As a postwar baby, I very much remember how Japan was trying to reinvent itself, at the same time not really doing it in a way, I mean as the prewar people kind of came back into the power. Even though as a child, I wasn’t aware it’s maybe not until later, but for the 60s, I began to be much more real with this historical aspect and political aspect. So, as a childhood, Tokyo was a very different city. There were lots of open spaces for the kids to play. The food was very different, houses were small, we spent a lot of time outside. There were lots of smells because people’s houses were not as closed up as it is now, so we could kind of smell all of the dinner cooking, different house cooking. Life was more — our life was more connected to the — like from mouths to — hand to mouth kind of a life. Even though my family is kind of more middle class, but middle class then was really not a middle class as one would think of the world right now.1


And then more so, I think in Koma, because Koma was born in 1948, and where I grew up in Tokyo, which is after war a big city, Koma grew up in a smaller city much closer to Korea. So, being born ’48, and so like childhood memories, maybe starting around four or five years old.2 He clearly, so much more clearly, remembers the feeling of an atmosphere of — and the little antidotes of being poor or being — the things had been changing. But at the same time, I think he and I have the similar reading experiences, particularly reading those artists who really gave a very deep thought about the lives of Japanese having been perpetuators, and also how that war had to be reflected, and how the mainstream Japan was so busy, not so reflecting on it, but really earning back their living, so that family could be fed. And this overworking around the clock, rebuilding the economy and household. So, those were the atmospheres I think we grew up with.

  1. Had To Work
  2. Same Story
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