Artists’ Ideas, Materials, & Process: Under the Great Wave

Discussion Questions 2-4: Nature, Place, and Geography

Discussion Question 2

Ask students to describe the placement of the boats and to discuss how the human figures are shown. What is the relationship between humans and nature? Also, what might the print tell us about Japanese trade during this time?

Hello World!

Discussion Question 3

Does looking at this image from right to left change the way we interpret the scene? If so, how?

Discussion Question 4

The Japanese word for landscape is sansui. This word is formed from the ideograms (or written symbols) for mountain and water. With older students, use a topographic map of Japan to understand Japan’s geography. Ask them to discuss how this word is particularly appropriate to the Japanese landscape and how these two natural elements, mountain and water, relate to one another in Hokusai’s print.

Japan natural location map with side map of the Ryukyu Islands. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain