Mukul Dey's Letter from Sankeien

— Mukul Dey

Facsimile of Mukul Dey’s letter
Photo: Mukul Dey Archives
English Translation and Facsimile

Yokohama
19.6.1916

Dear Father,

Couple of days ago we came here from Tokyo. Gurudev and the others have arrived as well. We are staying with a very famous Japanese millionaire here.

The sea (Pacific Ocean) is just in front of this house. Across the sea is America. Steep and big cliffs rise from the shoreline. These are thickly covered with pine trees. On top of such a cliff, amid the rows of pine trees, is the palatial complex where we are staying. These houses are made of log and of Japanese architecture. However, there are Chinese rooms and houses in this very complex as well.

Astonishingly tidy and well kept. A little to the side of this house there is a terrace  where one can take a stroll. At the edge of the roof are rows of pine trees. During dawn and dusk we stroll on this terrace.

One can see Mt. Fuji from this place. Mt. Fuji is a landmark of Japan. The sunsets are beautiful these days. I have never seen such beautiful sunsets in my life; the sky gets drenched in a dripping golden glow. And from the east comes Lady Dusk with a thin blue veil pulled over her face.

We are living royally with Gurudev. Lots of servants and maids around. All of them eager to serve us. This wealthy man, Mr. Hara, with whom we are staying, is a superb host. He is full of kindness. The common man can visit his garden at their will and organize picnics here. For them Mr. Hara provides firewood, good stoves and water. In his garden there are places where people can sit down and rest…many teahouses and temples, all are here.

This Mr. Hara lets his money flow for the sake of his country’s art. All the great artists of Japan… Mr. Taikan, Mr. Shimomura Kanzan receive generous patronage from him. They receive unstinted support from him in exchange of their paintings. Mr. Hara has a great passion for art.

Presently, Mr. Hara and his family are living in a thatched house on the bank of a large lotus pond, at the foot of the hill. And he has given us this palace-like house to stay. He had allotted me a separate room to do my paintings, and provided me with all the necessary art materials. He is a wonderfully marvelous man.

Probably, I would be accompanying Gurudev to America. A berth has been reserved for me already. Mr. Andrews will go back to India.
While in Tokyo I was taking lessons from Mr. Taikan. A little distance from this house, in the city of Yokohama, lives Mr. Shimomura. I would be taking lessons from him at his place. Gurudev is very busy writing lectures; he would be getting a lot of money in America. All of us are keeping very well.

The Japanese people use this paper to write letters. And the brush I am writing with is their pen. From their childhood they handle this brush, no wonder they paint so well. Whereas, we spend years just to tame the brush alone.

My respect to you all.
My respect to other elders as well.

Yours obediently,
Mukul Dey

P.S.: I hope you would keep these letters. They would be useful in future.

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