FREDI FISCHLI and NIELS OLSEN You’ve said that your dreams are a significant source of inspiration for you. Have dreams been important to you since your childhood?
KEIICHI TANAAMI For the most part, I don’t remember my dreams from childhood. At a certain age, I began to keep records of my memories. The reality I experienced in my early childhood was overwhelming. Dead bodies lay in the streets, and just about everyone had an extreme case of dermatitis because of malnutrition.
FN You were nine years old during the bombing of Tokyo and when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. What kind of impact did the war have on your childhood?
KT I was very young and I didn’t fully comprehend the current situation. I did experience the Great Tokyo Air Raid, which happened before Hiroshima. Several hundred bomber planes clouded the sky above Tokyo en masse and bombed the city. The sky was completely covered by the planes. For as long as I live, I will never forget the dazzling memory of what I saw through the tank full of goldfish that my grandfather kept as a hobby. At the time, he was cultivating telescope eye, ranchu and other large goldfish. As I fled for the bomb shelter, that fish tank was above my head, and I remember the goldfish and the bombs being so bright. Incoming B-29s would drop flares that lit up the city, so the first thing I saw was that brilliant light. The diffused reflection of the light off the scales of the goldfish and the fish tank was beautiful. It wasn’t so much a frightening experience as it was a beautiful one.