Ki means tree, mo re means to lose, bi means sun. “Komorebi” is an untranslatable Japanese word that has no equivalent in English (or, in my case, in Italian); it depicts an image: the sun through trees’ branches.
So, if it’s untranslatable with words, how could I show how this word makes me feel? What does this word makes me see?
When I thought about the sun that goes down between trees’ branches, I imagined someone dancing in a dark room lit by neon light: the music transformed into sound waves and the protagonist soaked in them. This was a dreamlike image I had (in dreams we can’t always see people’s face clearly), so when I decided to represent it, I imagined a story that involved another person too. The “Komorebi” was an intimate and beautiful dream in which the protagonist felt free to dance as he wanted and with whoever he wanted, inebriated by music and light. But that was just a dream, and all dreams are followed by the melancholy feels you have when you wake up realizing you haven’t (yet) lived the fantastic film in your mind.
This isn’t the first time I chose to make a series about an untranslatable foreign word: I already did a series about the Japanese word “Wabi-sabi”, which expresses the concept of transitory beauty, and I hope to continue this project reinterpreting various words from my personal point of view.
Ting Ting Chen