The Ghost of Tokushima Park

During last month’s visit to Tokushima City (the capital of Japan’s Tokushima Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku) I spent quite a bit of time in Tokushima Castle Park.



The hotel where I stayed (Daiwa Roynet Tokushima Ekimae) sat almost directly across the park from Tokushima University, which hosted the 2016 Japan Writers’ Conference, so I walked across the park several times on my way to and from the conference. In fact, I normally left my hotel early to enjoy the walk (and the park) on the way.   

In addition to being the former site of Tokushima Castle (which sat atop the hill in the center of the park):


Tokushima Castle Park is also home to a number of permanent modern art installations, which sit at various sites throughout the park.

Some, I found confusing:

One of the art installations at Tokushima Park, Tokushima, Shikoku.

But at least one, I absolutely loved – the sculpture I call “the Ghost.” That’s not the piece’s real name – unfortunately, I couldn’t find a plaque or sign with any identification or title near the work – but it’s what the sculpture makes me think of:


I see the ghost of a samurai, the ghost of a person in a kimono, and the “ghost” of the person who posed as a model for the piece. The more I looked at the sculpture–and, now, at the photographs I brought home–the more it suggests a number of ghostly presences, ancient, modern, and fantastical.

I’m not usually a fan of modern art. I find it difficult to understand, and I tend to prefer art that’s representational rather than abstract. (That’s only a personal preference–I have no “objection” to modern art, because I think art speaks to different people in different ways, and I’m in favor of experiencing a wide range of artistic expression.) 

However, every once in a while, I find a piece that speaks to me, and the “Ghost” in Tokushima Park spoke volumes, in the moment and in my memories.

I love art that makes me think (whether or not I “like” it). Do you?