worldwide!
From ‘Illustrations of Heroes’ by Katsushika Hokusai
First volume of set of four woodblock printed books
Museum no. E.15136-1886
This is the first volume of a four-volume set of woodblock printed books, Illustrations of Heroes, designed by Hokusai and engraved by Sugita Kinsuke and Egawa Tomekichi. The book contains stories of historical and mythical characters from Chinese and Japanese legend. The illustration here is from the ‘Tale of Urashima Taro’, a fisherman who falls in love with, and marries, Otohime, the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea. The illustration here is of the moment when, after the birth of his child, he sees his wife in her true form as a dragon. When he eventually returns to the real world he discovers that some 300 years have passed.