Kyoto Bunkyo University Department of Clinical Psychology Faculty of Clinical Psychology
- 臨床心理学部研究報告 = Reports from the Faculty of Clinical Psychology, Kyoto Bunkyo University (ISSN:18843751)
- vol.6, pp.87-101, 2014-03-31
Yasushi Sugiyama was a famous Japanese painter who lived through the periods of Meiji, Taisho, and Showa. In 1909, he was born as the eldest son of Ukichi Sugiyama who ran a stationery shop in Asakusa, Tokyo, and his wife, Michi. As his father died when he was six, his mother raised her two sons by herself. In 1928, he entered the Department of Japanese-style Painting of the former Tokyo Art School, and studied under Eikyu Matsuoka, a younger brother of Kunio Yanagida. His graduation work painted in 1933, “No” (field), won the first prize, and he soon attracted attention from the art world. He married a lady named Motoko Shinohara at the age of 27. Following the death of his mentor, Matsuoka, he developed tuberculosis and struggled with the disease through his 30s. When he was 42 years old, “Europe” (1951), presented at the 7th Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, attracted great attention. In 1958, his eldest daughter, Yoko, married a writer, Yukio Mishima. From around 1970, when Mishima committed suicide, Sugiyama started to draw a series of (five) pictures of naked women under the theme of a hymn to life, and received the Order of Cultural Merit in 1974. However, following this period, he retired from public life and stopped sending his drawings to public exhibitions. From around 1980, he drew a series of fantastic pictures with serenity set in Cappadocia, which give the impression that time had stopped in them. In 1993, Sugiyama died on the morning of his 84th birthday. There is no recorded evidence suggesting that Sugiyama had psychological problems or consulted a psychiatrist. However, according to Satoshi Katoʼs view of his personality, Sugiyama might have had schizophrenia spectrum disorder, since he pursued eternity; refused to pander to secularity; was a night person; longed for aridity; and was hypersensitive to light. His life was full of ups and downs; Sugiyama had been through the deaths of his biological father in early childhood and Eikyu Matsuoka - his mentor father-figure, a twelve-year battle with tuberculosis, and the suicide of Yukio Mishima, his son-in-law. Although he was at the height of his prosperity as a winner of the Order of Cultural Merit at one stage in his life, he did not cling to that worldly success. He withdrew from secular society, and continued exploring powerful and dynamic expressions to search for eternity. As he had a schizotypal personality and hoped to withdraw from the world, Sugiyama did not think twice before secluding himself to live in quiet retirement. This eventually helped him maintain both his mental stability and physical health, and he was able to live long, devoting himself to his creative activities.