Katsushika Hokusai, 1760–1849
Under the Wave off Kanagawa, ca 1834
From the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, 1831–34
Color woodblock print (nishiki-e)
Bequest of Richard P. Gale 74.1.230
Cat. no. 170

Under the Wave off Kanagawa is among the strongest images in Hokusai’s famous Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, and it has become an artistic icon, known around the world. Hokusai’s greatest rival, Utagawa Hiroshige, who specialized in views of famous places (meisho-e), criticized Hokusai’s unconventional compositions as too artificial. Certainly this image is the most extreme example of Hokusai’s unusual approach.