Long ago, back in the days before glossy guidebooks or photo-filled travel websites, it was painters who gave people glimpses of the scenery waiting on the other side of the horizon. One such itinerant artist was Katsushika Hokusai, Japan’s most celebrated ukiyo-e woodblock painter, whose works include the famous "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" series, inspired by Hokusai’s travels around Japan with the country’s highest mountain visible in the background of each.
The "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" were painted between 1830 and 1832, but this week they’re once again captivating those with a taste for travel as people in Japan receive their new, and absolutely gorgeous, passports. In total, 24 prints from the series can be found within the pages of the new Japanese passport.
▼ Of the thousands of artists’ depictions of Mt. Fuji, South Wind, Clear Sky (second from left, second from top), also known as “Red Fuji,” is the most iconic.
While the ministry began issuing the new passports earlier this year, they’ve had a resurgence in attention over the past few days, with many applicants receiving theirs ahead of what would, in ordinary circumstances, be the lead-up to a surge in overseas travel from Japan during the summer months.
Unfortunately, with the continuing effects of the coronavirus crisis resulting in many trips being cancelled or at least postponed, it’s probably going to be a while until these new ukiyo-e travel documents get used, but in the meantime Japanese passport holders can take pride in knowing that theirs is not only one of the strongest in the world, but also one of the most beautiful.
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