Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Viva Hokusai!


I went to see the Hokusai Exhibition (Tokyo National Museum, until Dec 4). They say this will be the biggest Hokusai exhibition ever.

The famous "Great Wave" from the Metropolitan Museum (on display until Nov 12) and "A mild Breeze on a Fine Day" both from The Thirty-Six views of Mount Fuji, are surely great. They were smaller than I expected. Three pictures of "A mild Breeze on a Fine Day" are displayed, showing how the change in colour gives a totally different impression.

It's interesting to see the yokai, or the Japanese demons. They're so humorous. The root of manga is certainly here.

While we were viewing the exhibits, a man looking at "The Country of Kamakura" said "I guess these are like postcards in those days," and turned to my husband standing by. "You know, I used to play along this beach." Then he started saying he owns a lot of ukiyo-e, for they could be bought very cheap right after the war. "If you had money, you could get them all. People took ukiyo-e to Honma-san, you know, Honma-san in Yamagata, and exchanged them for food. So Honma-san had a great collection of arts. As a 10 year-old boy, I would go to Honma-san with my money and say, 'Can I have an Utamaro?' What a cheeky brat! Well, I only bought nude women pictures..."
So his family must have been very rich. He didn't look so now.
He kept chatting away at both of us now, for I was being polite and smiled as he told his tale. We managed to get away from him somehow. He boasted that he has 3,000 ukiyo-e. My husband said he doesn't believe it. I wasn't sure.

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