Whilst the Japanese printmaker Hokusai is best known for his masterpiece “Under the Wave off Kanagawa”, dig a little deeper and you’ll find his wonderfully eerie ghost illustrations.
Trelawny explains, that as Hokusai got older, he became interested in Japanese folklore. This led to the artist’s sublime illustrated series entitled One Hundred Ghost Stories. These illustrations featured supernatural characters from Yokai storytelling.
As he grew into his old age, Hokusai became more and more interested in the supernatural. He spent much of his time making prints featuring frightening ghosts from folklore. Or as they are referred to in Japan, Yokai. Yokai are weird and mysterious beings. Eerie apparitions that inhabit supernatural Japan. There s no word in English that accurately conveys the meaning of Yokai, in Japanese the term refers to things that are both strange and beautiful.
Trelawny also shares his incredible admiration for the artist.
You might be able to tell by now, but Hokusai is one of my favourite artists and whilst his woodblock landscapes get the most praise, there s something so wonderfully eerie about his ghost prints.There is nothing quite like them, so animated and strange. Through his spectral Yokai, Hokusai hint at wonders, and horrors, that lurk behind our everyday lives.