Katsushika Hokusai was a brilliant artist, ukiyo-e painter and print maker, best known for his wood block print series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. These prints are famous both in Japan and overseas, and have left a lasting image in the worldwide art world. Hokusai’s artistic influence has stretched to have affected the Art Nouveau style in Europe, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Hermann Obrist, all of whom have themes similar to Hokusai’s.
Hokusai lived a reclusive life with his daughters, including Oi, a fine painter in her own right. In 1811 Hokusai met Maki Bokusen in Nagoya, who arranged for publication the first ten volumes of the Hokusai Manga ('Hokusai Sketches') between 1812 and 1819. Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. The largest of Hokusai's works is the 15-volume collection Hokusai Manga, a book crammed with nearly 4,000 sketches. These sketches are often incorrectly considered the precedent to modern manga, as Hokusai's Manga is a collection of sketches (of animals, people, objects, etc.), different from the story-based comic-book style of modern manga.