but wait! there's more!
"To Westerners, this woodblock seems to be the quintessential Japanese image, yet it's quite un-Japanese.
"Traditional Japanese would have never painted lower-class fishermen (at the time, fishermen were one of the lowest and most despised of Japanese social classes); Japanese ignored nature; they would not have used perspective; they wouldn't have paid much attention to the subtle shading of the sky.
"We like the woodblock print because it's familiar to us. The elements of this Japanese pastoral painting originated in Western art: it includes landscape, long-distance perspective, nature, and ordinary humans, all of which were foreign to Japanese art at the time. The Giant Wave is actually a Western painting, seen through Japanese eyes. Hokusai didn't merely use Western art. He transformed Dutch pastoral paintings by adding the Japanese style of flattening and the use of color surfaces as a element." 1
hokusai's own thoughts on all this, and see a whole lot more.