Picture of My Life Essay #2 My Parents by Junpei Ueda

Reminders Photography Stronghold Gallery will be celebrating its 4th year anniversary. We will be proudly organizing Junpei Ueda’s solo show in upcoming November. He is one of the 2015 Photobook As Object workshop participants and he has been working on his book project “Picture of My Life” almost a year and finally it’ll be launched at the exhibition. Prior to the show, Junpei is sharing a series of his essay, #2 is about his parents.


My father was born in Osaka in 1947 as the youngest of three. He had a brother who was 7 years older and a sister who was 3 years older. I heard that he liked making things since he was small. I saw a photo of my father in an old family album, taken when he was an elementary school student. He had on a uniform with short trousers and was sitting on a tatami-mat. He had a book in his hand and was smiling shyly. My mother was born in 1949 in Oeyama, Kyoto. She was the youngest of five children, and had 3 older brothers and an older sister. Having grown up in a good family environment, she was easygoing and always smiling.

When I was an elementary school student, I asked how they had met each other. “I was a clerk at a train station kiosk. Your father delivered newspapers. I didn’t think anything of him at first but he hung around for no reason. Papa fell in love with me first,” my mother recalled. As she was telling the story, she looked happy and it gave me a warm feeling. I remember and treasure this memory. I guess to her my father looked like a prince in shining armor.

My parents were married in 1973. My father was 27, my mother 23. She was pregnant with my older brother. After the wedding, they lived in an apartment in Senriyama before moving into a new apartment in Suita. I remember running around with my brother in a large park nearby. When I entered elementary school, the four of us moved into my paternal grandfather’s large house and lived with my grandparents.

After getting married, my father gave up his dream of becoming a professional painter and started working for my grandfather’s transport company. He worked all hours, day and night. He worked as a sales representative during the day and drove cargo trucks late at nights; he would only be home in the evenings. When I was young, he always looked tired and seemed unapproachable. I loved my father the most when he was painting and when he was with my mother.

After moving into the big house, my mother kept herself busy with friends and had many hobbies; table tennis, cooking and flower arrangement classes. As innocent as a princess, she was always lively and happy. I guess my father found the joy of living in her smile.

My parents often showed me, an adolescent at that time, how happy they were together. Once, we were drinking coffee in the living room and my father said lovingly, “Your mother is the most beautiful lady in the world.” She laughed and replied, “I’m a bombshell!” Seeing them have such a close relationship, I felt at peace. I thought that I would be happily married like they were one day.

—- To be continued to #3.

English translation: Miyuki Okuyama
English proofreading: Tan Lee Kuen

Essay archives:
Picture of My Life Essay #1 My Father’s Paintings by Junpei Ueda

His exhibition forthcoming November 3rd to 27th.
Picture of My Life has been all pre-ordered.