Statues of Yokohama 05: Sculptures where you least expect them

Statues of Yokohama 05: Sculptures where you least expect them

Woman Among the Bushes

Sculptures in Yokohama often pop up in the least suspected places. I encountered one sculpture on a trip to the Yokohama Central Library a brisk five-minute walk from Hinodecho Station. Take a look at what greets me from behind the bushes as I climb the hill leading to the library building.

宿る Yadoru) by Harada Midori (1994)

宿る(Yadoru) has several meanings, as I discovered when looking the word up in the dictionary — among them were to dwell, to lodge at an inn, etc., and to be pregnant.  I discounted the third meaning. I didn’t think the young woman would announce her pregnancy among the bushes outside the library. But why would she take up residency outside the building? And then again, why would she want lodgings in the bushes?  But I was becoming too literal, too plebian. I should be viewing her in the spirit I imagined she was sculpted.  To show a person lodging in a building where knowledge and imagination run rampant in the pages of the books lining the shelves.  A place where the curious can fill their minds with creative ideas.

As you can see, her head is overflowing with adventure, drama, information, mystery, and romance. Where else but in a library can you satisfy your mind’s desire to break out of the confines of your body?

Girl Posing in the Train Station

Lonely Girl

How many times have I rushed past this little girl inside the Yokohama JR Station? And how often have I used her as a map pinpoint to meet friends? In all those times, rarely did I take more than a cursory look at the little girl maintaining the pose for the unseen sculptor Churyo Sato. The plaque down below eye level on the wall explained the model was the sculptor’s ten-year-old granddaughter.  But that was forty-one years ago back in 1981. The model obviously is no longer a little girl but a fifty-year-old woman, and perhaps a mother of children of her own.

Grandfather sculpted the statue with precision. The curvature of the arms and shoulders, the detail of the pigtails, the posture, and the smoothness of the contours of the back– all done with care and loving hands.

When I look at her these days, I wonder if she would prefer playing with her friends outside to standing in a perpetual pose inside a train station bustling with people heading to different venues.

Waiting for the Ship to Sail In

The Madoros Young Man

One of the routes back to my apartment from the west exit of Yokohama JR Station takes me past The Madoros Young Man bronze statue.  The Young Man stands outside the entrance to More’s, a building housing among other commercial businesses clothing stores, Tokyu Hands — one of my favorite variety stores –, smartphone outlets, H.I.S Travel Agency, a used camera store, restaurants, and coffee shops.

The statue is another map pinpoint for people to meet before moving on. The sculptor completed the statue in 1968 based on a story about a Dutch Sailor waiting in the harbor for a ship.


The owners of the Yokohama Okadaya Shop considered it to be a symbol of someone waiting for another person. What better location to meet than at the entrance to a building where one can enjoy a meal before or after shopping? Unfortunately, people are more likely to say, “Meet me in front of More’s.” And they may not even know the story behind the Madoros Young Man.


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