“Cool.” This is how most of the young generation rate his works. They sense something radical in the minute, photo-like expression. He has been creating works with the motif of a cabbage, the form of which reminds the viewer of a brain and the veins of the leaves resembling blood vessels, for around thirty years.


The cabbages in these works are unique. The cabbages which he at first drew in truly intricate detail in mezzotint (a copperplate engraving technique) were embedded with cords and mechanical parts, or box-shaped. Cabbages which do not exist in the natural world hover in a jet-black space. Around the age of seventy, he hurt his shoulder through overuse of his right arm for detailed drawing, and was forced to abandon mezzotints, which exacted a heavy burden. Ever since, he has expanded his means of expression to include other printmaking techniques, painting, and three-dimensional works, continuing to vigorously create and present ever more works.


In particular, this year, in which he turned ninety-five, he has been extremely active in a variety of forms, including a solo exhibition in Tokyo’s Aoyama, the submission of works to the Sapporo International Art Festival, the publication of a collection of his early copperplate engravings, and the opening of a solo exhibition in his local area, Fukuoka. Each of these has been showered with praise by young people.


However, he looks quizzically at this overly straightforward reaction. These irregularly shaped cabbages are imbued with misgivings about barging ahead in the pursuit of convenience and efficiency, the negative side of civilization. In the final stage of the war, he was resolved to death as a kamikaze pilot; in Hiroshima, he witnessed the horrors brought about by the culmination of civilization. He always continues to speculate about the crisis and insecurity of the endangering of human life by civilization. The cabbages which only he can create quietly appeal to the viewer, “Think!”


Hidesaburo Saito

Born in 1922 in Saito City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Graduated from the Fisheries Department, Agriculture Faculty, Kyushu University. Studied under Kenshi Ito, a member of the Nika Association. This fall, the “Hidesaburo Saito Exhibition” was held from November 13 to 26, in Art Space Baku, Tenjin, Fukuoka City.

Cooperation: Kurenai Yamada

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine

created by

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)