The world loves “Hokusai”
Hokusai’s ukiyo-e artworks, especially “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” including “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” had impacted western artists and played a prominent role in Japonism in the 19th century Europe. He had a significant influence over a number of legendary artists such as Gogh, Monet and Degas. As such, he was named by Life magazine as one of “The 100 most important people of the past 1000 years.”
The largest-ever Hokusai Exhibition held at the Grand Palais Museum in the center of Paris recorded approximately 360,000 total visitors in 2014. At the “Hokusai Exhibition” held at the British Museum in London in 2017, British Daily Mail and the Observer newspaper gave a five-star rating, and pre-sale tickets were sold out.
In Japan, of course, his name and works receive the highest respects as a national representative art. For example, his works are printed on new passport designs in the Tokyo Olympic memorial year of 2020, and it will be also printed on a thousand-yen bills from 2024.
Surprisingly, Hokusai enjoyed a 90-year life at the times when Japan had an average life expectancy of only 40 years old. Moreover, he drew his masterpiece, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” after 70 years of age. Although entertainment was considered to degrade the people and artists were severely oppressed by the feudal government, despite such hardship, he is said to have produced more than 30,000 pieces during his long career.
Despite his overwhelming popularity as an artistic genius, his life has not been fully revealed. This film presents a new story with unique perspectives and interpretations by utilizing historical materials. It depicts the famous artist based on episodes with two key persons. One is an inspiring publisher named Tsutaya Juzaburo who discovered and awakened young Hokusai’s talent, and another is popular story writer Ryutei Tanehiko who became a partner of Hokusai in old age.
Yuya Yagira who won the Best Actor Award for his performance in “Nobody Knows” (directed by Hirokazu Koreeda) at the 57th Cannes Film Festival will play young and restless Hokusai. Min Tanaka, an international dancer who made his overseas debut by performing at the Louvre Museum, will play enlightened Hokusai. Hiroshi Abe plays well-known producer Juzaburo Tsutaya and Eita Nagayama as popular entertainment writer Tanehiko Ryutei. Hiroshi Tamaki plays a famous “Ukiyo-e” artist, Utamaro Kitagawa who was Hokusai’s rival. Other talented Japanese actors and actresses will join the pair in this film. The film is directed by Hajime Hashimoto.
The year 2020 will witness not only the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics but also mark the 260th anniversary of Hokusai’s birth. There will be a lot of events around the world to showcase Japanese culture, Hokusai’s life and his artwork as a Japanese icon will certainly brighten up the whole world. The movie “HOKUSAI” will launch a worldwide, simultaneous promotion by targeting international film festivals and worldwide distribution.
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