Ogata Gekkō created Mount Fuji in the late 19th century. The print features a scenic view of Mount Fuji or Fuji-san (富士山) under a yellow sky with a tree-filled peninsula jutting into the water. The tallest mountain in Japan and located just 62 miles from Tokyo, Mount Fuji stands at 12,380 feet atop a triple junction of tectonic plates. Technically still an active volcano, it last erupted in 1707. Although clouds often obscure the mountain, Mount Fuji can be viewed on clear days from Tokyo and Yokohama.
Long an iconic symbol of Japan and Japanese identity, Mount Fuji has been considered a sacred site by Shinto practitioners since the 7th century. Today, the mountain is dotted with Shinto shrines. The kami (神), or deity, of Mount Fuji is Princess Konohanasakuya (木花之開耶姫), who is symbolized by the cherry blossom. Mount Fuji is also a popular site for non-religious tourists, who often begin climbing at night in order to see the sunrise from the summit, a tradition called Goraiko (御来光).
Given its iconic status, Japanese artists often represent Mount Fuji in their work. Among the most well-known representations of the volcano is Katsushika Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series. This print by Ogata Gekkō defies the conventions of standard woodblock prints to achieve a painterly, watercolor effect. Although it was created after the Edo Period (1603-1867), Ogata Gekkō considered himself as part of the ukiyo-e tradition for which the period is well known. His picturesque view of Mount Fuji displays the mountain’s continuing status as a source of artistic inspiration.
-Mandy Prue, Class of 2016
Sources: “Mount Fuji”, National Geographic, education.nationalgeographic.org.
 “Mount Fuji”, Japan Guide, japan-guide.com.
 “Mount Fuji”, National Geographic.
 “Mount Fuji”, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, britannica.com.
 “Ogata Gekko Biography”, Ogata Gekko Meiji Master, ogatagekko.net.