Statues of Yokohama 01: Bashamichi Conversation

Statues of Yokohama 01: Bashamichi Conversation

Yokohama is home to many famous tourist sights. Among them, China Town, Minato Mirai 21, Motomachi, Yamashita Park, and the historic Yamate Bluff quickly come to mind for day trippers as destinations to enjoy and explore. Other more challenging Yokohama locations appeal to hikers and cyclists. Yokohama’s museums featuring art exhibitions of world-renowned artists and sculptors regularly attract long lines of artistically inclined visitors. But the most overlooked of Yokohama’s attractions, in my opinion, are the sculptures in public spaces.  Go to the Bashamichi district and you will discover Nike and Nicole sculpted by Kyoko Asakura (1925-2016).

Nike and Nicole chatting under the August sun

I came across the bronze sculptures on one of my outings with a friend. He was leading me to the Italian specialty store Il Calice, where he wanted to buy sausages and cheeses. On the way, I caught sight of two women deep in conversation standing across the street from the shop. A week later, I returned to Bashamichi with my camera. Sure enough, the two women were still standing and talking. So engrossed were they that they remained oblivious to my intrusive camera work.

They were motionless and mute, but the longer I looked at them the stronger my impression grew. There was a life force trapped inside them! A tingling sensation shot down my spine as the two women took on dynamic qualities.

Nicole appeared tense with her hands shoved into her pockets. Annoyed, perhaps about something Nike might have said. Or was it a look of concern? Her body language gave the impression of a person confident in herself and in control of any situation she found herself in. She was looking at Nike as if to say, “Well, I’m waiting.” Waiting? For what? An answer to her question? Or for Nike to go on with an interesting bit of gossip?

Nike gazed with intense eyes at Nicole, a cold expression on her face. Or was I projecting the feelings I experienced after an argument with a civil servant at the ward office the day before. Nike might have simply been talking about a problem in the family or a breakup with a significant other. Or perhaps about something mundane as the rise in the cost of living.

But why was she holding her arm in a firm grip?




Other people restrain their imaginations from running unleashed as I do. They quietly admire Kyoko Asakura’s work. The smoothness of the skin, the detailed wrinkles in the clothes, the facial expressions, the attitudes they communicate through their body language, and the way the sculptures capture the light.

Ah, but there are more sculptures hidden away in Yokohama’s public spaces. But I will definitely return for visits with Nike and Nicole.


You can find more examples of Kyouko Asakura’s sculptures at



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