Takanori Herai

1980 Japan, Iwate Prefecture

For over 10 years Takanori Herai has been working on his drawn diary: mysterious geometric patterns fill both sides of the paper. Every day, he adds a new sheet.


Geometric patterns of obscure meaning fill sheets of paper, a bundle of nearly five hundred sheets loosely tied with a black string. According to the staff of the residential facility where Herai lives, “The patterns are actually words. This is his diary.” This diary is written on both sides of the paper, and aside from the dates and temperature, for each day, the content is exactly the same. The words are written according to his own rules with a rhythmical composition, and every day a new page is added to the bundle. Before the staff of the facility took notice, Herai had been engaged in this solitary mode of expression for more than 10 years, but his drawings were discarded.

Herai lives in a residential facility for people with intellectual disabilities. His work was included in the Art Brut du Japon exhibition(2008-2009) and is now in the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne.

© Portrait: Satoshi Takaishi & Nobuo Onishi