Although the city already restored its livelier beat, I was still in the mood of holiday after happy family reunion and wanted solitary walks and musings. I made my way to Ryotaro Shiba Memorial Museum.
Ryotaro Shiba (1923-1996) is one of the most prolific and popular journalists and novelists in Japan. He wrote novels, especially historical novels, essays, travelogues, and treatises on civilization. He loved history as he loved his parents. When asked what was history, he answered “It is a big world where some hundred millions of lives once existed are contained.” He had wonderful friends to interact with and still more friends in the history who had encouraged and inspired him. Learning history is like travelling through 2000 years beyond time and space.
Ryotaro Shiba Memorial Museum is in the residential area of eastern Osaka. It is composed of two parts: his former residence and a museum. Visitors enter the front gate of the house where Shiba lived till he passed away.
The carved letters on the nameplate is Shiba’s own handwriting. His real sir name is Fukuda.
|Sunroom and study where his many works were created: image via this website|
His study is preserved as it was when Shiba was alive. Visitors can see it through windowpanes.
Sunlight, shadows and wind play around glass arcade.
|From the opposite direction|
I love buildings designed by Ando. One of examples is Suntory Museum at Tempozan in Osaka Bay area. (It was closed at the end of the last year and was presented to Osaka City by Suntory.)
|Suntory Museum at Tempozan in Osaka Bay area; image via here|
According to wikipedia, “Tadao Ando's body of work is known for the creative use of natural light and for architectures that follow the natural forms of the landscape (rather than disturbing the landscape by making it conform to the constructed space of a building). The architect's buildings are often characterized by complex three-dimensional circulation paths. These paths interweave between interior and exterior spaces formed both inside large-scale geometric shapes and in the spaces between them.”
Well, let's get back to Ryotaro Shiba Memorial Museum. Due to “no photography” inside the building, the following three images are from the website. I suppose photography was not forbidden in the past.
|Giant bookshelf from this website|
|Shiba's glasses, fountain pens, colored pencils, his favorite accessories like colorful bandannas and the likes are also displayed on the slightly curving bookshelf; image via this website|
|Uncolored stained glass; image via this website|
|Uncolored stained glass seen from the outside|
I think museum is not just for a large scale of exhibition of world fine arts but rather is a space to muse, kind of a sanctuary, or a place of reflection free from everyday rush. This museum would be a place where people can sit, meditate, and feel inspired by the space created by the architect Ando and by the author Shiba who dug deep insight into what is "homeland" or Japan by treading the highways, listening to the wind, and encountering people, and who tried to seek for what is to be a human by researching both popular and unsung heroes in the critical historical period.
The scenery Shiba depicted in On the Highways (街道をゆく）with his interesting interpretation (in Japanese)