I went to the Kubota Sake Shop in front of JR Sabae Station. I happened to find a print by Mitsuru Ezaki.
It was a print of a living creature displayed with old tools of the historic Kubota Sake Shop.
I loved the golden ears of rice in the middle. I spoke with the owner, Hiroyuki Kubota, about how he acquired the print at a young age.
-Please tell us about your encounter with this print.
Around 2000, an acquaintance of mine happened to invite me to a gallery in Sabae City. It was Mitsuru Ezaki’s solo exhibition.
The moment I walked in, I saw this work in the back of the gallery. This was the only work I could see. Water, air, insects, creatures, rice paddies, and satoyama landscapes were there. I myself love living things, so I couldn’t help but be drawn to it.
-I heard that you were strongly attracted to this work. Why?
I came across this print when I decided to take over a liquor store. I was just starting to promote sake. I was thinking, “Let’s spread sake to as many people as possible! But I couldn’t put my thoughts into words. But I couldn’t put my thoughts into words. It was during this frustrating time that I came across Mr. Esaki’s prints. I thought, “This is it! I thought.
What I want to convey through sake is the original landscape of the Japanese people. “It is a “life with life.
There are rice paddies, living things, and the soil is fertile.
The rice is also pregnant with life.
Sake is made from the workings of nature.
Mr. Ezaki’s prints seemed to overflow with the nature, joy, and gratitude that I envisioned.
I have not been able to convey it in words, but it comes across naturally in pictures.
-You purchased a painting that matched your thoughts and feelings about it. It takes a lot of courage to buy a painting in your twenties. What was the reason for you to take the plunge?
I guess it was because I felt that this painting was like my alter ego. I couldn’t forget the painting. It was a painting that represented my feelings. I wanted to keep it with me for everyone to see.
-Have you ever met Mr. Ezaki ?
I met him at some exhibition hall a few years after I bought the work. I had the impression that he was an old man but a boy. Mr. Esaki said, “This insect and this are interesting! and I remember that we had a lot of fun talking about insects and creatures.
-Do you ever talk with customers who come to your store in front of this picture?
I talk with customers about the rice paddies I have seen for sake rice and the creatures I have met there.
Rice paddies full of living things give me a sense of vitality and richness. My customers also share my feelings, saying, “There used to be so many of these things.
-Have there been any changes in yourself, Mr. Kubota, since you purchased Mr. Ezaki’s prints in your twenties?
I am in business, so I have dilemmas and difficulties every day. This print is a picture that brings me back to my roots. When I stare at it when I am depressed, I feel as if it is encouraging me to say, “You are not wrong. I don’t want to do any business that goes against my ideals. It’s a picture that supports me.
-Thank you very much.
久保田酒店 Kubota Sake-Shop
1-1-4 Asahimachi, Sabae City, Fukui 916-0025, Japan
Business hours: 9:00 – 19:30
Parking: Available (next to the store)
Access: 1 min. walk from JR Sabae Station
This interview is an extra edition of the monthly Fu magazine “Art in a Certain Place”. Please read the magazine, too!