Why did Japanese landscape artist Katsushika Hokusai call himself “the crazy painter”?

Katsushika Hokusai was the famous 19th-century Japanese landscape artist.

He changed his name more than 30 times in his 89 years and reportedly lived in 93 different dwellings throughout his life. Clearly, he was a man of change, reshaping himself and his work many times during his career.

He is probably the most well known of all Japanese artists, and he found inspiration in Western art forms that, through Dutch trading, were filtering into Japan at the time.

Western artists, in turn, had a great respect for Hokusai’s work. Impressionists, the likes of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas, were collectors and were deeply influenced by him.

Hokusai was most prolific. It is thought that he produced more than 30,000 pieces during his lifetime.

His last words, it is said, were, “If heaven gives me ten more years, or an extension of even five years, I shall surely become a true artist.”