形の言葉  Language of shape 


I created Language of shape as a gesture of appreciation – and reminder – of the delicate and exquisite natural world that we all embrace and share. It consists of two hand-bound books and one folded lithograph encased in a flat box (approximately 31 x 18 x 2 cm). All the original Japanese texts and their English translations are laid out together as part of the design.

The first book printed on black Japanese paper, Language of shape – N.U. read the snow, is a poem interlaced with the words of Japanese scientists, Nakaya Ukichiro and Terada Torahiko. “Snowflakes are letters sent from the sky”, said Nakaya, who dedicated his research to the relationship between mid-air weather conditions and the shape of snow crystals. On the back pages of the poem are lithographs of sodium sulfate crystals that I grew myself, photographed, arranged as “type”, and then printed in silver ink. While they are reminiscent of Nakaya’s “letters from the sky”, they may also suggest the existence of numerous undiscovered languages and their precious messages in the world. Each reed-shaped page folded in three measures 90 cm long and unfolds vertically. The pages are fixed to an accordion pleat (as in concertina binding), with thinly cut japanese-paper. As different folded edges are bound to the pleat, each spread opens with a different number of pages towards the top and bottom, changing the format of the book as the reader goes through it.
(Lithography on Ise Iroshibu paper; Dimension: 30 x 17.5 cm, 36 pages)

The second book, White scenary, incorporates a close-up of yoghurt I photographed in the kitchen, to complement Nakaya Ukichiro’s descriptions of Alaskan and Arctic landscapes I quoted from his essay. While studying snow, Nakaya also conducted research on ice in the polar regions.  A teacher of Nakaya, Terada Torahiko once explained the mechanism of such meteorological phenomena as rainbows, fog, and heat haze with just a bowl of hot water, in his essay A bowl of hot water.*  It helped me conceive all phenomena on the earth as part of one continuous connection, from the palm of one’s hand to the end of the universe.   It is my hope that readers might visualize the majestic polar vista while looking at my “yoghurt landscape”, and that it evokes a sense of the connectedness of all things as Terada’s passage did for me.
(Resin letterpress and inkjet on Bafun paper; Dimension: 30 x 17.5 cm, 16 pages)

The third element is a folded lithograph printed on thin Japanese paper. The image is one of the photographs of the sodium sulfate crystals, before they became “type” to be composed and printed on black Japanese paper in the first book.
(Lithography on Bicchu Torinoko ganpi paper; Dimension: 40 x 60 cm)

Part of the poem in the first black book reads:

Being is words
words touch the heart
their meaning
is shared with others

If nature could talk to us in words, what would it be saying now? With no boundaries between living and non-living things, I hope my idea of “shapes as letters” inspires readers to imagine the respective messages of diverse beings on the planet.

* Terada Torahiko, Chawan no Yu [A bowl of hot water]




黒い和紙に印刷された1つ目の本『形の言葉―N.U.は雪の言葉を読んだ』には、日本の科学者、中谷宇吉郎と寺田寅彦の言葉を引用しながら作った詩が印刷されています。中谷は「雪の結晶は、天から送られた手紙であるということができる。」という言葉を残し、雪の結晶の形が上空の気象状況によっていかに変化するかを丹念に研究した科学者です。詩のページの裏には、結晶させた硫酸ナトリウムの形を文字のように配置した写真が銀色のインクで印刷されています。これは中谷の読んだ『天からの手紙』を彷彿させると同時に、世界には同じように読まれるべき言葉、しかしまだ読まれていない言葉が無数に存在することを暗示します。3つ折りにされたページは長さ90cm、縦に開きます。ページはアコーディオンプリーツ状の支持体に薄くカットされた和紙で固定されています。 ページの折り目が異なる方向で綴じつけられているので、見開きのページは上下で異なるページ数となり、読み進めるごとに本の形式が変化していきます。
(サイズ縦30cmx横17.5cm/ページ:36/用紙:伊勢 色渋紙、雁皮紙/印刷:リトグラフ)

(サイズ:縦17.5cmx横30cm/ページ:16 /用紙:バフン紙/印刷:レジン凸版、インクジェット)

(サイズ:縦40x横60cm/用紙:備中鳥の子 雁皮紙/印刷:リトグラフ印刷)



English translation and advice for the statement by Akimoto Shinobu

Thanks to
Nakaya Ukichiro and Terada Torahiko
Lithograph printed: KAWALABO! (Kawara Masahiro + Hirakawa Sachie + Imaizumi So)
English translation: Akimoto Shinobu
All people and works that have given me inspiration



Language of shape
Published by Adachi Ryoko in September 2020, Japan

Language of shape—N. U. read the snow
Texts and images by Adachi Ryoko / English translation by Akimoto Shinobu / Lithographs printed by KAWALABO! (Kawara Masahiro + Hirakawa Sachie + Imaizumi So) / Binding by Adachi Ryoko / Paper: Ise Iro-shibugami / Font: Yu Gothic, Kamome Ryuso, ITC Officina Sans, Bodoni old style / Dimension: 17.5x30cm 36p

White landscape
Texts by Nakaya Ukichiro / English translation by Akimoto Shinobu / Photographs by Adachi Ryoko / Letterpress using resin plate and ink-jet prints and binding by Adachi Ryoko / Paper: Bahun paper / Size: 17.5 x 30cm 16p

Sodium Sulfate Crystals
Photograph by Adachi Ryoko / Lithograph printed by KAWALABO! (Kawara Masahiro + Hirakawa Sachie + Imaizumi So) / Paper: Bichu Torinoko Ganpishi / Dimension: 40cm x 60cm