Wakimoto, Santa Fe and a Sakimori (防人)

Once i traveled to 4 Corners in US. Moving to Santa Fè on the way back to New Mexico we visited the National Park Monument in Mesa Verde, a place that offers a spectacular look into the lives of Ancestral Pueblos who made it their home for over 700 years. Impressed by hundreds of cliffs dwellings with the Sun always shine its located in Colorado, in the county of Montezuma. When we arrived in Santa Fè we were captured by immense beauty of the city. Goin around, i didn't know of Touching Stone Gallery, a place that really capture the essence of Japanese aesthetics in the middle of nowhere placing Japanese Art in the American Southwest. I did'nt know at the time traditional Japanese contemporary ceramics. Only later i realized this Japanese Artist, i supposed mexican. I love incense burners, Koro, Caledon and digging on the web i found this peace of art called Sakimori ( 防人) .

"Well, well, well" R.L. Burnside would say from Mountain Hill. Today after 12 years with help of Takeo Aizawa, a friend, Nagasaki survivor & retired english teacher i realized the whole story of this Artist that i missed exposed in Santa Fè in 2006

"Hiroyuki Wakimoto was born in Tsushima Island, but became a disciple to Mr. Joji Yamashita when he was 29. Yamashita was born in Tokyo. Tsushima Island was attacked twice by a cruel army of Mongolians in 1274 and 1281. There was a terrible atrocity, but when they tried to attack the mainland Japan twice, there was a typhoon coming each time where they were, which swept away all the army into the sea bottom. As a result Japan was safe. This typhoon was called Kamikaze (God's wind) after that, and this same name was attached to young Japanese suicide bombers attacking American fleet in World War II. So, Wakimoto must have been told many times about all this by his parents and grandparents. The stories one hears repeatedly in one's youth may influence what he does in later life. As for the explanation of Sakimori, what he said is this: He was born in Tsushima Island off Nagasaki Prefecture in Kyushu. Tsushima is located in Japan Sea between Japan and China or Korea. So, it has long been regarded as a defense line against a possible attack from these countries. Therefore, a lot of Sakimoris (soldiers) have been stationed there since the time immemorial. He was born and brought up feeling and sharing the air of those Sakimori courage and tradition. So, when he started pottery, his first theme of art was the Tsushima tradition and history. This is why you met with that Sakimori in Santa Fe Touching Stone Gallery. Anyway, this is roughly what he told me as an explanation for Sakimori. "

From a private conversation with Takeo Aizawa

"As an outsider who arrived at Bizen almost by chance, I was taught everything about Bizen-yaki that had taken hundreds of years to develop. I hope someday I can contribute my share of knowledge to the continuous evolution of Bizen-yaki as a way of repaying the generosity of my adopted home town".

脇本博之 (Hiroyuki Wakimoto)