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Endlessly Variegated Pictures: A Pictorial Encyclopedia Of Old Japanese Life (An Introduction To Hokusai Manga’s Full Edition With Commentaries”)


  • Evgeny Steiner

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


Hokusai Manga (HM) is the biggest and the best known work of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) which consists of ca. 900 pp. published in 15 volumes from 1814 to 1875. This publication discusses the phenomenon of HM and its place in the context of Japanese picture books. Was it a drawing manual or comic cartoons or perhaps a pictorial encyclopedia? What are the historical meanings and etymology of the word manga? The special attention is devoted to the principles of compilation of HM and to the ways of organization of the compositional unity of its volumes. This research offers a major revision of the textual nature of this famous, yet insufficiently studied, masterpiece. Contrary to the common belief that HM is a chaotic jumble of random disjointed pictures, every volume is actually composed as a sophisticated whole with the help of elaborate schemata deeply imbedded in the traditional Japanese ways of textual organization.

Suggested Citation

  • Evgeny Steiner, 2014. "Endlessly Variegated Pictures: A Pictorial Encyclopedia Of Old Japanese Life (An Introduction To Hokusai Manga’s Full Edition With Commentaries”)," HSE Working papers WP BRP 49/HUM/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:49hum2014

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    Hokusai; manga; Japanese art; illustrated books; woodblock prints;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics

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