It was in March of 1999, at Go Mishima's exhibition at Gallery Naruyama, where I met Sadao Hasegawa for the first time.
He came with Mr. M, the first producer and distributor of gay porn in Japan, as well as an editor of Fuzoku Kitan—a magazine that embraced various fetishes, S&M, fake harakiri rituals, juvenile obsession and homosexuality, when these were not yet separated into more specialized magazines. Throughout his life Go Mishima only drew men. He was very close to Yukio Mishima. A drawing of a young man committing harakiri by Yukio Mishima was found among his things after his death. I had kept the piece for a while.
When I was in high school I used to hang out with Japanese surrealist painters much older than me. Sadao said he often saw me here and there.
I met him once again later, for just a brief 20 minutes.
One day in 2000, I received a call from a man by the name of Hasegawa from Shizuoka prefecture who asked me to talk in person. He turned out to be a brother of Sadao Hasegawa. He said Sadao passed away in Bangkok. The brothers reunited there for the first time in thirty-odd years.
Back from Bangkok with Sadao’s ashes, he told me, the family went to his place in Tokyo where they found many explicit paintings of men. Appalled, they quickly collected the paintings in garbage bags and brought them outside. Back in the place they found a note with a portrait of Yukio Mishima painted on a stone in a desk drawer. It stated: All my works belong to Gallery Naruyama. They rushed to the collection site and brought his works back.
Eight previously unseen paintings were found among his estate. Executed with delicate details, the works depict phallic worship. Most of them feature majestic men in divine, god-like costumes. I decided to exhibit them at the gallery.
Gallery Naruyama keeps hundreds of Sadao Hasegawa works ranging from the late 1970s to 1999.