Katsushika Hokusai, ‘The Hundred Poems [By the Hundred Poets] as Told by the Nurse: Kiyohara no Fukyabu’, Scholten Japanese Art

signed zen Hokusai manji, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's seal partially obscured by the black bokashi but likely Eijudo of Ise Sanjiro, ca. 1835-6

The poem by Kiyohara no Fukayabu, active in the early 10th century, refers to the brevity of a summer night.
Natsu no yo wa
Mada yoi nagara
Akenuru wo
Kumo wo izuko ni
Tsuki yadoruran

In the summer night
While the evening still seems here
Lo! the dawn has come
In what region o the clouds
Has the wandering moon found place?
The large boat on the left is the floating restaurant, Kawaichi Maru, partially identified by the sign, Kawaichi, cropped by the composition at left. The red lanterns further clarify: Shimpan Kawaichi Maru (lit. 'newly published first river boat'), which is likely a reference to the new publisher, Ise, taking over production of the series from Nishimura Eijudo. Curiously, rather than use the mon or seal of the long-standing Ise-ya publishing house, Ise Sanjiro used a similar Eijudo seal (utilizing different kanji) as Nishimura Yohachi. It is thought that perhaps Ise acquired the Eijudo firm, and its workers (particularly because the quality of this series is consistent throughout production), and as such, chose to finish (only) this series under the Eijudo name.

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Likely Eijudo of Ise Sanjiro

Peter Morse, Hokusai: One Hundred Poets, 1989, p. 90-91, no. 36
Matthi Forrer, Hokusai: Prints and Drawings, 1991, no. 81
Mathew Welch & Yuiko Kimura-Tilford, Worldly Pleasures, Earthly Delights: Japanese Prints from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2011, p. 245, no. 207

About Katsushika Hokusai

Adhering to a common Japanese practice with extreme frequency, Katsushika Hokusai transitioned between upwards of 30 pseudonyms throughout his career, each correlating to a different period or style. Despite the many changes, his surname prevails—Hokusai—which unites the surplus of monikers into a single legacy for the artist, printmaker, and ukiyo-e painter. In his early work, Hokusai depicted the traditional subject matter of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings, Kabuki actors; however, he monumentally revolutionized the medium by shifting his focus to landscapes and images of daily life in Japan. Hokusai is best-known for his woodblock series, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” (1831), which mastered the landscape while exploring the relationship between man and environment, and contained the The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which remains one of the most universally recognized icons of Japanese art.

Japanese, 1760-1849, Tokyo, Japan, based in Tokyo, Japan