For the past 30 years, I have continued with my varied representation with different materials. I was born in Kochi Prefecture in Japan and have lived there since. Kochi is located in southwest Japan, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and mountains, and blessed with a mild climate and rich nature. Many of the materials I have used for my works, such as wood, bamboo, paper, etc., were produced on the land of Kochi.
These materials do live at the same time and place as I live. This is the very reason why there is necessity for me to make use of them for my works. I have a strong feeling that my existence has been made possible over the long history of mankind, or rather that I am allowed to live in the linkage of life as a living thing. I think that various works of mine have so far existed on the extension of this thought.
In "POSITION", 1983, are seen dinosaurs formed out of tree branches and something like a shed to take refuge in from their threats. Dinosaurs are very attractive living things to me, which existed on the earth before mankind. I am interested in them all the more, because I see the future of mankind overlapped with the fact that they are extinct now. I made dinosaurs repeatedly in the 1980s and especially, large-sized ones (more than 10m long) out of bamboo in 1982. Then I went on with this series up to No.6 till 1999 and could have them appear or various occasions and locations. Furthermore, such creation out of bamboo developed into a human-shaped work, "TAKEHITO" (bamboo man), 1983.
On the other hand, works made of wood changed into ones with stories like "POSITION", 1985. The series was completed temporarily with "CERBERUS", 1988. I was also engaged in the creation of large-sized works for open-air exhibitions like "ANIMAL", 1985.
I was mainly engaged in such creation out of wood and bamboo in the 1980s, but I learned in the 1990s to turn my attention to "Washi" (Japanese paper) as material and to use mainly "Tosa Washi" (Tosa is the old name of Kochi Prefecture). At first, I used pulp-state paper for my creation like "Memory of Future", 1992. Then the images of plants and animals were developed through using Washi as can be seen in the work exhibited at the Museum of Art, Kochi in 1995.
From this work, "Not Here But Somewhere, Not Now But Sometime", images started getting immanent and stories began. I have always asked myself what it meant to me, who was born 1949, to continue creating works at the end of the 20th Century.
There is an image of origin in "Memory", 1996. The central part of it is set aside for a special place to be blessed. From "Silence", 1996, human-formed representation started to appear. And it resulted in spinning "The Story of Rat Land". The characters who appear in the story such as "rat", "Mother", "resistant", "messenger of time", "Saviour", etc. were materialized one after another and appeared as real beings. I have been wondering through these stories if the times in which we have lived might never be the ones which resulted from our better choice, but rather be a stupid ones which went wrong somewhere. And in order to live further from now in the 21st Century, I think it necessary to reflect upon ourselves more deeply and continue sending a message to the next generations.
Now I would like to talk about my latest work, "Silent Song". I think I need to explain it a little to you. In Japan, where I was born and brought up, we live near mountains, rivers and the sea, and it also rains a lot. A great deal of rain which falls over the mountains becomes rapid streams flowing into the sea.
From ancient times, Japanese people would have their way of thinking which dictated that we "let all run down the waters", or let bygones be bygones. On various occasions like disaster, festivals, prayer, etc., people used to attach their feelings to the things associated with those events and let them run downstream.
And people would follow the same way of thinking of "letting all run down the waters" to pacify quarrels or ill feelings rising among them. In short, it means "resetting".
But in our life of modern times, such a thing is no longer possible. Environmental pollution has worsened too much for the function of natural purification to catch up with. Today we live in the age when we may in no case throw anything into any river.
In my childhood, when a pet dog or cat died, we used to go to a nearby river to "let it run downstream". Doing so meant not dumping but burying the body to us. And wishing childeren good health and happiness, people sometimes used to put dolls in toy boats and let them float downstream. In this way, strips of paper as well as dolls were floated downstream in place of ourselves living a real life.
I intend to express by my work such an old custom as sailing which connects "reality" with "the other world". I think we must look over again many lives and important things that we have lost and, by doing so, start spinning a scenario for revival.
I believe that it is the greatest challenge in the 21st Century for us to restore the earth and human mind which we have devastated in our times.
I have always hoped that representation means speaking out to the times. I consider it our urgent duty to stop the non-delivered soul from running out of control and retrieve the future of mankind at no other time than now.