It was mass-produced and sold as part of a collection of landscape prints known as Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.
Hokusai essentially depicts different scenery of Japan in the Edo Period with Mount Fuji in the background, sometimes not as the focal point. Different copies of the print can be found in exhibitions around the World.
Japanese critics at the time didn't consider this piece of expression as pure art, but rather a popular commercial product. In addition, the work itself was highly influenced by Western art, particularly of the Dutch. This is perhaps why the piece appealed to Westerners, much more than art enthusiasts in its country of origin.
The Great Wave remains a significant cultural milestone and despite its lower value at the time, it is highly valued today and has become an inspiration for artists of later generations, such as the famous Van Gogh and sculptor Camille Claudel.