The artist Hyōgo Mino started to work on the “Lucky cat”, the 19th room in the series, on 21th October, 2015, continued the work for about one month while he stayed in the hotel, and completed it on 21th November, 2015.
The theme of this room is Lucky Cat, and Japanese famous author Soseki Natsume is the key player behind theme. The walls acting as the bedside screen feature mysterious Lucky Cat. Among them, Mino has also added beckoning demons and mythical monster cats as a modern motif. Between the Lucky Cats gathering around the bed, a poem about cats by Soseki Natsume can be seen. On the ceiling, Mino has written a message dedicated to Kone, his own departed feline companion for 13 years, borrowing from Soseki Natsume’s first novel “I am a cat”. Mino has arranged the final scene, and then to return to the beginning of the novel in his message. On the opposite wall is a picture of an auspicious symbol of good fortune, carefully painted as though it were hung there. The tattoo-patterned cat, seen from behind, give a tasteful impression.
Mino’s paintings and words are unique, somehow familiar and humorous. When night falls, it almost feels as though there are more Lucky Cat outside the window. It feels just like being in Soseki Natsume’s story, letting guests enjoy a sensation as if humans and Lucky Cat having switched places in this room. We are proud to offer our guests from around the world the opportunity to experience this unique and different feeling in the Artist Room Lucky Cat.
Room #3117 | Completion Date: November 2015
Inviting a wonderful, pacific experience
The lucky cat (“manekineko”) is said to be “a cat which brings good fortune”. But what attracts me is the cat’s pose itself. Here, I painted cats like unidentified manekineko clustered together on the wall around the bed, with their whiskers and eyebrows shaved off, like a “bedside screen”. One is a spectre of a “feline monster”. The main character, which is hidden, is Soseki Natsume, and the title of this painting: “I Am a Lucky Cat”, is a pun on his novel “I Am a Cat”. I painted extracts from the end of the novel back to the beginning right up to the ceiling. I think the meaning of this novel is: “The endless cycle of life and death”. It is one of the great literary works of which Japanese people should be proud. But here, rather than Soseki’s cat, I decided to say a monologue about my pet cat (Kone）who passed away in 2014. I also inserted some “haiku” phrases written by Soseki about his cat. Above the TV, in the same auspicious black frame, I painted a crowd of cats showing their backs as if they had tattoos modeled after Kuniyoshi’s “A Set of Goldfish”, inviting good fortune. Look out together with the cats reflected in the red circular frame mirror. And when night falls, I hope you feel something special about the colors of the curtains and the bedcloth, and the cats reflected in the window.
Born in Beppu-shi, Oita in 1953.
Graduated from Rikkyo University Economics Department.
After retiring from a publishing company, he studied under the artist Kei Hiraga. In his 30’s, he frequented the Asakusa Mokuba-Kan Theater .
While selling round rice crackers and peanuts, he painted auspicious theater billboards featuring a lucky doll, beckoning cat and good luck character symbols, but then turned his attention to popular art.
Later, he went on to paint “tableaux vivants” of people in the near future (human magic), and an Asakusa version of the famous “Views in and Around the City of Kyoto”, which he named “Landscape of Asakusa People”.
Then, taking the name “Fine Arts Traveler”, he wandered the length and breadth of Japan together with other painters doing artistic activities.
From his 50’s, he began to paint Japanese “supernatural creatures”.
He is the author of the books “Asakusa Mokuba-Kan Theater Diary” (Chikuma Shobo), and “Getaway Diary” (Yubun Shoin).
At present, he lives alone with two pet cats in a town alongside the Bungo-Suido ocean straits which separate Kyushu from Shikoku.
He is now planning a painting of supernatural hot spring creatures on the theme of “Beppu”, where he was born.