This paper posits the synthetic dye “Prussian blue” as a vibrant point of illumination in the study of the cultural entanglements that occurred between Japan and the West in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Over the course of the nineteenth century, Western audiences came to closely associate Japanese prints with the color blue, and in so doing, enacted a peculiar, conceptual alignment between Japan and a pigment whose point of origin derived from their own hemisphere. This astonishing, unconsciously contradictory affiliation bespeaks the profound degree to which modes of mutual influence and embedded hybridities characterize processes of artistic exchange. A comparison of works by two renowned marine artists, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and Winslow Homer (1836–1910), will illustrate Prussian blue’s role as a connective device, one capable of vivifying the particular valences of

meaning that emerge between subject and colorant in a global context. Following an analysis of Hokusai’s Under the Wave of Kanawaga (c. 1830–32) and Homer’s Northeaster (1895), it will become clear that color is as much a part of cultural circulation in the nineteenth century as artworks themselves, its materiality forging an evocative bond between diverse modes of image production and representation.