In October of 2001, Take was found and rescued 48 hours after suddenly collapsing due to a cerebral infraction, which left him with several serious aftereffects? apashia (loss of words), a speech impediment, auditory difficulties, and paralysis of his right arm.
Until October, 2001, Take had played guitar and performed vocals for a local Kyoto band, “TAKE&KAME”. The band had regular live performances and CD sales were also doing well at the time. So it was as if for Take the illness took away the most important things he had, the very things that made him “TAKE”: ears to listen to music; a voice to sing songs; a right hand to play the guitar; and the words to use in writing poetry.
Repeatedly gripped with a sense of hopelessness, he often thought, “I would be better off dead.”
Take, however, tried to practice a passage from Uchugaku (the cosmology) “we should accept in gratefulness what is given to us” that is religious faith he had previously known, and kept thinking “thank you” for these disabilities.
He said “I really forced myself to be grateful for them.”
Then one day about two months after he suddenly collapsed, he found that he could paint pictures with using his remaining left hand.
This is the birth of an artist “Take” expressing himself through pictures and poems.
Little by little, sales from Take’s street events in downtown Kyoto began to pick up, and before long his works caught the eyes of professionals
Starting with sales at Japanese most famous department stores, the Takashimaya Kyoto branch store, and the Takashimaya Osaka branch store, Take began receiving media coverage in newspapers and magazines, on television, and in other forms, one after another. In June, 2003, he made an appearance on a Japanese nationwide broadcast program, Fuji TV’s “Kisekitaiken!(Miracle Experience) Unbelievable”, and in October of the same year published a book, “Hokkori Ikiyou(Live easily)”, with Asukashinsha, earning him new fans who found a kind of resonance with Take’s way of life.
At present, Take is involved with local street showings in Kyoto, one-man shows all around Japan, free “silent” discourses (making adequate usage of slides) at elementary and junior-high schools, company advertisements, serialized writings in magazines and so forth with his willingness to convey “a power of arigatou (thank you)”. These activities have and continue to help raise Take above the realm of “the best selling silent sidewalk artist in Japan”, and thrust him into a much larger world.
Translated by Jonathan Lawless