Last year we wrote an article about Oei Katsushika, the daughter of the famed Ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai. What we didn’t know at the time was that a Japanese film on that exact subject was just getting ready to be released. Directed by Keiichi Hara (Colorful) and Production I.G (creators of Ghost in the Shell), “Miss Hokusai” is coming to theaters in the U.S. this fall and the trailer was just released.
As we wrote last year, only about 10 actual works have been attributed to Oei, but considering Katsushika Hokusai created some of his most famous and brilliant works towards the end of his life it seems reasonable to wonder just how much of the work was created by Oei. And the film appears to tree in similar waters:
As all of Edo flocks to see the work of the revered painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. Shy and reserved in public, in the studio O-Ei is as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite this fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. Miss Hokusai‘s bustling Edo (present day Tokyo) is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her demanding father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this sumptuously-animated coming-of-age tale.