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"Sosaku Ryori Sesami" A delightful dining space amidst contemporary art in a quiet area in Osaka

Updated: Feb 8

“Sesami” is a well-known restaurant in Osaka run by art collector Wada Taizo. The restaurant also serves as a private art museum that collects mainly contemporary art, making it a must for art lovers. In principle, only one customer per day is allowed. Wonder what kind of dining space you will find here.

Vestibule of "Sesami" where three-dimensional works were exhibited.



A restaurant like a hideaway in a residential area

Located in a residential area about a 5-minute walk from JR Tsukamoto Station, near Umeda, "Sosaku Ryori Sesami" is like a hideout. You would never expect to find a restaurant where you can dine surrounded by contemporary art in a place like this. In the front yard of the building, works by SHINGU Susumu and UEMATSU Keiji are displayed like public art.Thinking that this might be the place, as you approach the building, you will see a small sign that reads “Sesami".




The name of the restaurant is a combination of the Noh play "Zeami" and the sesame seed "Sesame".

The name " Sesami" is a combination of the Noh play "Zeami" and the sesame seed "Sesame". The owner, WADA Taizo, worked for his family's business, "Wadaman", which trades in sesame seeds in Tenma, Osaka. During his time as a businessperson, he traveled around the world, including Turkey and South America, in search of places to grow golden sesame seeds.。After retiring at the age of 60, I decided to start a new life, and in 2008, I started " Sesami".

Designed by architect SAKAMOTO Akira, the white cube-like building is named after Zeami, with a long corridor resembling a bridge that leads to a Noh stage, and was designed with the image of transporting guests to an ethereal culinary stage. At first, Mr. Wada was just an ordinary art fan who liked Picasso and Dali, and he had no intention of turning the building into a museum of contemporary art.




Became a collector of contemporary art in earnest from the works of KATO Izumi.

Owner WADA Taizo is known as an art collector.

「I thought of art as painting, so I only had a few oil paintings on display in my store. Then, around 2010, I came across a three-dimensional work by KATO Izumi, whose name was just beginning to appear in the market, and when I placed it in this empty space, I thought, "Wow, this is interesting. That is when I became fascinated with contemporary art and started collecting it in earnest.」

Mr. Wada placed his favorite works of art and created a space where contemporary art and cuisine are fused together, calling it the " Sesami Art Museum. In fact, before working at Wadaman, he had a career as a full-time employee at Nikkatsu, a movie company, shooting posters and promoting movies. Perhaps he was a master at creating images and spaces.




The concept of the collection is eros and humor

Exhibition room on the second floor. Works by NAWA Kohei, SHIOTA Chiharu, MURAKAMI Takashi, and others are lined up.

The collection includes works by well-known artists such as KUSAMA Yayoi, MURAKAMI Takashi, MORIMURA Yasumasa, AIDA Makoto, NAWA Kohei, and Banksy, to name just a few, as well as works by young artists that were discovered at a graduation exhibition at an art college. The power of the artwork on display in this exhibition alone is dizzying, with nearly 200 to 300 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and other artworks on display in the main dining room on the first floor, the exhibition floor on the second floor, and in the garden. The exhibits are changed every six months.


When asked about the characteristics of Sesami's collection, he replied, "There are many three-dimensional works, 'kinetic art' that incorporates movement, and 'art brut' works created by people who are not educated in the field of art. Whether the concept is three-dimensional or two-dimensional, we collect works with a sense of eroticism and humor. There are also many works of buttocks (laughs). Even if we had a Renoir in our house, people would just say, "Very well." and that will be the end of it," he says with a sense of humor himself.

He sometimes lends works from the Sesami collection to exhibitions at the request of museums and artists.


On the wall, a piece of Mr. Wada dressed as Vermeer's "Woman Pouring Milk" as planned by MORIMURA Yasumasa. In the foreground are a series of "kaleidoscopes" containing fragments of photographs of Cai Guo-Qiang's previous works.


"Untitled," by KATO Izumi, on display in the corridor, was exhibited at the Kirishima Art Forest in 2014.



The best part of being a collector is to see the artists you support grow into a world-class presence.

YONETANI Ken + Julia's "Dysbiotica" sits on the first floor.


One of Wada's current favorites is "Dysbiotica" by YONETANI Ken + Julia, an internationally active art unit working on social issues, which came to Sesami after being included in an exhibition at the Kadokawa Musashino Museum in 2020. The human figure, which appears to be covered in bleached coral, is both beautiful and disturbing. The artist's theme is environmental issues, but even without explanation, the beauty of the work is overwhelming. That is the power of art. I think it will be a big hit worldwide," he said enthusiastically.


Mr. Wada believes that the real thrill of being a collector is when the young artists you discover and support become recognized around the world. “For example, I have been collecting the works of NAWA Kohei and KATO Izumi since they were not so famous yet," he says. They analyzed the world and techniques of the previous generation, created their own works, succeeded, and now it is their time. That way, through the collection, we can experience the movement of the times, 50 years before and after."




Almost all of the tableware and cutlery are also from the artist. Three hours of contemporary art that will move your heart and stimulate your sixth sense.

Dining room with an array of contemporary art

The art space is not the only thing that will surprise you. Almost all of the tableware, glasses, and cutlery used for meals are from the artist, and each customer chooses one to match his or her individuality. The use of objects as chopstick rests and other heartbreaking touches are also a surprise. Even dishes that one might hesitate to touch, such as KUWATA Takuro's provocative tea bowls, are generously placed on the table.


「We have many contemporary ceramic works on display, but we use them all, not for decoration. I want this to be a moment that excites the guests from the moment they sit down at the table, a moment that stimulates all five senses plus one more sensitivity, the sixth. The world of tea ceremony, where people love complete beauty, does not suit my taste, but I think of this place as a tea room. When you look at contemporary art, what is this? What is so good about it? It is the spirit of tea to be moved by the questions that arise when looking at contemporary art. I think of myself as a modern-day tea master. I don't say "once-in-a-lifetime encounter" because that would be too easy (laughs).」

Mr. Wada describes Sezami's philosophy as such。


The tableware is different for each person and the use of objects is excellent.

Sake cups and glasses that are fun to look at


Famous artists often visit the restaurant. Some business people come from far away because they hear rumors.


At Sesami, Mr. and Mrs. Wada serve creative cuisine with a twist, and basically only one guest per day is allowed to make a reservation. Art lovers and well-known artists often visit Sesaya for dinner. More than 10 years after its opening, the restaurant is gradually gaining recognition, and nowadays, 40% of the visitors are moms and dads from the neighborhood, business people who have heard rumors and come to the restaurant, and others who were not so interested in art before.


「When people see MORIMURA Yasumasa's work as Marilyn Monroe, they sometimes ask me seriously, 'Is this MIWA Akihiro?' I answer jokingly, 'Yes, it is' (laughs). It's okay if you don't know anything about art. I am delighted when they say, 'It's fun to eat when you use objects in this way. I hope that businesspeople will come into contact with contemporary art and release their honest senses, which they suppress on a daily basis.」


For those who wish to "view art only," Sesami also offers tours during lunchtime café hours. Reservations are required and admission is 1,000 yen (with one drink). If you wish, Mr. Wada will guide you through the world of contemporary art.




Creative Cuisine Sesami

Address

1-3-28 Tsukamoto, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka City

Tel

06-6302-4856 (10:00-19:00)

Opening hours

Meals are served from 7:00 p.m. on weekdays (Monday through Friday) and from 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays; lunch time (from 1:00 p.m.) is also available for groups of 4 or more people. Those wishing to view the art are only allowed from 11:00 to 17:00. Reservations are required for both.

Admission

1,000 yen with one drink.

Closed

No regular holidays

Official Website


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