Many Views of Mt. Fuji

Relational Aesthetics in Action

The Ukiyo-e artists Hiroshige, Hokusai and his daughter Oi have inspired my Open Gate series. One of the common themes for these three Japanese artists is depicting Mt. Fuji from many different views. In my 2018 Watermark show at SoAG, I paid homage to the idea of recording  many views of one place (the Lackawanna Rail Trail) in video and print, For the 2020 online SoAG show, I created Gates as a homage to Christo.

When I began teaching photography classes at Elmira College in 1979, I met many Japanese students who enrolled in my classes. I have stayed in contact with a number of them. Because this online exhibition is inspired by Japanese art, I asked if they would share ordinary photos of Mt. Fuji with me to create a collaborative project. The grid below shows Mt. Fuji today, from their many views. Names of the artists appear by clicking on the images below. I thank each of them for sharing their views with me!

Masahiro Kobayashi

Ayaka Yoshino

Katsuyoshi Tamaki

Akari Ota

Aya Watanabe

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Mai Ushiroku

Koji Naito

Yuri Ozawa (Video collaboration: Ave Maria on Violin)

"Better Late than Never" - Photos by Megume Sobue
 

Yuuka Kobayashi, Masahiro Kobayashi's Daughter

Yuuka Kobayashi, Masahiro Kobayashi's Daughter

My daughter Yuuka took this picture from Shinkansen 🚅.

Painting by Ayaka Yoshino

Painting by Ayaka Yoshino

Inspired by Hokusai "Of course, I would like to help your project. It’s interesting! I remembered that painted Mt.Fuji at Art class! I miss that moment." I’m so excited about your project. I hope I can see your project on your Facebook! I hope that your project goes well 🙂

Katsuyoshi Tamaki

Katsuyoshi Tamaki

View from Gotemba

Akari Ota

Akari Ota

Of course, I am very happy to help your project! I looked for pictures of Mt. Fuji and I have only three pictures! I took those picture when I was on a Bullet train to travel with my best friend. I hope these pictures help somehow! I’ll send you if I find more pictures of Mt. Fuji. 🗻 I wish I could go to visit your exhibition!!

Akari Ota

Akari Ota

View from the Bullet train

Akari Ota

Akari Ota

View from the Bullet train

Aya Watanabe

Aya Watanabe

My sister visited Mt. Fuji last year! She gave me these pictures:)

Aya Watanabe

Aya Watanabe

Photo by Aya's sister

Aya Watanabe

Aya Watanabe

Photo by Aya's sister

Aya Watanabe

Aya Watanabe

Photo by Aya's sister

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Dear Jan, I’m glad to help your project!! Here are the pictures I have. Sent from my iPhone

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Ayumi Hiyamizu

A highway view of Mt. Fuji

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Ayumi Hiyamizu

A highway view of Mt. Fuji

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Snow capped Mt. Fuji

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Ayumi Hiyamizu

View of Mt. Fuji

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Ayumi Hiyamizu

Another view of the snow capped Mt. Fuji

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

Mai sent photos she took two years ago. Click on the url link to visit the website that describes the area.

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

Mai and her grandmother traveled two hours to get to see Mt. Fuji from this particular spot along the beach.

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

I think there aren’t many places you can shoot Mt Fuji with an ocean wave ilke Hokusai... because its surrounded by land. But we drove two hours to see the Mt Fuji through ocean wave.

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

The Miho shrine is part of the UNESCO World Heritage, and has nearby the Miho Shrine which is also popular as a power spot, as well as the "Kami no Michi (God's Road)", a passage of Tokoyo-no-Kami (Gods of Tokoyo), and will make you feel refreshed if you walk there.

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

Thinking of Hokusai's The Great Wave

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

Thinking of Hokusai's The Great Wave

Mai Ushiroku

Mai Ushiroku

Miho-no-Matsubara was registered as a part of Mt. Fuji's world heritage site in June of 2013. There are over thirty-thousand pine trees growing on the Miho-no-Matsubara's 7km beach. The green pine forest, the white waves, and the blue ocean, along with Mt. Fuji, has been expressed through various drawings such as Hiroshige Utagawa’s ukiyoe, as well as waka poems.

Koji Naito - Mt Fuji

Koji Naito - Mt Fuji

Koji Naito - Mt Fuji

Koji Naito - Mt Fuji

Koji Naito - Mt Fuji

Koji Naito - Mt Fuji

The video below shows photos sent  by 小林政裕 (Masahiro Kobayashi). They were provided by his friends who live closer to Mt. Fuji. I have combined these images with three 19th century works by Hiroshige, Hokusai and Oi.

Information about Hokusai and Hiroshige is easily found on the Internet. Hiroshige's daughter Oi is more of a mystery. I recommend reading this short article "The Bohemian vs The Bureaucrat: Hokusai and Hiroshige" by Sandy Kita and Takako Kobayashi to understand more about the artists. In 2015 an animated  movie about Oi, "Miss Hokusai," imagined what her life as a female artist would have been like in the 19th Century. Below I have provided very brief information on each of the three artists, as well as images of interesting views of Mt. Fuji that they created.

Utagawa Hiroshige

(1797-1858)

 

SURUGA STREET

Woodblock Print

Today the roads around Nihonbashi in central Tokyo are lined with towering office blocks and department stores, but when Utagawa Hiroshige created this print in 1856, Mount Fuji was a inescapable part of the street level view. Clouds obscure the physical distance, and bring the mountain almost into the city, creating the impression that it was not just part of the view, but very much part of Edo daily life.

 

hiroshige.jpg
Great-Wave-Hokusai.jpg

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

 

THE GREAT WAVE OFF KANAGAWA

Woodblock Print


This masterpiece made Hokusai famous as the “painter of waves”. The sea is roaring and the rolling waves are about to collapse any moment. Fishing boats trapped inside the waves are desperately trying to stay balanced. Mt. Fuji appearing behind the rough waves remains calm. Only Hokusai could have come up with a picture expressing nature’s energy versus man power, stillness versus dynamism in such a unique and forceful composition.
 

Oi

Katsushika Oi

 

MOUNT FUJI THROUGH A BAMBOO FOREST

ink and color on silk

Eijo (Oi) collaborated with her father Hokusai during the final two decades of his life and may have even worked as his ‘ghost brush’. Her rendition of Mt. Fuji has a dreamlike quality in this ink painting on silk.

One of the stories about Oi and her father is that they loved art above all else. When their house became cluttered, instead of cleaning it, they just moved to another place. Whenever my own house becomes more art studio than living space, I forgive my indifference to the domestic chaos by imagining that I live in America's version of a "Hokusai House."