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The Brown Noser

19th Century Japanese Ukiyo-e Master Always Hoped His Work Would End Up In Freshman Dorm Room Above Toiletry Basket

Published Friday, March 12th, 2021

According to recently unearthed documents, 19th century Japanese ukiyo-e master Hokusai always hoped that his art would end up in a freshman dorm room above a toiletry basket.

“My greatest wish is for my work to adorn the rooms of college freshmen at liberal arts institutions across the United States,” wrote Hokusai in a journal entry, adding that he would be especially pleased if freshmen’s cheap prints were hung just above their grimy bins of shampoo and shaving cream. “Every time I complete a piece, I dream of it tacked up in the cramped quarters of two eighteen-year-old American boys. In my dream the print is barely hanging on to the wall, and this brings me immense pleasure.”

“I cannot think of a better home for The Great Wave off Kanagawa than a college dormitory,” Hokusai commented in another entry, imagining how lovely it would be if the piece graced multiple dingy rooms in the same hallway. “May my legacy be carried on by undergraduates just trying to fill some space on their walls.”

In a letter to his son, Hokusai suggested that he will rest easy if those who display his art know nothing whatsoever about him.

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