Yueming Li
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The Day the Seas Disappeared




Shūji Terayama is a Japense poet, playwriter, writer, screenwriter and director. I have always been interested in his poems. Among them, “The Day the Seas Disappeared” touched me deeply. In the poem, the seas suddenly disappeared from the Earth and from people’s memories; “I” was the only one who remembered. “I” sought for, inquired and talked about the sea but received nothing besides people’s laughter. In the end, “I” dreamed of the sea and took the possession of it.

The “emptiness” in the poem is an unique and abstract element in oriental aesthetics, which is similar to the feeling of lost and unable to capture. Under the cultural differences, it is difficult for most people who have a Western cultural background to deeply understand the inner meaning of “emptiness” in East Asian literature through the apparent meaning of words. Therefore, I created this picture book, visualized this aesthetic feeling though illustrations, and translated the abstract poem visually to help people with different cultural backgrounds to have a deeper understanding of it.