ASAKO NARAHASHI: “Half Awake and Half Asleep in the Water”


August 23, 2009

How would you describe Japan if you could use no written words?
What would you say about this place if you could use no spoken language?
What are the sounds you would make about Japan if language did not exist? If sound did not exist?

Asako Narahashi has done this… and Asako speaks volumes.

Asako describes Japan’s “place” without words and she describes its people without making a sound… she describes its “meaning” without definition. Asako’s is a heaving-dream-world-Japan yet it’s dreams are stifled and undefined… it’s a Japan of myth and color, yet the colors and myths are muted and muffled… it is island, it is earth… it is saltwater, it is man-made, it is isolation… this Japan is claustrophobic and drowning but undying, staying alive. It is epic and it is tragic, living yet muzzled… moving, yet still. It is a place of flooding emotion, yet it’s emotion is drowning slowly under the surface. Emotion escapes for a time but then pushed back under and held down by clinched fists… down under… down under deep, real tight. The sun shines on the dark, eye’s peer from the depths… floating eye’s that watch, drift… and sink under the weight of the world.

Asako has made something special here… something unique… something that embodies Japan both in spirit and in soul. Asako has broken out from the pack… broken out from the “contemporary mold”.


Oh, Asako can speak… yes, Asako can speak. Asako screams and then whispers… screams about Japan, screams about women, screams about life, screams about birth-death-rebirth and about land and existence… screams roaring in deafening silence… and the whispers, whispers with tears.

Or maybe they are my tears, and she knew how to whisper to them.

Go find this if you haven’t already.

Half Awake and Half Asleep in the Water

By Asako Narahashi
ISBN: 978-1-59005-215-0
Hardcover, 12 x 13, 80 pages, 59 plates


Doug Rickard

ASX CHANNEL: Asako Narahashi

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