- Category: Indoors
When I went to Kaizuka, Japan in 1977, to install Friendship's Tie, Yoshio Nakanishi was the contractor for the installation of my sculpture.
After installing Friendship's Tie in Japan, the following year, Yoshio Nakanishi came with a large contingent of Japanese from Kaizuka. I created Yoshio's portrait in 1978 as he came to visit his sister city, Culver City in California.
Mr. Nakanishi had fought in WWII. He told me, "If I had known how wonderful Americans were, I never would have gone to war."
The negotiations for his portrait were mind-boggling. We needed an interpreter as he spoke no English, and I no Japanese. He requested that we, including my husband, go up to his hotel room to complete the negotiations. There was no paper in the room, so we used a paper bag to write the contract. When the price to be cast as a bronze sculpture was agreed upon, Mr. Nakanishi walked to the corner of his room, turned his back on us and dropped his pants. We were momentarily shocked.
Mr. Nakanishi was wearing long johns and a huge money belt. My husband and I stifled our laughter. He peeled off $100 bills from his money belt, lifted his pants up, and returned to our negotiations.
He told me at the end of our negotiations, "I am a very homely man, can you make me look better?"
I replied, "I will do my best."
It probably was the most memorable business transaction that I have ever been a part of. I still smile today when I think of the occasion.
When he came to pose for the sculpture, he left his street shoes outside the front door, and put on slippers. The interpreter was not there to help us. Well, when lunchtime came, I took him in my car to a Japanese restaurant, where the sushi bar workers could speak both Japanese and English. We finally were able to have a conversation with the assistance of the workers. Mr. Nakanishi bragged to them that he was the richest man in Kaizuka. He had the only construction company in the city of 45,000 people.