Visual Identity Politics and Remix Society


A Trope: 🌊 (The Great Wave off Kanagawa)

One can easily call an artwork a trope if there is an emoji made after it.

The original artwork is called The Great Wave off Kanagawa by designer Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). It is part of a larger series; Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is part of an art form, called Ukiyo-e (literally “pictures of the floating world”); an movement of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings made in the metropolitan culture of Edo (Tokyo) from the 17th until 20th century, depicting citylife and urban pleasures, as well as tales from history and nature. Favourite subject were women from teahouses, shops and the pleasure quarters of Edo; actors and wrestlers; erotic images; and landscapes & scenes from nature.

The Wave is the most famous artwork from the iconic series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which Hokusai made between 1826 and 1831. He started this series when he was seventy years old. Funny enough, as the title suggest, the main subject of the series is not the wave, but Mount Fuji.


Harris, Frederick. Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print. Hong Kong, China, Tuttle Publishing, 2010.