Last update 2022.03.19

Masaaki Sugita in "Isa Miyuki-yu", Art Studio and Gallery / 2021.07.24

in the gallery space

"Isa Miyuki-yu" Art studio and Gallery is the personal space of artist Masaaki Sugita.
The studio and gallery was reborn in 2021 by artist himself DIY reformed "Miyuki-yu" the old style Sento, Japanese public bath which was long run by artist's gradfather Iwajiro,grandmother Esa, father Shigeru and mother Isa, from 1920s to February 2018. Artist himself had been running Miyuki-yu for about last ten years.

in the studio space

My name is Masaaki Sugita, personal name Masaaki, family name Sugita
I was born here in 1955 and brought up in Otsu Shiga Japan. I left home to entrance the university, lived five years in Tokyo 1976-1980, and then in Kyoto 1980-1992 for the job, and moved to Osaka 1992-1995 also for the job, lastly I returned here in 1995 after 20 years absence like a prodigal son, named an artist, being poor. I live in here.

2016.12.11 My mother wearing my glasses.

My mother Isa was running alone her family business after her husband, my father Shigeru died in 1990. I was working at the track terminal Osaka since 1995, four hours non-skilled work for my printmaking until July 2004. It was hard and worst 10 years in my life for physically and mentally in age 40 to 50, being aged, depressed and by some other reason. I left the job. Next four years July 2004 to December 2007 were the happiest time as an artist. I depended wholly on my motherfs support. I had never had such long time to spend all time for my art. I went out to field on the bicycle to paint landscape every day from May to December, as soon as I waked up morning, and was back in the evening.

I knew the end came.

She said gI canft run my business alone anymoreh gDonft go out next year! Stay in homeh It was probably the end of 2007. She was 84 years old. I was 52.

2016.05.01 Not shouting, but "smiling" posing to my camera

After all I could create nothing by the loss of right eyesight from cataract in the next year 2008, even though I held my fourth solo exhibition on the closed day of Miyuki-yu to no one but me, myself.
The global financial crisis attacted, visitors of Miyuki-yu were getting decreased, oil price was raised higher. I clearly recognized my mother getting thin and weaker and weaker day by day as I was in home side by her all day.
She was complaining that she couldnft walk for the paining her sole from several years ago. She was going to the doctor, but she didnft know what was wrong. I could do nothing but help her business.

2018.03.27 My mother smiling

I was ignore, completely ignore.

It was probably two days later the Christmas of 2010. I was cleaning up the bathroom, and then she shouted she couldnft move her leg from the other side bathroom while she was bathing. I helped her lay on her bed. She slept at that night. She was so patient woman, she stood up next day for her business, but soon she lay on the bed whole day. It was unusual for her.
The first day of 2011 her big toe of her right foot had become purple. She was emergent hospitalized. It was thrombosis. Blood clots stopped the flow of blood at the artery of right hip joint which had been narrowed by the hardening of the arteries. She had the operation to insert a stent, but it was too late, the flow remained still stopped. Not only soon her big toe had been black, her foot began rotten, but by the primary treatment to melt the blood clots, the small clots damaged the capillaries of brain, she had had the remarkable symptoms of dementia, as a nurse said to me your mother might not recognize you. I had to decide to cut her right leg within 2 weeks. When I asked her the permission, she recognized well the operation. She said to me she hated the sound to cut the bone by saw.
She lost her right leg February 2011. I signed on the consent form to throw the cut right leg for an industrial waste. Fortunately we could avoid the worst result, the operation of the left leg had been success.
She had been discharged March 2011. It was the beginning of the days of caring my mother. Several days later the great earthquake attacked Japan. For more 20000 people were killed.

2013.10.24 My mother and MiruPie eating Ramen

She was the very practical woman, well keeping her business, daily running the bath machines, counting the earnings, payments, wisely saving money, supporting her elder sonfs family and me, everything she could do steadily and normally, as far as literally she could, as she was sometimes talking to herself. So it was unacceptable fact that such my mother had been dementia. I was judging it on my side, never being her side probably so I couldnft accept it. I needed long time to recognize it and I had to.
The days of caring my mother began. It had changed completely my day routine from the day. I am really sorry that I had never been gentle to her. She was often shouting all night calling me till morning when she found herself alone, but it was usually the name of her youngerfs sister, or others, even I was surprised when she called my name that happened scarcely once in a year. The lights and TV were always switched-on for her. I slept side by her on the sofa every time to response her from 3rd year. It was restless and sleepless days especially first five years.

Even though she had been dementia, her funny and humorous talking has never changed that I love.
One day she said to me, gI will call you ePapaf from now!h It was not Japanese, but English. I thought it that she reminded what she wanted in her younger time. She married with my father in 1947, two years later Post 2nd WW. American culture had completely changed Japanese around the losing war.

2016.05.01 My mother and I in the park

I was afraid every day of the risk that my mother might loss the remained left leg by the trifle scar like the right leg. It was until the next year I convinced that the flow of blood of her left leg recovered. She lost her right leg, but she seemed, by the operation to remove the bad part, healthy than before. She had good appetite and soon getting heavier. I think now that I was happy, even though I couldnft find it, for I was so physically tired, restless, sleepless and timeless. She sometimes waked me up at midnight, and said gLetfs talk!h gLetfs play!h She talked like a child, but her words were rather polite than that I knew it as a motherfs. It was when she asked me to put a wand side by her on the bed. I didnft understand why she asked such a thing. By the something noise, I waked up and saw to her, she was pulling her wheelchair to her by the handle of wand from the bed, and she transferred cleverly on the chair without help from the bed. I found several times she was so clever as to doubt whether she was really dementia.
But a year and a half later, she broke her leg while bathing in the care house. I was despaired once, it took long time, fortunately she recovered 6 months later, but it deprived the strength of her leg from her.

2001.12.16 My mother and Choppie

From 2011, the year my mother lost her right leg, I did all work of her business, Miyuki-yu, public bath. The customers, not only woman but also man, came because there was my mother. Some of them came even from far. As I had recognized it, I expected the customers would be getting decreasing.
Miyuki-yu was old style bath house, remained almost being nothing changed from 1970. Generally the family of the generation of my father, around 1920 hadnft bathroom in their house, so this business was well prosperous until 1975. But when the next generation, postwar baby boomers, born around 1945, had been independent, they had had the bathroom in the house whatever they were single or family. So the customers were older person who lived in the house without the bathroom, or older person who liked bigger bath pool, anyway they had been exceptional existence in 2000. When I was a child, in 1950s, the fee was about 20 JPY for an adult person, it was 1 USD=360 JPY, but it was good business. It had been 430 JPY=4 USD in 2000. The customers were rather lower class, so the fee wasnft cheap for the class, even though the bathing is necessary item for their life.
The customers decreasing, the recycled heavy oil price increasing, and more the payment of electric, water by the well exhausted, boiler and machines were breaking, the hot water leaking from the bath pool. The last year of Miyuki-yu in February 2018, all the customers were 13 for a day. It needed 100 liters per day in the midwinter. The oil was about 70 JPY/liter. The earning was 5590 JPY = 430 x 13, only the payment of oil was 7000 JPY.
The saving of mother was about 8000,000 JPY in 2011. I spent almost all the saving except last 1000,000 JP until 2018 for the expense, 4000,000 the medical and care for my mother, 1500,000 repairing and replacement of boiler and machines, 1500,000 the other was spent for the deficit compensation of the business.
My mother was very friendly person, the born good character for the business, but I like rather to be alone maybe by the reaction. My bad nature might cause to accelerate decreasing the survived customers.
It was barely non-profit business, but I thought I had to do for my mother.
I had the another one, was my art.

2002.05.04 Miyuki-yu, the entrance, the left for woman, the right for man

Miyuki-yu was 16:00-21:00 opened Thursday to Tuesday, the closed day was Wednesday. Probably until 2018, I changed the closing time at 20:00 for the decreased customers and for the reason that I wanted to have more time with my mother.
The business style of Miyuki-yu was very free and open as same as my motherfs character. Some regular customers were coming and back left the money even while I wasnft at the reception desk of the entrance, not changed as same as my mother was doing. The doors were always kept open in summer, so the partition between the dressing place and the outside were only the red and purple blue curtains and the inner blue curtains as the photo. When the strong winds blew up the curtains, it happened that passengers on the way saw the naked customers, everything in the bath house.
I was engraving the copper plate matrix at the reception desk while I was responding the customers, watching the bath house. There was no other time I could use for my art. I engraved the matrix Serial No. 1036 to 1083 during 2011 to 2018, simultaneously managing the business of Miyuki-yu. I am still engraving the coper plate matrix at this desk after I closed Miyuki-yu February 2018 until now.
The desk was replaced with a new one probably 1965 or so to the current one. It is about 60 years more, how long my mother was sitting here!
As I am sitting here, I feel even now the smell and vapor of hot water of the bath pool, I feel my mother, being calm and protected even though now she isnft anymore.

2022.03.16 Miyuki-yu, the reception desk "BANDAI"

My mother died September 17, 2019. I cared her about 8 years and a half from March 4, 2011. She was healthy and active probably for the first five years, but she was getting dull and obscure and inactive for her spirit and consciousness and physical for the last three and a half years, but she had been sometimes very normal, clear and active as ever as before as I was surprised.
I had been joining the opening of exhibition in Europe every year since 2013. It had been very refreshing time and I needed to keep the motivation for my tough caring days toward the next year. It was a week trip. I hadnft to work, to care, to cook, but I had enough sleep on the bed during the trip. Especially I was so pleased and grateful of the warm and kind reception of the 15th International Biennial of Small Graphic and Exlibris Ostrow Wielkopolski POLAND 2014. It is really good memory. If I hadnft the trip, I would be frustrated and cold to my mother only deploring my hard time.
I was happy when she ate much, and I was angry when she ate little. I was exhausted when she was vigorous.
I think it was 2016 later that my mother had become sleeping and silent for a while at midnight, though she waked up twice at 2:00 and 5:00. I recognized what it meant.

2015.10.03 My mother smiling posing to my camera