top of page
  • 執筆者の写真Michi

Hokusai Humor: Sowing Seeds of Smiles

The exhibition features works related to smiles and laughter by KATSUSHIKA Hokusai and his students from 116 Hokusai's works which the Sumida Hokusai Museum houses.

It is on view from Sept.20 to November 26, 2023.

It will give viewers some warm and joy after seeing the works.




In the Edo period (1603~1868), culture of humour such as kyoka poems, humorous books, and rakugo, storytelling became popular among citizens. Hokusai and his students depicted various types of smiles and laughter.



Section 1: A Medley of Smiling Face


What do you think of when you hear the word "smile"?

For me, a facial expression of Kan-non, Buddhist deity of mercy, instantly comes to mind.

You will see smiling faces, amusing performers, and other images associated with the smile in this section.


Part 1. Symbols of the Smiling Face

It presents works in which the subject is symbolic of smiles, including the seven gods of good fortune and children at play.

Katsushika Hokusai Sketches by Hokusai: Cursive Drawing Section

The Sumida Hokusai Museum


You'll see smiling Daikoku seated on bales of rice and holding his magic mallet and treasure bag. Daikoku is one of the seven gods and is referred to as the god of wealth, fortune, agriculture, fertility, and so on.


Part 2. People Who Generate Smiling Faces

It introduces works depicting those who deliver smiles to us, performing artists and kyōka poets among them.

Kyōka is a parody of tanka (Japanese poem) that contains social satire, irony, and humor in 31(5-7-5-7-7) syllables.


Katsushika Hokusai Manzai Performers

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (1st term)

Hokusai depicted kadomatsu, pine and bamboo New Year's ornament, in a deformed style. The top of the bamboos is gradually fading, which makes us imagine how tall they are.

This masterpiece is from the prime of Hokusai's career.

It was published between 1789 and 1804.



Section 2: A variety of Smiles


You will see various kinds of smiles and laughter: Happy smiles, mocking laughter, embarrassed laughter, disgusting laughter, and so on.


Part 1: Expressing Laughter

You'll see some works depicting how to express laughter: Such as women

hiding their mouths, pointing a finger, and facial expressions.




Katsushika Hokusai Mountain of the Immortals: An Illustrated Kyoka Album

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (1st term)

*Taken by Michi at the press preview


For this book of kyōka verses, Ryūkōsai Jokei created the background illustrations and then Hokusai added the human figures and other details. You will see the woman holding a broom, covering her mouth with her sleeve and looking delighted. 



Part 2: Types of Smiles

You'll see different types of smiles and laughing in ukiyo-e by Hokusai. They are ridiculing, laughing over failures, sloppy and stupid smiles, weird smiles, creepy and so on.

Katsushika Hokusai The Ghost of Kohada Koheiji, from the series one Hundred Ghost Stories The Sumida Hokusai Museum (1st term)


This print is from the series on the subject of One Hundred Ghost Stories, a popular storytelling which was people's familiar leisure in the Edo period. The series is one of the highlights of this exhibition.

Kohada Koheji is the principal character of a ghost story in Japanese forklore and the tales captured citizens' minds in the Edo era.

Here you 'll see a realistic skeleton with a great impact of creepy depictions, which will no doubt give us a cold chill.



Section 3: The World of Caricatures Hokusai and His Pupils Created


You will see 32 caricatures by Hokusai from about 40 caricatures which the Sumida Hokusai Museum houses, which is also the highlights of this exhibition.


Hokusai and his many students were fascinated with satirical caricatures, too. They didn't forget to bring smiles to people's faces.

Part 1: Hokusai's Students' Caricatures and Satirical Pictures, Plus Caricatures in Sketches by Hokusai Caricature

Edogawa Hokki Susanoo no Mikoto Subdues the Demons,

From the Kabuki play Frisode no Hajime

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

*Taken by Michi at the press preview


Edogawa Hokki was an eminent student of Hokusai and was thought to have been active in around the Bunka era (1804-18). It is said that Hokki depicted this print satirizing the economic situation at that time.


Part 2: Hokusai's Caricature Series

Hokusai enjoyed kyōku verses as well as drawing pictures. The works from One Hundred Elegantly Humorous Verses are again one of the highlights of this exhibition.


Kyōku is a verse that contains witty contents in 17(5-7-5) syllables.




Katsushika Hokusai Hair-of-the-Dog, from the series One Hundred Elegantly Humorous Verses

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

*Taken by Michi at the press preview

Hokusai depicted humorous moments in the daily life of citizens.

It was published around 1811.




Katsushika Hokusai The Baby Awakens Early, Distressing the Nurse, from the series One Hundred Elegantly Humorous Verses

The Sumida Hokusai Museum

*Taken by Michi at the press preview

Hokusai depicted the baby disturbing the nurse early in the morning so her day started earlier than usual.

It was published around 1811.



Katsushika Hokusai An Indigent Brat Is Scolded for Playing with the String of Another Boy's Kite, from the series One Hundred Elegantly Humorous Verses

The Sumida Hokusai Museum


We can't see a kyōku verse on it, but another print with the same design has a verse. It tells us that a child (a brat) was scolded because he snatched the other boy's kite and played with it.

It was published around 1811.



Katsushika Hokusai The Optician and the Riddle-Solving Priest,

from the series Cartoons of Riddles

The Sumida Hokusai Museum (2nd term)

This print depicts the priest and two people doing a wordplay, using two verbs that sound the same but have different meanings; to wear glasses (kakeru) and to pose a riddle (kakeru).






For more information please access here.




閲覧数:64回0件のコメント

最新記事

すべて表示

Comentarios


bottom of page