In Praise of The Great Wave off Kanagawa


You snow, many a time have we (and, presumably, you) seen this image of a startlingly vivid looking wave with vibrant colours looking voluble, vivacious, vowel free, and never vacuous. T’was created by the great artist Hokusai and is a fine example of the Ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) style of woodblock art popular from the 17th-20th centuries. This particular piece went viral circa 1830, which is fair while ago. Despite its age its one lively looking picture, with Mount Fuji residing in the background whilst the ocean does its thing in the foreground. Anyone who’s seen Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo will be able to link certain scenes to this painting.

Anyway, some lunatics presume this massive wave is a tsunami, although it’s highly likely it’s your average ocean wave. They can get big, you know? It’s also unlikely Hokusai was able to freeze time itself for this specific wave, so we’d like to think he was able to hold a very vivid recollection of it in his memory as he created the piece. We also reckon, once he’d finished, he went off to play Super Mario Kart with his kids. Good on him, we say!

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