LA VANGUARDIA: May 17, 2018 printed.
Toshima Yasumasa: Seeks Unamuno’s inquiry of “Who am I?” through the gaze of the Japanese.
Written by Oscar R. Ventana
Salamanca, May 17. Artworks of Japanese painter Toshima Yasumasa (1934-2006) celebrating the 800th Anniversary, exhibition dedicated to the author Miguel de Unamuno could be viewed from today. The content of this display is reflecting the eternal query of Unamuno “Who am I?”
“Painting is nothing but suffering to me. Because of it, I must carry out my responsibility with this. So, I am not simply a painter. Digging up myself, and pain of it piles up layers over layers, and then, for the first time, I could recompense my karma.” Thus the painter has written shortly after he arrived to Madrid.
To the interview of Agencia EFE, curator Ms. Misaki Abe of the Exhibition, replied that Toshima Yasumasa embraced close empathy to Unamuno’s literature in the view point of life and its tragic sense, and they are observed in many of the portraits, which groped the soul of simple people, and those artworks could be viewed in this Exhibition.
Among one of the portraits, Old Lady Berta could be named. She is a niece of philosopher of Granada Ángel Ganivet whom Unamuno formed friendship, and Toshima unexpectedly encountered this “Muse.” Though his brushwork is like that of Goya, yet within this painter’s original dark colors, traditional Japanese thing is said to be hidden.
For ones who are visiting this Exhibition, from tomorrow to June 15, displays could be viewed in the three chapters arrangement of “Faith of the Simple People,” “Landscape of Soul,” “Love and Pain,” in numbers of exhibition rooms. The last chapter is the pictorial expression of Unamuno’s poem “The Christ of Velázquez.”
Literary compositions of Unamuno, the president of Salamanca University, compliment the artworks of the painter, who was called Don Quixote by his friends, because of his incessant attitude of challenging the impossible. It is linked to the leading tradition of Spanish chivalry, which Miguel de Cervantes being at the head.
Correlation of Bushido and Chivalry is precisely what Toshima has deepened in the both culture. And the painter leaving his work and family in Japan was induced to visit Granada, Cuenca and various lands of Spain. —Extraction—
Memorial Gallery of Toshima Yasumasa is located in the center of Tokyo, and operated by Director Shigyo Sosyu. He shared suffering and joy with the painter, whom he met with fateful encounter, and shared the passion for Unamuno’s literary works and philosophical thought. They have read the translation version of [Tragic Sense of Life] of Unamuno Writing Collection, published from 1969 to 1978, and they have found Japanese philosophical thought and common points in it. “They said that Unamuno is very Japanese,” the curator responded as such.
With the cooperation of Embassy of Spain and the Japanese Embassy, and Unamuno Resident Museum, which provided portrait and other materials, and celebrating the 800th Anniversary of Foundation of Salamanca University, at Spanish-Japanese Cultural Center, and also celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Establishment of Japan-Spain Diplomatic Relation, counting from Spain-Japan Amity Trade Voyage Treaty of 1868, this Exhibition has been realized as one of the academic program.
The fact that Toshima spent as “Quixote” nearly 30 years, and deeply immersed in both the intellectual and mass culture, shows that though two countries are physically distant apart, in literature and art, both countries are fundamentally close.
“To die dreaming, no, if it is possible to dream of dying, death is a dream; Window open to the void; Death is not dreaming; Nirvana at the last moment, Eternity overcomes,” thus Unamuno composed his last poem before he passed away. The fact that both Unamuno and Toshima died at the age of 72, must be one ontological coincidence.