Katsushika Hokusai (ca. October 31, 1760 - May 10, 1849) was a Japanese ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Hokusai is best known for his internationally iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa from his woodblock series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. In addition to Hokusai’s own personal obsession with Mount Fuji, he created this series in response to a domestic travel boom. It was this series that secured Hokusai’s fame both in Japan and overseas.
Born in Edo (presently known as Tokyo), Hokusai began his artistic practice as a young child. Hokusai’s work transformed the ukiyo-e artform from a style of portraiture centered in the life of courtesans and actors to a much broader style of art that focused on plants, animals, and landscapes. His innovative compositions and exceptional drawing techniques earned Hokusai the title of one of the greatest masters in the history of art. Hokusai continued working and improving his style until his death at age 88.