Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849

Pictures of 100 poems by 100 poets, explained by a Wet Nurse
Visipix.com proudly presents Hokusais last great series as complete as possible
(89 pictures) in facsimile quality in the original Oban-size 15 x 10 inch.


Poem number 51
Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason died 998, member of the influential Fujiwara family

The original poem:
That, 'tis as it is,
How can I make known to her?
So, she may n'er know
That the love I feel for her
Like Ibuki's moxa burns.

A situational poem by HK:
We travelled up Mount Ibuki to buy some moxa. I fell in love and it is burning in me like moxa. I do hope that this fire really has the power of healing. But how can I make her understand my feelings. When I look at her she thinks it is just that I need more tea - but I do not need more tea, I desperately need much more than tea.

Comment by HK:
A young man has travelled to fetch some moxa. This is a medical one puts on a wound and burns it for therapy. Now he has spotted a nice waitress and promptly falls in love. He is not experienced with the fishing methods of women of all ages through all ages and firmly believes that she does neither notice nor understand his desperate signals. Fact is that it would be very unusual if she did not. He, instead of pretending to slowly loose interest, multiplies his efforts. Girls enjoy to be in control of this torture-game especially when another female is jealously observing the scene. In Hokusais picture it is a lady client.

Poem number 52
Fujiwara no Michinobu Ason 972-994, member of the influential Fujiwara family

The original poem:
Though I know full well
That the night will come again
E'en when day has dawned,
Yet, in truth, I hate the sight
Of the morning's coming light.

A situational poem by HK:
Dawn has interrupted our pleasures of the night. We must haste away in our sedans. Though I know quite well that the next night will surely come and though it is dark inside the sedans and though we draw the blinds - dawn is not good for me.

Comment by HK:
Hokusai is enjoying himself immensely, describing a bunch of men losing all their dignity in hasting away from the scenes of the pleasures of the night, in order to not to be recognised by anybody. A workman has put down his load and pretends that he must bind his shoes. He wants to make it clear that he has not seen anything of the world in the past hour. All sedans look identical, maybe even the carriers.

Poem number 53
Lady Udaisho Michitsuna no Haha 937-995, member of the influential Fujiwara family, one of the most beautiful women in her time

The original poem:
Sighing all alone,
Through the long watch of the night,
Till the break of day:--
Can you realize at all
What a tedious thing it is?

A situational poem by HK:
Some days ago, my husband came back late in the night, he was angry that it took me a moment to open the door. Last night I did not open at all but slipped a poem on a little piece of paper to him. I wanted him to sleep doggy-style outide on the dorrstep. He does not imagine how he hurts me and that I do not find any sleep at all. Now it is dawn, my head is aching, my clothes are rumpled. I am glad that I have a husband who does nothing doggy-style. I am now trying to find out where he could be and make sure he is well - well, not too well I mean.

Poem number 55
Fujiwara no Kinto (Fujiwara no Kinto) 966-1041, imperial counselor

The original poem:
Though the waterfall
In its flow ceased long ago,
And its sound is stilled;
Yet, in name it ever flows,
And in fame may yet be heard.

A situational poem by HK:
When a waterfall has ceased to fall, people will remember his name and his location for a long time and will continue to visit the location. Also, for a long time they will hear the roaring as if it were coming from a dragon. This is an example of the Buddhist notion of everlasting experiences, especially of nature and art.

Comment by HK:
Hokusai explains that in this picture there is nothing special to see - but in fact the only thing he needs for the creation of a masterpiece is a paper and a pencil. No waterfall, no Emperor, also not the Fuji or lovers singing or mourning or hoping or being destroyed. Nothing people usually expect from a picture. There is nothing to learn, no manifstation, no story, no innovation. Only one thing: The craftsmanship of the master. The people do nothing. But see the incredible, breathtaking beauty of the lines of the drawings of the trees, the plants, rocks and the costumes.

If I had met Hokusai, I would have proposed him to add a pond in which the drawing is mirrored upside down.

I would have strongly advised against copying Baselitz who simply insists that all his paintings - hundreds without exception - must hang upside down. See my proposition:

Then his audience could see that the beauty is abstract, it is in the lines and not the subjects.

>> Poems (56 - 60)