Daishowa Clan Leader Saito

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
FAX: 403-629-3939

Mailing address:
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
FAX: 403-437-0719

August 11, 1991

Enclosed for your information is a copy of a magazine article on the ruling patriarch of the Daishowa clan.

One's reminded of the rulers of ancient societies who took wives, servants and other possessions with them when they died.

The challenge is to see if it's possible to make such creatures at all responsive to the needs and concerns of mere mortals.

re-printed without permission from NEWSWEEK Magazine, May 27, 1991


The French don't have the world's greatest sense of humor. Certainly no one was laughing last week after Japanese industrialist Ryoei Saito suggested his plans for the two most famous paintings in his vast collection: van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" and Renoir's "Le Moulin de la Galette," which cost him a total of $160.6 million just last year. "Put those paintings in my coffin, to be cremated with me," said Saito.

He might as well have proposed turning the Tour d'Argent into a sushi bar. The staid daily Le Figaro splashed SCANDAL across its front page. The director of French museums huffed that "even the most pharaohesque of pharaohs took care of the art works that were buried with them." More explicit Japan-bashing came from the Tribune de Geneve, a Swiss daily: "Masterpieces in Peril -- the Yellow Peril," ran the caption below its cartoon of a bucktoothed Asian man tossing paintings into an open coffin.

Saito, 75, the honorary chairman of Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co., couldn't understand all the ruckus. "What I really wanted to (express)," he said, "was my wish to preserve the paintings forever." Saito, his aides explained, was using a figure of speech: threatening to torch the oils was just an expression of intense affection for the masterpieces. Later, Saito said he would consider giving the paintings to his government or a museum.