“Under the wave of Kanagawa” is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai (1760-1849). It was published sometime between 1830 and 1831 in the late Edo period as the first print in Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景Fugaku sanjūrokkei). It is Hokusai’s most famous work and one of the best recognised works of Japanese art in the world.
This woodblock print (size 25,7 cm × 37,9 cm) depicts an enormous wave threatening boats off the coast of the prefecture of Kanagawa. As all the prints in this series, the Mount Fuji appears in the background. Although it is seen as a work that represents the Japanese art, it actually has both traditional elements of oriental art and typical characteristics of occidental style. It gained success both in Japan and in Europe, contributing to make the Japanism famous in the second half of the XIX century. From the XX century on, its popularity increased even more because getting spread in the media culture and often being copied and parodied.
Impression of the prints are in many Western collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the British Museum in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery in Melbourne, the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Museo d’arte orientale in Turin.