Solo exhibition of Eji Tsuruda in Kagoshima: Imaginary animal displays amidst autumn foliage
Eji Tsuruda’s solo exhibition, “Where Is Keiji Tsuruta Going? (Japanese title: どこに行くんだ鶴田惠士)” is currently taking place at the Momijiyama Museum in Naokicho, Kagoshima City. Tsuruda, a native of Kagoshima City, works as a veterinarian at Tsuruda Animal Hospital and has been engaged in painting for over 20 years, starting around the age of 50. His artworks often feature animals, characterized by a free and unbounded style that does not conform to specific shapes, using colors such as red and yellow. This solo exhibition marks his return after a hiatus of 14 years. The Momijiyama Museum, located in the mountains of Naokicho, has approximately 350 Japanese maple trees planted on its vast 4,000 square-meter grounds. For this exhibition, the entire museum is being used for displays. Indoors, there are around 30 paintings as large as 1,620×1,300 mm, 50 small pieces of animals cut from plywood with handmade frames, and wall-mounted masks made from styrofoam and paper clay. In the outdoor maple forest, various animal sculptures made from plywood, including giraffes and monkeys, Tsuruda’s imaginary animals, and dozens of masks made from paper clay and Japanese paper are placed throughout. Tsuruda originally created these outdoor animal artworks for a joint exhibition at the Kagoshima City Museum of Art, but the Momijiyama Museum offered to place them in the forest. Tsuruda expressed his joy at seeing the artworks dotted in the maple forest, “I felt happy to see the animals come alive.” He also mentioned, “I don’t paint in a realistic manner; I just paint what I think or feel. I don’t stick to specific shapes. I want to continue painting as I please.” The exhibition is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until October 29. Free admission.
YUTORI CLASS, custom home using Kagoshima timber, wins Good Design Award
On October 5, YUTORI CLASS, a custom home using timber from Kagoshima Prefecture, received the “Good Design Award 2023,” hosted by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. YUTORI CLASS is a housing product sold by Kagoshima-based house builder Yamasa House. It is the flagship model of the company, featuring a unique construction method using locally sourced 100% cedar structural materials. This method allows for the creation of a “large box” with a maximum length of 6 meters 37 centimeters, providing a high degree of flexibility for adapting the layout to match family compositions and lifestyles. As Kasumi Wakamatsu, responsible for public relations, stated, “We also propose creating spatial layouts that change the height and wall configurations, creating a three-dimensional layout, such as a mezzanine floor, where you can feel the presence of your family.” The award recognized the design’s ability to easily accommodate future changes, as well as the integrated system of local operations, from forestry to wood processing, and the establishment of a carpentry training company to ensure the continuation of technical skills. Wakamatsu added, “With this award as a catalyst, we want to continue supporting the people living in Kagoshima to live comfortably and peacefully.”
Café Mugi opens in Masagocho, Kagoshima, featuring pink décor
On September 18, Café Mugi reopened in Masagocho, Kagoshima City. Previously, the café operated in Tenmonkan. For the reopening in Masagocho, the owner, Kaede Hagiwara, took a different approach, adorning the interior with light pink chairs, pink neon decorations, antique trinkets, and others. Hagiwara expressed that she aimed to make it “cute and enjoyable to look at.” The café now has a seating capacity of 14, including four counter seats. The menu includes cupcakes with choices of lemon, chocolate, or matcha (set with a drink, starting at 850 yen), S’mores Cookies and Ugly Cookies with options of matcha, cocoa, or nuts (set with a drink, starting at 900 yen), and the cheesecakes that she has been serving since her Tenmonkan days. The café also offers Tiramisu in a Pot and more. The S’mores Cookies feature marshmallow-filled cookies with biscuits on top, offering a size between a cake and a cookie. Hagiwara says, “It is perfect for a light snack.” The Ugly Cookies are chocolate filled with various toppings, a concept popular in Korea and other countries. Starting on October 5, the café has also introduced a lunch menu on weekdays, offering dishes such as omurice, pasta, and sandwiches, to name a few. Currently, Hagiwara is considering adding new items to the café menu and mentioned, “I want to keep incorporating new and exciting things in the future.” Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closing days will be announced on Instagram.
Gallery You Garou opens in Kagoshima, debuting with painter Gou Kihara’s solo exhibition
The gallery You Garou opened on October 8 on the first floor of the Ichi Ni San Building in Yamashitacho, Kagoshima City. The gallery is managed by the painter Gou Kihara, an artist specializing in the Western classical technique tempera, and his wife, Yoko, the owner. Yoko had a long-standing desire to open a gallery if the right place came along. The building is conveniently located near the Reimeikan – Kagoshima History Museum and Fine Arts Center, the Kagoshima City Museum of Art, the City Hall, and the Kenmin Koryu Center and houses cafés and restaurants. Yoko explains that they chose the space for the gallery partly due to the high ceiling of the gallery room, which is about four meters high and creates an open and less imposing atmosphere. The gallery space is approximately 13 square meters. “While it may be small, it is just right for exhibiting artwork. Some artists who do art as a side job don’t have enough pieces to hold a solo exhibition, which may be surprising,” Yoko explains. The gallery can accommodate around 15 works, and they designed the entire interior in white to make the artwork stand out. On the opening day, they started Gou Kihara’s solo exhibition as a commemorative project. The title is “muse.” Kihara uses the medieval European technique of egg tempera to depict works featuring “women who seem to be right there in everyday life.” In Greek mythology, the Muses were goddesses who presided over the arts. Kihara says, “I hope viewers can see the richness of painting while imagining that the Muses are present in our everyday lives.” In the future, they plan to mainly organize exhibitions on a monthly basis. Kihara has always had the thought that there should be more niche galleries. Since he has held many exhibitions of his works outside the prefecture in places such as Tokyo and Fukuoka, he has had opportunities to meet “niche artists” from outside Kagoshima. He aims to “reach out to such artists and create a space for them to exhibit.” Opening hours: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closing days will be announced on Instagram.