Preparatory drawing for a print in the seies Hyakunin isshu uba ge etoki: Ki no Tomonori

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760 - 1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, mid-1830s
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 25.8 x 37.8 cm (10 3/16 x 14 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


boat, cherry blossom, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hanshita-e, Japan
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Kawanabe Kyōsai 1831-1889
Ernest Abraham Hart 1835 - 1898
Michael Tomkinson (C.L. Freer source) 1841 - 1921
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The poet Ki no Tomonori (circa 850-905) assisted in compiling the Kokinshu (Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems).

hisakata no In these spring days
hikari nodokeki with the tranquil light encompassing
haru no hi ni the four directions
shizu-kokoro naku why should the blossoms scatter
hana no chiruramu with uneasy hearts?

In Hokusai's illustration, the phrase haru no hi, meaning "days of spring," seems to have been interpreted as "fires of spring." Both day(s) and fire(s) have the same sound, hi, in Japanese. As cherry blossoms fall like snow from the tree above, workers apply pitch to the bottoms of boats brought ashore for the winter.

(Translation by Joshua Mostow, Pictures of the Heart. University of Hawaii Press, 1996, 240)

Published References
  • Peter Morse Clay MacCauley. Hokusai: One Hundred Poets., 1st ed. New York. pp. 84-85.
  • Ann Yonemura et al. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 151, p. 102.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 74, p. 108.
  • Joshua Mostow. Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin-isshu in Word and Image. Honolulu. pp. 240-01.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum