The unique artist Iga Kan'o-toru connects through color and the sound of the cello. "Listening Museum #3"

"HERALBONY TONE FROM MUSEUM ~Listening Museum~" is a podcast that started this spring and focuses on the artists under contract with the welfare experimental unit Heralbony.

Sara Ogawa, an actor, filmmaker, and writer, and Takaya Matsuda, CEO of HERALBONY, will be the interviewers. As they listen carefully to the art, they will touch upon the personality and life story of this "unique artist" that can be seen beyond his work.

In the third episode, the guest was the unique author Kaoru Iga. We spoke with him along with his mother, Sachiko, and Takaya's twin brother, Fumito, who is the vice president of HERALBONY.


Matsuda Takaya (hereinafter, Takaya): Our guest today is an unusual artist called Iga Kan'o-dome. In fact, Iga Kan'o-dome himself appears in this year's HERALBONY key visual, sandwiched between musician Kan Sano and model Chiba Yuka!

Sara Ogawa (hereinafter, Ogawa): It's cool, isn't it!

Takaya: He created some really great visuals. Iga-san's own work is also being displayed on various products and in commercial facilities.

Ogawa: Today, Iga Kan'o-dome and his mother, Shoko-san, are with us. Is this your first time on radio? Kan'o-dome doesn't seem too nervous, how are you feeling today? Are you looking forward to it?

Kanotoru: I'm looking forward to it.

Shoko: I get very nervous, but Gan-Otoko is always completely nervous, so if you add the two together, I think it's normal.

Takaya: Previously, we held a live painting event at a pop-up in Shinjuku Takashimaya, and Mr. Gan Otomu was moving his brush at an incredible speed. He was even eating his lunch at that speed.

Sachiko: You're both fast at eating and drawing.

Ogawa: Mr. Kanedome, what is your favorite food?

Kaneoru-san: ...Lunchbox.

Ogawa: It's pretty widespread!

Fumito: What's your favorite thing to have in your bento?

Kan'odoru: (thinks for a moment) Shiitake mushrooms!

Ogawa: That's so cool! I love shiitake mushrooms too.

Kaoru Iga "Memories of the Sea"

Takaya: I think the blue color is a distinctive feature of your work. The colorful colors in the blue make it look like all kinds of creatures are swimming in the ocean, and it's a wonderful piece.

Fumito: I also had a solo exhibition at the Heralbony Gallery in Morioka, and Gan'odoru's works are prominently displayed on the walls of a commercial facility in Tachikawa.

Ogawa: I have some photos of your work "Memory of the Sea" and "Reef (blue)" in front of me. The deep blue is great, and yellow and red are layered on top of it. Do you like layering colors?

Kanotoru: Yes.

Ogawa: I talked to you a little bit and you told me that you've always loved layering colors, and that sometimes you layered too many and the colors gradually turned gray. But now this blue has become a wonderful piece.

Sachiko: I go to welfare facilities and art classes, so I create with other people there and look at other people's paintings, and I've gradually become less disruptive (with the colors). And my teachers also help me out at just the right times, so I guess I'm starting to understand.

Kanotoru: Yes.

Takaya: What made you start drawing, Kan'onto?

Sachiko: I loved drawing since I was a small child, so much so that I would doodle all over the house. I wanted to draw on paper, but I couldn't fit it all on the paper, so I drew on the walls, floors, and ceilings. I would climb up all kinds of places and draw.

Ogawa: What happened to your mother?

Sachiko: There was no way to stop him. He was drawing all the time, and even when I talked to people at rehabilitation facilities, they said it was an obsession, or that he had a strong concentration, and there were all kinds of opinions about it, so I didn't really know what to do. I felt like I had no choice but to let him continue.

Ogawa: But those powerful drawings are now being made into merchandise and wall art at HERALBONY. How did you feel when you first saw them?

Shoko-san: At Gandan-dome, works are accumulating at a rapid pace, but with paintings, the opportunities to show them to many people are very limited. Even if you hold a solo exhibition, they can only be seen for that period. But when they are reborn as different products like this, I realized that many people can really pick them up, and I'm very happy about that.

Fumito: What do you yourself think about it?


Shoko: I'm not the type to show much emotion on my face, but the atmosphere here seems fun.

Takaya: You are laughing happily like a child.

# Encounter with the cello

Ogawa: Do you like drawing, Kan'onduru?

Kanotoru: Yes.

Fumito: That was an immediate answer!

Ogawa: Do you spend a lot of time each day drawing?

Sachiko: Since I left school, I've been going to a facility, so maybe not as much as before. Maybe on weekends. But I still need to practice the cello.

Ogawa: That's right! You play the cello, don't you?

Kando: Yes. (Makes the motion of playing the cello)

Takaya: We also asked him to play the cello at our induction ceremony at HERALBONY last year. I think it was an unforgettable moment for the new members.

Ogawa: You've been playing the cello for 20 years now. What was your initial encounter with music?

Mr. Kanedome: (Nods with a very happy look on his face)

Shoko: I was practicing singing as a way to practice my speech. I don't know if it was a good thing or a bad thing, but gradually he started making all kinds of sounds in addition to singing, and it was really hard on my family. I think that a child who can't speak must be trying to release stress by making so much noise, but when I took him outside, I kept telling him to be quiet. I guess I wasn't a very good parent.

Fumito: Not at all. Absolutely not.

Sachiko-san: There was a choir club in high school, and I joined because I thought I could sing as much as I wanted there. Then, my repertoire expanded, and I started singing more (laughs).

Takaya: Ahh~ (laughs)

Shoko: I'd always wanted to play an instrument, and a friend of mine said to me, "If you want to play music, maybe the cello would be a good choice."

Ogawa: And then, Gan-Otoru himself got hooked.

Kaneko-san: Mmmmmm. (humming)

Fumito: Oh, I'm still singing now.

Ogawa-san: As you watched your son grow up, did you notice any changes or have any thoughts like that?

Sachiko: Normally, I would think that once I'd finished raising my children, my parents' lives would have settled down, and my friendships would gradually decrease, but I met Heralbony and have been able to talk to young people, and I've learned a lot about society.

#The next challenge is... "Soba"!?

Ogawa: How are Kan'ondome's works being developed at HERALBONY?

Takaya: My artworks are really being developed in various forms. I sometimes sell the original artworks, and at the moment my piece "Leaf (blue)" is being made into a stole , which is very popular. I actually bought one myself and wear it often. My artworks are also displayed in commercial facilities, and I think many people enjoy them as scenery.

Ogawa: The blue world that you paint is perfect for the upcoming rainy season. Mr. Kanedome, what kind of work would you like to try next?

Mr. Kaneko: ………

………Green tea soba!

Takaya: Zaru Soba (cold soba noodles) *Wow! That's a very unique job we've been asked to do! (laughs) Actually, my older brother also really likes Zaru Soba noodles.

Fumito: That's right. I have to eat soba every Sunday.

Takaya: Soba work, huh? Something like a sake cup for Zaru Soba would be nice. I'll do my best.

Ogawa: Your dreams can expand as much as you want.

Fumito: Yes, we can certainly expand on that! We would never have come up with Zaru Soba if we had come up with that idea. Thank you very much.

*The audio has been reproduced as is so that you can enjoy the scene. Iga-san himself said "cha soba".

Ogawa: Finally, what are your mother's wishes for your life?

Sachiko: When Kanran was little, I was very worried about how autistic children would live when they grew up. Unlike now, there was very little information available at the time.

I was always interested in how autistic adults lived their lives. But with the development of the internet, people with various disabilities have recently been introduced.

I think society has changed and we've become able to acknowledge the existence of people like this and spread awareness about them. So if ordinary people with disabilities get out more proactively, I think the general public will get used to them.

What HERALBONY is doing is exactly connected to that, and I hope they will continue to move forward with this unique idea. In the case of Gan-Otoko, I hope that they will continue to meet various people through music, connect with each other and empathize with each other, and have many more opportunities and experiences like that.

Ogawa: Thank you! How was it being on the radio today, Kan'o-dome-san?

Kanotome: Yes, that was fun.

(Everyone applauds)

Ogawa: I also had a very enjoyable time. I had seen your work before, but it was a truly precious time to meet you in person and hear your mother's story, who was also there with you. Thank you very much.

Text by Tomoyo Akasaka/photo by Jozo Suzuki

Kaoru Iga

Iga Gan-Otoru / Individual (Tokyo)

Born in Tokyo in 1988. After exhibiting at Art Brut Tachikawa in 2015, he has been presenting his work every year since then. Due to his autism, he is not good at conversation, but he still loves people and has no hesitation in meeting new people. He also loves music and has been learning the cello for 20 years.

Artist details here

The podcast "HERALBONY TONE FROM MUSEUM" is now available for free

Based on the concept of "imagining the history of an unconventional artist through his art," this program listens closely to the art and touches upon the personality and life story of one "unconventional artist" that can be seen beyond his work.

The two MCs are Sara Ogawa, an actor, filmmaker and writer, and Takaya Matsuda, CEO of HERALBONY. Each episode focuses on a writer under contract with HERALBONY, and welcomes intellectually disabled writers, their families and welfare facility staff as guests.

It is available every Sunday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

You can also enjoy back issues for free.