I decided to create this English version for the benefit of Ms. Eve Sander, Shiki in Saitama-ken, who happened to be the honorable first visitor to this gallery.
Yasuko Shimizu Yasuko Shimizu
Pseudonym: "Seishu"

Yasuko was born on November 11, 1911, in Tokyo. She married Kanekichi Shimizu, and they had their first son in Setagaya-ku. Moving to Adachi-ku, they had two more sons and two daughters.

When their children married and started their own families, she started her new life growing vegetables and flowers in her kitchen garden at her new home in Misato, Saitama-ken.

It was then that she learned Washi-E, and started making pictures at the age of seventy-two. For fourteen years after that she devoted her all to the art, both day and night. In 1986 she received her certificate as a teacher of Washi-E and established her own art class.

On April 1, 1998 she passed away, and is greatly missed by her students.

So, what is Washi-E? Please don't expect an exact explanation here, as I'm not an expert about the art. I know only that Washi-E is a picture ("E") made of traditional Japanese paper ("Wa-Shi"), and the work involves tearing the paper into small pieces and pasting them together on a canvas. Though you can't make it out on your PC screen, the pictures consist of countless, very fine pieces of Washi paper.

She had two wishes: publication of a book of her collected works, and an exhibition. But these were not realized while she was alive.

To fulfill one of her wishes, her children and grandchildren published a book called "Deai to Omoide" ("Encounters and Memories") in November 1998. The book contains hundreds of her works of art.

And now, to make the other dream come true, I've opened this gallery on the Web site. I will post her works, selected and scanned from the book in time with the seasons.
Now she sleeps in the cemetery at Nanzoin Temple. The temple, located near JR Kanamachi Station in Katsushika-ku, is famous for "Shibarare Jizo" (rope-tied guardian deity of children).
Nanzoin temple

Shibarare Jizo
Its history dates back to the early 18th century. On a summer day, a clerk of a kimono store happened to pass pulling a cart fully laden with plain kimono cloth. Parking his cart in the front of the main gate. he stopped to rest under a tree on the temple grounds and fell asleep.

When he awoke, he discovered that the cart was gone, along with its load. In a panic he rushed to the magistrate's office. An investigation was carried out by then-renowned magistrate Oh-oka Echizen. The magistrate said, "Jizo is guilty for his negligence in keeping watch, letting the robber escape," and ordered the stone statue of Jizo to be bound tightly with rope.

Word of the trial spread, and many spectators thronged to the yard of the magistrate's office. Then the magistrate tactically ordered the gate closed, and said, "Breaking into the divine court is unforgivable. As punishment, each of you is fined a roll of cloth."

When the clerk checked the collected rolls of cloth, he found a stolen one among them. This lead to the arrest of a notorious ring of thieves.
Taishi-do The Jizo is said to grant all wishes, including protection from robbery, making someone stay with you (or maybe stay away), protecting you against evil, and matchmaking. When you make a wish, you bind the Jizo with rope. After your wish comes true, you untie the rope.

On the grounds of the temple was built "Taishi-do" (Shrine for Prince Shotoku). Shotoku (574-622 A.D.) was a prince ("Taishi") who established the first constitution in Japan.

The name of the place where Yasuko Shimizu lived as a newlywed with Kanekichi in Setagaya-ku was Taishido. Is it just a coincidence, or did God lead her there?
49th day In Buddhism, it is believed that the soul wanders between this world and the next during the forth-nine days immediately after death.

On a sunny day in May 1998, the memorial service for the forty-ninth day after her death was held at Nanzoin Temple. There gathered her five children, grand children, kinfolk, and her students of Washi-E, and the funeral ashes of her remains were laid into the newly built gravesite of the Shimizu family. The man in the center is her husband Kanekichi.

On December 20, 2000, Kanekichi passed away at age of 96, to see his wife again in Heaven.

(December 24, 2000)