Japanese Art and Yumeji Takehisa: The sadness will last forever

Japanese Art and Yumeji Takehisa: The sadness will last forever

Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

The internationally esteemed Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) died tragically after shooting himself. He took many hours to die but when all hope was lost he famously said, “The sadness will last forever.”

Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934) equally died relatively young but in very different circumstances. Hence, with declining health, Takehisa died after entering a sanatorium. However, in a sense, Takehisa also died with the feeling that “The sadness will last forever.”

Yet from an artistic point of view – and very much alive internationally – the art of Van Gogh shines brightly long after his death. Sadly, for Takehisa, no redemption would follow because his dream of international notoriety never happened.

Indeed, even nature befell Takehisa during his lifetime. This relates to losing countless numbers of his art in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake.

One can only imagine how the deaths of over 100,000 people impacted on Takehisa after the Great Kanto earthquake. However, just like he knew that he couldn’t make enough money through his poetry, he doggedly kept on.

In 1931, Takehisa traveled to America, Germany, and Italy with great hope. He believed strongly that this would pave the way for gaining international recognition. Instead, little materialized despite some bright spots. Hence, with his health deteriorating he returned to his homeland in 1933 and entered a sanatorium.

Thus with declining health – and knowing his life was fading – sadness befell Takehisa. After all, he knew he had failed to achieve international acclaim hence no solace in his last few moments. Therefore, “The sadness will last forever” for Takehisa, unlike redemption for Van Gogh who is revered all over the world.


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