In this post, I include the image of a well known work of art by Hokusai (1760-1849).
The title of the painting is “The big Wave off Tanagawa” and is likely an artistic rendition of a tsunami.
I have looked up Tanagawa on the map of Japan; it is close to Yokohama - far from the epicenter of the earthquake that has occurred on March 11th.
An article in a CNN blog talks of the Tokai earthquake, a devastating earthquake that occurs in Japan every 100-150 years, whose epicenter is situated in the Tokai region – not far from Tanagawa (where Hokusai places his “big wave”/tsunami).
It’s a different epicenter from the one that caused havoc last Friday, an epicenter that is activated on a somewhat predictable timeline: 1498, 1605, 1707, 1854….…every 100-150 years... the last one to occur five years after Hokusai’s death, the next one - still to be determined.
Did Hokusai learn of the tsunami from his ancestors, or did he witness such an occurrence first hand following seismic events in the area?
I’ve always admired this painting for what I thought it was: an imaginative and odd drawing, a somewhat exotic and deliberate creation.
Little did I know that I would come to look upon it as the essence of this week’s occurrences: Mount Fuji in the backdrop (the symbol of Japan and its people) the surge of surreal walls of water, one more menacing than the other. Most tellingly, the waves appear to have sharp claws.
Ready to rend and to grab everything.
I found a link on classical Japanese poetry on the net, and I would like to share it:-->link
“Our life in this world -
to what shall I compare it?”
Poetry, unlike earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear accidents, has no overwhelming force.
It’s all made of words.