Theo Jansen

Tomoto Shisuko’s Paradise
I Can’t Help But Paint:A Picture Diary of My Life

February 5(Sat.)-April 10(Sun.), 2022

Tomoto Shisuko was born in Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture, in 1913, and grew up in Uki City. Her adoptive father, Denpachi, named her Shisuko after his dream of go to San Francisco. Later, the family business took a turn for the worse and Shisuko dropped out of elementary school. After working from an early age, Shisuko got married at the age of 20 and got one son and one daughter. At the age of 46, her husband died. As she recovered from her days of mental and physical weakness, she became obsessed with painting, something she had longed to do since childhood.
One day, at the age of 53, Shisuko began to paint a large oil painting on canvas. Her paintings are full of the joy and dreams that arise within her, unrestrained by anything else. The subjects of her works are familiar flowers, animals and her childhood memories, and sometimes freely overcoming time and place. Throughout her life, Shisuko maintained her girlish innocence, and used her own joys and dreams as a source of her work. "I’m going to keep painting until I die" she said, continuing to hold her paintbrush until her death in 2005 at the age of 91.
Overcoming various hardships and with the support of her family, Shisuko spent her entire life painting, and each of her works can be said to be a picture diary of her own life. The exhibition hall, filled with over 200 works, is truly a Shisuko’s paradise. Please take this opportunity to enjoy the world that continues to shine even today.

Main exhibited works

  • Tomoto Shisuko The Beach in My Hometown 1992 Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto
  • Tomoto Shisuko Mia’s Wedding 1997
  • Tomoto Shisuko Athletic Meet in Onodachi 2001
  • Tomoto Shisuko Sakurajima 1970-1988
  • Tomoto Shisuko Cat 1996
  • Tomoto Shisuko Yamato Nishiki Goldfish Laying Eggs 1992
  • Tomoto Shisuko Umaire River 2001
  • Tomoto Shisuko Shisuko’s Moon 2004
  • Tomoto Shisuko
    Cherry Blossoms at the Mint Bureau 1987

Exhibition Information


February 5(Sat.)-April 10(Sun.), 2022


Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Gallery I and II

2-3 Kamitori-cho, Chuou-ku, Kumamoto city, 860-0845 Japan

TEL. +81-96-278-7500 FAX +81-96-359-7892



Opening Hours

10:00-20:00 (admission until 19:30)


¥1100 (¥900)
Seniors (65 and over):
¥900 (¥700)
Students (High school students and over):
¥600 (¥500)
Junior high school students and under:

*The admission given in parentheses are for advance tickets / group (20 or more) / with one-day ticket for tram or buss, etc.
*Advance tickets will be on sale until February 4(Fri.)

Ticket handling

Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Lawson Ticket [L Code: 82308], seven ticket [seven code: 092-351]


Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto (Kumamoto City and Kumamoto Art and Culture Promotion Foundation), Kumamoto Nichinichi Press and RKK(Kumamoto Broadcasting Co., Ltd.)


The Japan Association of Art Museums


Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefectural Board of Education, Kumamoto City Board of Education, Kumamoto Ken Bunka Kyokai (Cultural Association of Kumamoto), Kumamoto Ken Bijutsuka Renmei (Artist’s Union of Kumamoto), Kumamoto International Convention and Tourism Bureau, J:COM, FM-Kumamoto, FM791