Wasabi Stories vol.150: “Enjoy Out Before Getting Serious”


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“Enjoy Out Before Getting Serious”

Today’s story-teller is Japanese artist Shu Takahashi, 80 years old.

It is about the Overseas Study Award, established by Takahashi.

Since he used to live in Rome about 40 years, he could observe the change in Japanese art field from outside. He had been concerned about the Japanese youth’s future.



He wondered if Japanese arts could stand up to the world in the future. He sought what he could do to contribute to Japanese arts.

He raised 100 million yen to contribute to charitable funds by selling his house and so on and he has been supporting 3 young artists to go study abroad each year since 2007.

9 young artists have been studying abroad since the fund was established. However, Takahashi has complaints about the artists.


He says, “All of them say exactly the same thing: “There were a lot of things I had never learned till I went overseas. You gave me the opportunity.”I made sure of them just have fun, but they all say nicey-nicey things. What really can they learn in one year or so? The accomplishment is not important. I wish they would enjoy out and observe something about Japan from outside.”


In fact, the first year of his life in Rome, he didn’t touch his paint brush. He wanted to focus on broaden his knowledge first.

Now he travels between Rome and Japan to teach Japanese university students. His impression of their work is a worry. He thinks that they are too cartoony and have no strong sense.


He says, “When I first went to Italy, the work of the Italian artists of my age was sloppy, but there was some kind of message. My work was quite neat, but I realized that there was no message in my work. The Japanese students’ work also has no message. I wish they would have the right frame of mind and set to work.”


The NIKKEI 11/26/2009 by Shu Takahashi (artist)



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