Hokusai is no doubt one of the most internationally known japanese artists ever. He is famous for his The Great Wave off Kanagawa work, which you can find everywhere. Even the people who have no idea about who did it know it.
But Hokusai also has another important addition to japanese/world culture besides his art work: it is said that he is the one who first applied the word “manga” to drawn sketches. As ubiquitous as the wave painting, the word “manga” has gone international and it is even included in the latest revision of the official spanish language dictionary (with some controversy included in the deal, as it relates manga to erotic and violent contents, and while for sure you can find that, it is only a part of it). Manga is simply the japanese term for comic book, regardless of content.
So Hokusai published a series of books he called manga. And now Shogakukan had the good idea of searching for the best preserved original editions they could find (the Uragami collection) and carefully restore them and bind them together.
And here they are.
This big thick book contains the whole 15 manga books Hokusai created (though the last one is not considered authentic). It comes with a slipcase and is 930 pages long no less. The subjects are various from animals to monsters to sex to landscapes. Of course, coming from Hokusai, all is drawn exquisitely. They were supposed to be text books for Hokusai´s pupils to learn to draw, so they better be good!
The text is in japanese and also comes with a little english where they explain a bit Hokusai´s life and the restoration process. Should be noted that this is the first time that the whole manga books have been published together in color.
This is an excellent hardcover book, perfect to sit down in a rainy morning like today and get lost in the thousand of beautiful, funny or sexy drawings we can find inside.
Unfortunately it is not cheap. When I bought it (in 2005, Tokyo Kinokuniya) it was 12.600 yen. Quite expensive. But no, really, the complete Hokusai Manga, in color, with best reproduction ever… 12.600 yen is a steal.