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Wednesday, 23rd November 2016
In Japan Entertainment News,

Tokyo's Hokusai Museum opens, featuring stunning woodblock prints

Katsushika Hokusai is probably the most famous Japanese artist, with his woodblock prints known internationally, but a museum dedicated to his works has only just opened in his native country.

Tokyo’s Sumida Ward was chosen as the location for the cultural institute, which welcomed its first public visitors yesterday (November 22nd), because it is where the artist lived 200 years ago.

Featuring pieces from the collections of Peter Morse, Muneshige Narasaki and Sumida Ward, the permanent and temporary displays all focus on Hokusai.

Mr Morse was an art historian and writer, as well as a big collector of Hokusai’s work, but died in 1993, so it was up to his son, Daniel to represent his father at the opening of the museum.

He described the museum as a “beautiful home for my father’s collection.”

“My father would be very, very happy, he would be very proud, and very honoured,” he added. “I think Hokusai is the greatest artist who ever lived.”

The absolute highlight of the exhibition is The Great Wave of Kanagawa, which is the standout piece from the 36 Views of Mount Fuji series and is the artist’s most famous work.

There are plenty of other well-known woodblock prints to view as well, including A Mild Breeze on a Fine Day and Landscape Scroll of Scenery at Both Banks of the Sumida River, which measures seven metres in length.

It’s not just the artwork that visitors can see, however, as Hokusai’s study has been recreated as a life-size model, so his working environment and processes can be understood better.

This being Japan, there are also robots involved, with the artist and his daughter Oei being brought back to life as bots that go about the task of creating art.

Kazuyo Sejima, a Japanese architect who has won the prestigious Pritzker Prize, designed the five-storey building that houses the museum.

It has been made to look as if blocks are leaning against each other and the reflective surfaces draw the eye to see more of the neighbourhood surrounding the museum.

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