Taisuke Kinugasa's magical and unique work where dreams and memories intersect. "Listening to the Museum #7" - Part 2

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#Meeting with the teacher

Ogawa: I think you often use the towns you visit as motifs. Do you often travel with your family?

Tamami: Yes, there are many. I've exhibited in places all over Japan, from Okinawa to Hokkaido, and overseas in places like New York and Hungary. So Taisuke goes sightseeing and visits galleries, and on his way back he always buys a book about the city.

Ogawa: Wow! What kind of book are you talking about?

Tamami: Photo books. I bought photo books of cityscapes. At first, I didn't know why I bought them and wondered what I was doing. But when I got home, I looked at the book and extracted only the scenery I liked, which was collaged like a dreamland, and holding the book carefully, I started drawing pictures. I drew the scenery I wanted to see, so it wasn't the exact scenery. I think I used the book as a basis for remembering things like, "I ate this," or "The mothers were drinking wine in the afternoon."

Ogawa: Through the paintings, I can see the memories of the time I spent there.

Tamami: That's right. I think that historical cities in Europe and New York look like theme parks to Taisuke. But he wants to draw them too.

Takaya: He once painted a work for HERALBONY on the theme of Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture. It is currently on display as a large mural in Namie Town. Even though he didn't say anything in particular, the words "Do your best" were included in the work. That's why I think Taisuke is the type of person who "gets it." I'm sure he's still aware of the situation and is listening to it.

Art displayed at the "Namie Art Project: Memories of Namie, Future of Namie." The word "Ganbare" (do your best) is written in the center.

Tamami: Taisuke understood everything. I had never been to Namie Town before, so I explained to him that there was a Cosmos Marathon. Then he put up a photo on the wall and started drawing. He didn't say anything about it, but he wrote "Do your best" in big letters. I was a little taken aback.

Taisuke: (continues muttering something)

(Taisuke suddenly stands up and leaves the recording room)

Takaya: He left the room to go to the restroom. That's a good thing. I want to do a radio show that's as tolerant as that (laughs).

Ogawa: While you're leaving, I'd like to ask your mother: is there anything that stands out in your memories from your time with Taisuke?

Tamami-san: Every day is a repetition of the story of what "probably will happen" being overturned...! There have been many happy moments, but also many shocking experiences.

Takaya: My mother was also in a lot of despair when my brother was born. She even had a book on her bookshelf called "I can't die and leave my child behind."

Tamami: When mothers (with children with disabilities) get together and talk, that's the first thing we talk about. "Let's live long lives," we say (laughs).

Takaya: In the welfare industry, we call this the "problem after the parents are gone." How sons and daughters with severe intellectual disabilities will live after their parents pass away is a challenge for the country as well, and I hope that HERALBONY can help in this area as well.

Tamami: The other day, Takaya-san talked about the swimming school on his podcast , and Taisuke was lucky enough to find an understanding teacher. Now he swims 1km every day.

Ogawa: Wow! I can't swim 1km.

Tamami: I'm often blessed with good people. Now I walk about 10,000 steps with my dad every morning. That includes running.

Takaya: You're super healthy!

Tamami: And I draw pictures. In the evening I go to the pool and swim 1km. That's my life.

Ogawa: You're so energetic.

Takaya: But of course, routines like that are really important. My brother has to eat soba on Saturdays, and he eats tonkotsu ramen on certain days of the week, at certain restaurants. My mother has to be there too, so she's gotten a little plump.

Tamami: It depends on the day of the week. At ours, we have fried chicken.

Takaya: Fried chicken. I guess it'll be like being a manager for life.

Tamami: In my family, we still had VHS, and we would decide "we'll watch this video at a certain time on Monday." Since it was a video, we could watch it whenever we wanted, but we had to watch it at that time. It's hard to get people to understand things like this, unless you have someone in your family who does that.

Ogawa: By the way, did you find out what you had after you were born?

Tamami: He just couldn't speak, or rather, we couldn't have a conversation. I thought, "This is strange, this is strange," but then I realized that my older child was born a year later, and that there was a huge difference in their developmental levels, so I went to the child consultation center to get him diagnosed.

Ogawa: I see.

Tamami: It started with "possible", and some people improved, but others were confirmed. We met a wonderful teacher there. He helped us in life.

Ogawa: How did they help you?

Tamami: As a parent, I was pessimistic. Even when he went to kindergarten, he couldn't do what everyone else could do. Even at sports day, he would run in the opposite direction, or run away. The teacher said, "Instead of forcing him to do it, let's get the people around him to understand." "Tasuke has his own unique characteristics, but he can read and draw, so let's tell him in pictures and writing, 'Tomorrow is the sports day, and we'll all start running here at the ready.' Let's get the teachers at school to understand, too." Please go and explain it to the school.

Ogawa: The doctor at the hospital!

Takaya: What a wonderful teacher.

Tamami: There is a support program for people with autism called the TEACCH program (Therapeutic and Educational Program for Children with Autism and Related Communication Disorders). In the program, for example, they show a child a card with a picture of someone brushing their teeth and ask them to repeat "brushing teeth" to help them learn words. In Taisuke's case, he liked drawing, so the teacher said, "Let's get Taisuke to draw pictures of himself, like sleeping or brushing his teeth. Then he'll learn words by drawing them." He's a very imaginative person.

Takaya: The pictures turn into words. Usually the words come first.

Tamami: When I went to the doctor's appointment, he said, "Today is the day to draw pictures." I drew a picture, and the doctor pouched it and made a nice card. When I asked him, "What will you do today?" he put down the card that said, "Play with miniature cars."

Takaya: The TEACCH program is a very well-known program related to autism.

Tamami: That does help, after all.

Takaya: In my home, we use the TEACCH program's idea of ​​"structuring space." We use picture cards and other things to have conversations.

Tamami: That's right. The teacher visits our homes and observes things like, "It's a good idea to write your name on your chopsticks," or "It would be really easy to tell if you numbered the drawers."

Takaya: He's a really amazing teacher. We had signs in our house saying things like "Don't force the doorknob shut." Because people would smash the door with incredible force. He really put structure into everything.

Ogawa: Ah, Taisuke is back!

Takaya: Welcome back!

Ogawa: Is the TEACCH program something that has been established in the medical industry?

Tamami: It's a program to promote communication among people with autism.

Takaya: Many doctors go to America to study.

Tamami: It was originally something that started overseas, but the teacher was one of the first to adopt it in Kyoto. It was a great help to us, and the teacher at school was able to say to Taisuke, "Tomorrow is the field trip," showing him a pamphlet.

Ogawa: By the way, was your school a public school?

Tamami: He attended a local public elementary and junior high school until junior high school. We had an older daughter who was a year older than him, and we thought that he was the same child, so we wanted to raise him in the same environment as much as possible. It was about 25 years ago, so there was still an atmosphere that people with developmental disabilities had to go to a different class, but when we explained our idea, they were very sympathetic and said, "Let's live together in the classroom." "I think that will have a good result for the other children, too." He couldn't keep up with the lessons on the blackboard, so I prepared materials for him, such as drawing pictures and simple addition and subtraction.

Ogawa: I see. Tamami also assisted Taisuke in terms of education.

(Taisuke returns to Takaya's side.)

Tamami: That's right. It would be a problem for the teacher if Taisuke wandered around in the classroom, but he can get absorbed in drawing, so we prepare a bunch of handouts and put them in his bag, and have him mark them when they're finished.

Takaya: Taisuke just tapped me on the shoulder. I'm so happy!

Tamami: They really seem like great friends!


Ogawa: Since you've come back, I'd like to ask you, Taisuke, is there any place that you have particularly fond memories of from all your travels?

Takaya: What was fun about it, Taisuke?

Tamami: New York? Budapest?

Taisuke: New York... The plague!

Takaya: Budapest!

Tamami: Your favorite?

Taisuke: Number one, my favorite, Buda, Pest!

Takaya: I love Budapest the most! That's great!

Ogawa: I'd love to go!

Tamami: It's really wonderful. The whole town is a World Heritage Site, but people still live in apartments in buildings that are hundreds of years old. People live there as normal, and the Bashamichi road remains.

Taisuke Kinugasa "Breakfast in Budapest"

Takaya: This is exactly the piece called "Breakfast in Budapest."

Ogawa: What a great title! The piece is made into a handkerchief .

Tamami: This is the famous city hall.

Ogawa: Wow. The buildings in the town are beautiful, and the colors of the sky and sun in the background are also very beautiful.

Tamami: The color of the sun is different depending on the city you visit. Budapest is a place where the sun leaves a strong impression. I went there during the season when it was light from 4am to 9am, so the sun was very impressive.

Ogawa: But those memories of trips tend to fade over time, don't they? So you remember them, Taisuke?

Tamami: That's what never fades. When I went to Budapest about 10 years ago, I went to Angkor Wat in Cambodia a few days before. It was a truly amazing place, and Taisuke had painted it several times since returning to Japan. Then, just a few days ago, I asked him to paint something again, and without saying anything in particular, I showed him a photo from that time and he painted it. Then he suddenly said "Angkor Thom." In fact, there is a ruin called Angkor Thom other than Angkor Wat, and he was painting that one. But I had completely forgotten that I had been to Angkor Thom. So Taisuke remembers it well.

Ogawa: So you remember the names of places and what you did there. How fast are you writing?

Takaya: Amazing.

Tamami: It's been over 10 years since I went to Angkor Wat. When I painted it right after I went there, I looked at a photo and painted a picture that just extracted the parts of the landscape that I liked. But this painting has an area lined with lovely Cambodian cafes, a bunch of tuk-tuks, which are like bicycle taxis, running around, and an elephant walking among the hustle and bustle of people. I was surprised that all of those elements from my visit to Cambodia were included in one painting.

Takaya: You're smiling as you remember Angkor Wat, Taisuke. Do you want to go to Angkor Wat again?

Tamami: Do you want to go?

Ogawa: Are there any countries you would like to visit in the future?

Tamami: (To Taisuke) Where do you want to go next? Where did you want to go right now? The place in the guidebook.

Taisuke: Knowledge, emotion

Tamami: I'm interested in traveling within Japan right now. Where do you want to go now?

Taisuke: Ka, Goshima

Tamami: You're going to Kagoshima, then?

Taisuke: Seeds, seeds, islands

Tamami: Yes, Tanegashima. I love pictures of rockets, so I thought I'd show her the space center.

Takaya: That sounds exciting!

Ogawa: I really want to see Tanegashima as depicted by Taisuke!

Tamami: I always carry a guidebook with me, so the one for the next place I want to go is in my heavy bag.

I'm putting it in.

(At this point, Taisuke stands up.)

Ogawa: So you're always walking around thinking about where you want to go. But you can actually see Taisuke's work, right?

Takaya: That's right! Now that Taisuke has stood up, I'd like to make an announcement. The exhibition "ART IN YOU Art is inside you"* features some truly wonderful works by Taisuke Kinugasa, including "Spring Journey" and "Osaka Night Cruise," so I hope you will come and see them.

*The exhibition has ended.
(Left) "Spring Trip", (Right) "Osaka Night Cruise"

Ogawa: Both are wonderful pieces. How big are the originals?

Tamami: Yes, it's about 70 centimeters square.

Takaya: It's huge. I want to see it in person.

Tamami: "Spring Journey" is a combination of the European scenery I mentioned earlier and my favorite scenery, so it's like a dreamland. There are musical notes, flowers, stars, airplanes flying, and letters.

Taisuke Kinugasa "Spring Journey"

Tamami-san: I drew "NEXT" on the letters. I was a little surprised. "Yasu-kun is so cool."

(Taisuke and Takaya are standing close to each other)

Takaya: Taisuke-san, you're also leaning on my shoulder, thank you very much. Ah, it's like I'm peering at you (laughs). Okay, touch.

(They both high-five)

Ogawa: I touched it. So, Taisuke-san and your mother, Tamami-san, thank you so much for sharing your valuable experience with us today.

Taisuke: Thank you very much.

Takaya: That's nice.

Text by Tomoyo Akasaka/Photo by Mika Hashimoto

Taisuke Kinugasa

To live is to paint. He paints the scenery he sees while traveling around the world with his family, with a unique worldview full of light and color. With a sense of color and sensitivity that has been described as magical, he instantly selects colors from hundreds of colors to paint. His artwork has been highly praised both in Japan and overseas, and large votive plaques have been dedicated to the votive plaque halls at Kamigoryo Shrine in Kyoto and Hakuun Shrine within the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

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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.

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