SDP, Inc. will release the film “HOKUSAI” depicting the extraordinary life of globally famous Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai in Japan in early summer of 2020. It will also be released worldwide sequentially.
His ukiyo-e artwork influenced western artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. As a result, he played a prominent role in Japonism in the 19th century Europe and had a significant impact on modern western arts. He was named by Life magazine as one of “The 100 most important people of the past 1000 years.” His masterpiece “The Great Wave” was sold for about $1 million at auction in New York in 2017, reflecting his ever-lasting influence in the world.
Surprisingly, Hokusai enjoyed a 90-year life at the times when Japan had an average life expectancy of only 40 years old. He drew his masterpiece, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” after 70 years of age. 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. Other talented Japanese actors and actresses will join the pair in this film.
The year 2020 will 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.