I paint still lifes using as my motifs objects I come across in everyday life that are consumed or discarded. It is the fate of such consumable or disposable items to be thrown away. For these objects, this is something about which nothing can be done.


When I was in junior high school, I idolized a young American entertainer. I tried various things in an effort to become like her, such as wearing a blonde wig and applying lots of blue eye shadow. But the more I tried to resemble her the more depressed I became at the differences between us. For me, being Japanese was something about which nothing could be done.




The oil painting I chose as medium is also something that was introduced from the

West. Soon after it was introduced to Japan, artists such as Yuichi Takahashi were

captivated by these paintings that had a depth akin to what is now called 3D and by

the beautiful tactile properties of oil paints. I think I admired and tried to master

Western painting in the same way that I admired that entertainer across the sea. In

their artworks, I sense a conflict between my admiration for the West and reality.


Confronted with the insurmountable barrier that is the long history of painting in the West, what kinds of oil paintings can we as Japanese create? I think the answer lies not in staring up at that barrier, but in thinking how we can bring to life as works of art the things at our own feet about which nothing can be done. For me, this means returning to the starting point of Japanese oil painting and producing still lifes using as my motifs things I come across in everyday life. My motifs may be objects that are thrown away, but I depict them in their entirety without overlooking a single detail. Highlighting things that don’t usually play a leading role enables us to distance ourselves from predefined meanings and uses, changing the way we look at objects, living things and landscapes that are larger than ourselves. It means removing the barrier that is the fate of disposable things and giving expression to their inherent primordial presence.


At present, in addition to things that are thrown away, I am also working on a series of paintings of neon signs. Neon signs are not disposable objects, but in my paintings I focus on the wiring tubes and mounts at the back that are regarded as unsightly if they stand out. In each painting, I liken the light from the neon tubing to our ideals or aspirations and our inability to gloss over our hidden side. The unsightly aspects of our nature that we cannot varnish over appear on the surface together with our ideals and aspirations. And when they are exposed, the mounts and black tubes containing the wires that intersect behind the neon light become part of the structure underpinning the paintings, appearing on center stage on equal terms with the beauty of the neon light.


The world is filled with things about which nothing can be done. But perhaps those involved are simply staring up at insurmountable barriers or shackled by predefined values. Determined to free myself and things from these shackles, I try to express through my paintings not the values or beauty determined by others, but the primordial beauty and meaning of existence inherent in all things from the beginning.