Statues of Yokohama 03: Vignettes in Tammachi Park

Statues of Yokohama 03: Vignettes in Tammachi Park

Tammachi Park is a brisk fifteen-minute walk from my apartment in Yokohama. I often walk through it on my way to a supermarket. Once in a while, I sit on a park bench and read. When I grow weary of reading, I observe vignettes of life unfolding in front of me. A mother watching her toddler playing in the sandbox. A brash young kid practicing kickflips on his skateboard. An aging saxophonist wearing a New York Yankees black baseball cap playing a melodic jazz tune. Trains clickety-clacking on nearby tracks to and from Yokohama Station drown out the tune.

Like life itself, the vignettes change, and new casts of characters assume familiar roles. Unfailingly, only three vignettes remain constant, and the characters never change.

I know for certain Nobumichi Inoue (1909-2008) sculpted Abundant and Sunshine; his name was etched on the plaques under the titles.  The sculpture I called Exuberant had no sculptor’s name or sculpture title. Were you the sculptor of this delightful young woman, Inoue-san?

Exuberant

The delightful young woman stands near the Park Entrance closest to the Bank of Yokohama Ice Arena. Did I write ‘young’? According to the inscribed tablet on the pedestal, she was unveiled in 1970 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Kanagawa Rotary Club. She is nearly as old as I am. Her pose indicates a person with high self-esteem. She appears self-assured and, of course, uninhibited. The facial expression reveals a person who takes life seriously but also makes friends easily. I might go as far as saying the expression also contains traces of coquettishness.

As I walked around her, I got the distinct impression she was flirting with me. Perhaps I was letting my creaking old libido take control of me. Who was it who said about old men, “The libido is willing, but the flesh is incapable of rising to the occasion.”?

When I regained my composure, I saw her as a person who would happily jump down from her pedestal. She’d just as soon sit on a park bench with a friend eating lunch and exchanging local gossip.

穣 Abundant

Half hidden by a clump of trees in another part of the park stands a not particularly easy-on-the-eye sculpture. Judging from outward appearances, she looks overbearing, unfriendly, and hard to get along with. But I believe Inoue-san wanted people to judge her with deeper insights into her character. He titled the work  (穣) (Yutaka) Abundant.

The word Yutaka, as I discovered after scouring the dictionaries, indicates the many positive characteristics contained within the heart of the corpulent bronze figure with the dour facial expression. The first meaning given is abundant, as in an abundant rice crop, or rich harvest.

And because of the rich harvest, she can be generous and loving to those she meets. Inoue-san, in my opinion, was reminding us not to judge people solely by outward appearances.

陽 Sunshine

This sculpture sits soaking up the sunshine nearby. No wonder Inoue-san gave her the title of Sunshine.  She is located near a tree-studded incline where she can watch people pass by. Few people stop to admire the sculpted woman leaning back to expose more of her body to the warmth of the sun’s rays.

I’ve walked by and around this sculpture many times. One day I came to the park with my video camera.  I made Sunshine the leading character in the introduction.  Take a look and enjoy.

The only resource material I could find about Nobumichi Inoue was this website: https://inventory.yokohama.art.museum/?at=s/search&s_name=INOUE%2C+Nobumichi

Check out earlier editions of Statues of Yokohama

Statues of Yokohama 02: Mother and Child of the Sun

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