Seki Masao(e)

The adorable wire works by Seki Masao

Shigatsu no Sakana antique shop





Seki Masao(d)

This is a roadside picture that any passerby would easily miss out — a little white bungalow with orange roof tiles that stands behind two trees that are just slightly taller than the roof. Without any fancy decorations, the bungalow exudes a rustic yet elegant charm. As the sunlight slowly fills the house, it extends the shadows of the various objects indoors and gives them all an entirely new look. This is probably the magic moment when the little white bungalow would shine and glow. To Seki Masao, who was born in Kurume city in Fukuoka Prefecture, this bungalow is not only the residence of him and his wife, but also the home to their Yoshii-based antique prop shop, which they name Shigatsu no Sakana (the April fishes).

Yoshii is a town in Ukiha District, Fukuoka Prefecture. Taking a stroll for around 10 minutes from the Chikugo-Yoshii Station, you will reach a cluster of white-walled warehouses that were built during the Edo period. These buildings are classified as Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings. The area is perfect for a walk and must appeal to travelers who are on the hunt for scenic spots.

The shop of Shigatsu no Sakana was formerly a dental clinic built in the year of Showa 30 (1955). The shop does not simply offer a great collection of old props and artistic works; Mrs. Masao makes wool handicrafts and other items reproduced from children scribbles, while Mr. Masao’s own wire works that are themed around daily objects such as caterpillar, duck or even street views. His creations portray a rare kind of pure beauty. Masao once said, “I rarely set a framework at the start of my creative process. I prefer to finetune on the go. This way opens up interesting discoveries and allows me to create works filled with leisure and childlike innocence.”

The beauty of antique shop lies in its lack of restraints and forms. Here in Shigatsu no Sakana, every object has its own place. The same goes for this quaint and tranquil little town, which quietly glows in a heartwarming light.

Seki Masao(a)

Image courtesy of Chikugo Tourist Information Center; toki no kumo