18. Mt Fuji from the Offing in Kanagawa

"And so the image of death. The Big Wave, curling above, toppling upon, about to engulf the fragile vessels. The one print of Hokusai's that everyone knows."

- from 24 Views

Who shall grapple with lions or wrestle with seraphim?
Even so can the surf come forth in its power to him -
Legion crying to legion, hurled to the steadfast shore;
Rampart answering rampart, where the flame-shaped summits roar.

And I flung me forth at their strength, at their might of motion and sound,
Till the foam-bolts stung my brow and the foam chains ringed me around,
And the hissing ridges ran like dragons driven by gods -
Mad with the battle-cries and their unseen lashes and rods.

- from Beyond the Breakers, by George Sterling

Does the title of the print seem awkward to you? "Offing" is a somewhat obsolete usage that means, according to one lexicon, "the part of the visible sea where there is deep water and no need of a pilot; also, distance, or position at a distance, from the shore." The colloquial English expression "in the offing", which means "at some time in the near future", is derived from this usage.

As Zelazny observed, this is Hokuasi's most famous work (at least, outside of Japan). In searching the internet for his prints, I turned up this one at least five times as often as any other.