Sarah Thompson, assistant curator, Japanese Prints; curator, “Hokusai

Hokusai died in 1849, just four years before the opening of Japanese ports to the West dramatically altered Japanese culture. See how Hokusai’s art perspicaciously hinted of things to come, including a fascination with technology, curiosity about the outside world, and growing sense of Japan as a nation.

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Above: Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave, from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (detail), Japanese, Edo period, about 1830–31. 11.17579.  Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper. William Sturgis Bigelow Collection.