japanese artist brings ukiyo-e woodblock prints to life through animated gifs
(above) katsushika hokusai’s ‘yoshida at tokaido’ animated
all gifs courtesy of segawa thirty-seven




from the 17th through 19th centuries, ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings populated the japanese art and cultural movement. artist katsushika hokusai popularized the trend with his series of ’36 views of mount fuji’, depicting scenes of the renowned mountain captured in different seasons and weather conditions, from a variety of different places and perspectives. these compositions were created through a cooperative effort of craftsman, who each adopted traditional techniques to sketch, carve and colorize the works.


these images, now known across the world, are recognized as static scenes, but a japanese artist who works under the name segawa thirty-seven has activated the stationary scenery though animation. a series of gifs bring hokusai’s compositions to life, some with quirky additions like spaceships, aliens and laser beams, others more whimsically animating slowly-moving kites and a slight breeze.

a spaceship shocks figures in ‘azai hall – 500 rakan temples’

an animated version of ‘tea house at koishikawa. the morning after a snowfall’

the story of ‘a sketch of the mitsui shop in suruga street in edo’ comes to life

wind sweeps away papers in the image ‘ejiri in the suruga province’