- 14 Mar 2002
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Even if you are not an Apple user/fan, you will find this story interesting. Steve Job's was a big fan of Japanese culture: Zen Buddhism, Japanese cuisine and shin-hanga (新版画), "new woodblock prints" from the early twentieth century. He was particularly fond of the artist Hasui Kawase (川瀬巴水, 1883-1957) whose works he started to collect in 1983. When Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh computer to the media in January 1984, the screen displayed an image of a woodblock print: “A Woman Combing Her Hair”, by Goyō Hashiguchi (橋口五葉, 1880-1921).
In March 1983, three young men visited a well-known gallery in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district. They wore jeans and t-shirts. One of them was Steve Jobs, the 28-year-old chairman of Apple. The other two were co-founder Steve Wozniak and Rod Holt, a colleague. Matsuoka Haruo welcomed them in English. He had learned the language while working for the gallery’s San Francisco branch from 1969 to 1975. “I had no idea who they were,” Matsuoka says. “But when I got home, I happened to see an article in the newspaper about Jobs. That’s when I realized who had been in the gallery.”
From Macintosh computers to iPhones, Steve Jobs was the architect of countless era-defining tech innovations. But the Apple founder was also known for his passion for Japanese culture. He often spoke about how he took inspiration from Zen Buddhism and his love of Japanese cuisine.