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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Black Angel Sculpture in Nippori Fabric Town

黒い天使 吉田隆

My partner and I were heading for Tokyo's beautiful old Yanaka district via Nippori.

The area immediately west and south of Nippori Station is pretty featureless, although numerous overseas backpackers could be seen here and there thanks to the cheap backpacker accommodation that the area has quite a lot of.

However, something eventually came up that endowed the area with a little character. We found ourselves on a street just west of Nippori Station called Nippori Chuo-dori (Nippori Central Avenue) that the numerous banners hung along it proclaimed as being "Fabric Town," and with little fabric and leather shops along it here and there to back the claim up. Apparently there are over 60 such stores along the street, but they are not as densely packed together as say the shops in the kitchenware street of Kappabashi near Asakusa.

Then as we got closer to Nippori Station, almost at the intersection of Nippori Chuo-dori and Ogubashi-dori (尾久橋 for the kanji afficionados out there), we came across this charming statue: a poignant cubist creation called "Black Angel" by the Ishikawa-based sculptor, Takashi Yoshida, set up there in 1985.

"Black Angel" is rigorously angular (I regret not taking a photo of the equally angular back), yet the overall impression is one of delicacy and poise, even pathos, with her possibly pregnant state, obscured features, and lacking right arm - an impression further encouraged not only by the unmistakably dark name of the piece, but also by the distressed little cartoon girl on the fence in the background, importuning pedestrians to cross the road carefully.

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