Hokusai : First Manga Master
Hokusai's "Mangas" constitute a comprehensive visual encyclopaedia of the Japanese civilization in the XIXth Century. This huge masterpiece is a collection of 4,000 drawings in 15 volumes for a total of 800 pages. It was published in Japan between 1814 and 1878. The word 'manga', which designates Japanese comics, is composed of two ideograms: man, which means "according to the taste-liking of the author" with an idea of spontaneity and profusion and ga, which means drawing. Mangas are a wealth of sketches executed randomly, freely and with no order whatsoever on a variety of subjects. This word was used for the first time for this work by Hokusai. Hokusai's "Mangas" had an educational aim; his students, asked him to make a compilation of sketches for inspiration. These Mangas, showing all the sides of Hokusai's styles and all the themes he approached, obtains an astonishing portrait of daily life in Japan. He also depicts the Japanese landscape: wildlife, vegetation, mountains, countryside, seaside, the changes of weather, architecture as well as religious and mythological themes.