Masakatsu Tagami, a.k.a. TAGAMI, was born in 1944 as the youngest child to parents who were farmers, who already had four daughters, in Yamaguchi prefecture in the south of Japan. His father, who was delighted with the birth of his first son, went to a fortune teller to see what the future held for the child and was told that he will be a good for nothing. When he went to another fortune teller, he was also told the same thing. His parents had half given up on him and TAGAMI graduated from a university without having any interest, spending the next seven years reading books at home and not working.
When TAGAMI was 29, his mother, being concerned about how the society might regard her son, asked him to leave home and he started doing paper rounds in Tokyo. On his second day at work, he saw a notice advertising life drawing class at an art studio and so he wondered in. He found drawing interesting. This was the first time in his life that he found anything interesting. That evening, he rang his father and asked him, ‘I have finally found what I want to do with my life but I don’t think I will be able to make a living from it. Will you support me for the rest of my life?’. The father asked him, ‘What would you do when I die?’. He was pursuaded when TAGAMI answered, ‘I will die too’. From then on, he started drawing and painting all day, living on money sent by his father with his wife whom he met at the art studio. He has only ‘worked’ for two days of his life. ‘Images keep flowing, never drying up. It is as if I have turned on a tap to a huge dam’, he says. All the work is produced without any preparatory drawings or paintings.
He put on two solo exhibitions in the 1970s but they did not result in much interest, and since then, he has not organized exhibitions himself as he feels that such an activity is a waste of time.