Cranes in Kibi

“Cranes in Kibi” Right: “Calling Birds” 172 x 384 Left: “Birth” 172 x 384
The 91st The Japan Art Institute Exhibition
The 12th Adachi Museum of Art Award
Adachi Museum of Art Collection


 In the past few years, I have visited places in Okayama Prefecture frequently. Besides the wonderful scenery of Setonaikai, I was surprised by the cranes that were released from Korakuen for the New Year. I had thought that the Tancho cranes flew north, but I learned that they are raised in a nature preserve in Okayama. I met “Dr. Crane,” Dr. Makio Iguchi who loves the cranes as if they were his own children and was making efforts to raise them so that they could survive in nature in Okayama someday. Thanks to him, I was able to watch various scenes with the cranes in each season, and my love toward the crane deepened. I started hoping to work on them.
 However, since cranes have been made into masterpieces in noble folded screens and fusuma paintings, I ended up going through a process of trial and error, wondering how to paint my own cranes. I thought it would be a challenge to use six-piece, twin folded screens because it would allow me to narrate a story with time passing that could not be easily accomplished in a western style painting on a single canvas.
 It is said that a couple of cranes will remain together until one or the other dies, but only a couple that can cry to each other in harmony can mate. The right piece starts with a late autumn night with a little star shining. The monochrome expresses the severe winter. As the cranes desperately cry to each other, the two cranes express a strong will to spend their lives together.
 The field of papyrus under their feet is gradually withering. Then the season changes and the right piece shows spring turning to summer. The mother crane lovingly raises a chick. Grasses and flowers are growing in new green. I painted a family living relaxed and peacefully at the side of the Takahashi River under the glittering sun.
 It was difficult to mix traditional spacious decoration, such as metallic leaf and the design of running water, along with the realism of the cranes, grass, and flowers on a more than seven-meter canvas. It’s a piece with a lot of memories.