There is a saying that is still fascinating to this day: “Some people are dead at the age of 25, and they are buried at the age of 75.” These long years are the spiritual lives of how many people die. Floating lives are like dreams, those dreammakers will live beyond the capacity of others for a few lifetimes.
In Japan, there is a legendary old man-Tsuneko Sasamoto.
In 2016, at the age of 102, she won the Lucy Award “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The Lucy Award is hailed as the Oscar of the photography industry and the most important photography award in the world. With his outstanding expressiveness in photography and his persistent pursuit of two centuries, Tsuneko Sasamoto turned the “Lifetime Achievement Award” into a commendation for his spirit.
In many cases, our fear of age does not actually lie in the senescence brought about by age, but lies in the fact that as we age, we still get nothing.
Talking about the years, how can you be proud of life? And Hengzi’s life is worthy of smiling.
Sasamoto Tsuneko was born in 1914. In Japan at that time, the status of women was extremely low, and the fate of women seemed to be doomed from the moment they were born.
In the age when the girl was ready to marry after graduating from school, and then she would teach her son, Yishi IKEA, the “restless” heart of Hengzi was “whisper”. She is eager to show her love for the great world in the palace of art and literature, and she is eager to pursue the freedom she yearns for under the sunny sky. In the blueprint of her life, becoming a painter, novelist or reporter is her goal, but a good wife and a good mother are not. Therefore, Hengzi escaped from the boring class and dropped out to learn the art he loved.
Because of her success, she joined the Tokyo Daily News and was responsible for painting on the social page. One day, a friend asked her: “There are very few photographers in Japan who can report on news, and there are no female news photographers. Would you like to become the first female photographer?”
So, she was born to like to try new things, germinated the idea of ”then I’ll try it”, and she started her photography career.
In that era of conservative folkways and a lot of restrictions on women, it is no easy task for women to enter the workplace like men. However, Tsuneko has never wavered her beliefs. It is precisely because of her persistence that she has left extremely precious video materials for Japan. Tsuneko has not only become Japan’s first female photojournalist, but also won widespread respect and recognition from her peers with her perseverance and outstanding standards. Her works truly present major events in Japan since the 1940s: the Pacific War, the Tokyo Olympics, the economic bubble, and the “March 11 earthquake”. With her shutter, she witnessed the history of Japan for nearly a century.
Sasamoto Tsuneko, taken in 1940
At work, Hengzi met many colleagues in the photography industry, including his own husband. Because of similar interests, when they were 28, they joined hands in the marriage hall. But after they got married, because they were busy with different news specials, they had no time to look after them, so Lao Yan finally separated.
Hengzi, who is back to single, cleans up his mood as quickly as possible and devotes himself to work again. In the field she loves, she is increasingly handy and influential. But nearly half a hundred years old, her career suffered heavy losses-many magazines closed down one after another, and she could no longer support herself by relying on photography alone. Hengzi had to make another living and put down the camera that had accompanied him for decades.
The 49-year-old single woman has lost the financial security that she depends on for survival. For most people, this is a heavy blow, but she said: “It’s not a big deal.”
Hengzi used the tailoring skills and clothing design knowledge he learned as a student to open a clothing design shop, which specializes in tailor-made clothes for customers.
Because of his extraordinary insights into aesthetics and fashion, the business of Hengzi Clothing Store is getting better and better. In her view, “Fashion is not accumulated by money, but created by the mind. You can enjoy happiness without spending a lot of money. This is the real luxury.” Her clothes are all designed and tailored by herself. Although there is no gorgeous dress, she is elegant and decent. At the age of 100, she also won the “Best Dressed Award” in Japan, setting a record for the oldest winner in history.
Hengzi witnessed the great changes in society and the development of the times with the lens
In her, you can’t see the old age or the drowsiness. Although she is more qualified than anyone to say “I’m old”, the eternal youth mentality has greatly delayed the intrusion of the years.
In addition to devoting herself to fashion design, at the age of 52, she began to take the “Flower Modeling Design” course. Because she was over half a hundred years old and started from an unfamiliar field, she had to spend several times more time than others. A year later, she wrote and published the book “Flower Design Classroom”, and even served as a teacher in this field, and she also took care of jewelry design and other businesses for ten years.
She is full of strong curiosity about many things. When the gate of love is activated, her heart seems to be plugged in light wings, dancing and flying freely.
“Even if someone asks about my age, I still answer, I am not old!” She did not deceive herself and deliberately ignore the existence of age, but when she was completely immersed in everything she loves, the barrier of age was It’s useless.
In 1985, Hengzi’s second husband died of cancer, and she was 71 years old. This is the age at which many people can take care of their lives and spend the rest of their lives in peace, but in her opinion, she is just moving toward middle age, or even a young man. She hopes to regain what she used to dream of. In an interview, Hengzi expressed his feelings about returning to photography at the age of 71: “What do I have to learn and what work I have to do has nothing to do with my age? I only regained my photography job at 71, and no one questioned my age. ! I don’t like thinking about’how old am I, and then go ahead.’
She hasn’t touched the camera in 20 years. When she picked it up again, it was like reunion with her old friends, and her heart was filled with joy of loss and recovery again. It took her 6 years to travel all over Japan alone, interviewing nearly 100 Meiji women in Japan, and holding a photography exhibition “Hengko’s Showa Era”, presenting many rare old-time scenes and female characters who were once brilliant. . She also received a lot of media attention and caused a national sensation.
After the death of her second husband, Hengzi has been living alone. She was busy with interviews, photography and film exhibitions, feeling that love has gone away from her. But you never know when the surprise will come.
In 2000, when she was 86 years old, she met the French sculptor Charles unexpectedly while traveling to the south of France. Two people who love to laugh are both full of infinite enthusiasm for life, and they talk very happily. “Love is a heart meeting another heart, not a face meeting another face.” Hengzi said. Then the two exchanged letters and began to communicate.
Ten years later, the 96-year-old Hengko confessed affectionately in the Christmas card sent to Charles: “I LOVE YOU.” But for good luck, Charles died unfortunately in January of the following year. The confession letter Hengzi wrote to him, no Know if he received it. However, when she brought up a pen to communicate with him tacitly, when she looked through the autumn water again and again and waited for his distant letters to arrive, she had gained great happiness from it.
What is the most afraid of elderly people living alone? In addition to the endless loneliness, there are sudden illnesses and accidental injuries. At the age of 97, Hengzi fell in his home and instantly lost consciousness. Because no one was around, she just lay on the cold ground for 22 hours. Fortunately, Hengzi was eventually rescued. After being found and sent to a doctor, she was diagnosed with fractures of her femur and left wrist. She couldn’t do anything, but “I still have a lot of things I want to do.” Relying on this belief that “you can’t die, you must live”, Hengzi is actively working on rehabilitation. The doctors were amazed: “I first met a 97-year-old man who is so serious about rehabilitation.”
In rehabilitation, although she wears simple clothing that is easy to move around, she never ceases to pursue beauty. In the ward and the treatment center, she became the most eye-catching patient: with bright nail polish and a beautiful shawl, every move, without the patient’s depression.
Hengzi, who has always decided not to live in a nursing home, and even remodeled his own home, was finally admitted to a nursing home due to the fracture incident. In her own room in the nursing home, she is decorated with her favorite Van Gogh’s “Sunflower”, expressing her passion for life as always. There was a wine cabinet in the corner. She bought her favorite wines, arranged them carefully, and when she became interested, she would drink lightly to a little drunk.
Hengzi mentioned a poem written by Shito Saito, a poet she filmed: “Old is also old and the charm is still there. The people of Sri Lanka are gone, the flowers bloom and end, and the hand leaves the fragrance.” In her eyes, Every day it blooms like a rose, it will not become dead wood, but will become the same beautiful dried flower.
Because of the accidental fall, during the hospitalization, she also wrote an autobiography “Curious Girl, 97 Years Old”. After the book was published, it caused a huge response, and the optimistic and open-minded Hengzi became the target of media interviews. In the diary that has continued to write for more than 30 years, she wrote: “Don’t forget to explore the heart and be interested in things. Always do what you like, then you can always stay full of vitality.” Her book, Basically, I will not describe in detail those hard, hard, and unsustainable days. It’s bitter, just taste it yourself. What she hopes to present to the world is that little bit of precious sweetness.
She once said: “I worked at 71, fell in love at 86, and won at 102. I have no time to die. If you keep thinking: I’m at this age, can I still do this? Then your life is over. Age is not terrible, but the terrible thing is not having the courage to start again.” Today, Hengzi is still chasing his dreams, vowing to “photograph the day when the heartbeat stops”!