This piece is titled “The Ghosts of Asakusabashi” and believe it or not, it’s actually somewhat inspired by the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
In each of the game’s shrines, awaits the mummified body of an ancient monk who’s task it is to watch over the tomb until a chosen hero arrives. It's hard to say exactly why, but those monks always leave me feeling incredibly unsettled. Despite the fact that they interact with the player to some degree, their corpses remain still and lifeless. Artistically, it's a brilliant aesthetic choice in that I find myself questioning whether there is life after death in the game's universe. And much like our own reality, I can't quite decide what the answer is.
Side note: I haven't finished the game, so if there is some definite answer to this, please don't spoil it for me...
In any case, I found the idea of long-dead, solitary watchers both fascinating and sad. They remind me of how fleeting everything is in life.
I had similar feelings when I visited the Yanagibashi bridge in Tokyo. Many, many years ago, the area was a bustling merchant/red-light district. But today, it’s a quiet, mostly non-eventful part of eastern Tokyo. The contrast between the two eras is mind-boggling to me... and I could imagine nothing more chilling and lonely, than to be some ancient being watching eras come and go like the flora of the seasons.
And the image above is what resulted from this idea. It's the spirit of a long-dead man, quietly watching over the passing time on a corner is Asakusabashi (an neighborhood adjacent to Yanagibashi).
*Praying man image is from Artem Bali via Unsplash.