Junko Asano solo exhibition “story in my head”

Junko Asano solo exhibition “story in my head”

2023.11.11(Sat) – 2023.11.20(Mon)

YUGEN Gallery will be holding Junko Asano's solo exhibition "story in my head" from Saturday, November 11th to Monday, November 20th.

A lace skirt created by applying regular layers of acrylic paint. Although the brush strokes of the woman wearing it are coarse and rough, the gentleness of the woman overflows from the painting. Artist Junko Asano freely uses crayons, acrylic paints, felt-tip pens, and art materials to create a wide range of worldviews, including abstract figurative paintings and works that resemble picture book illustrations.

A colorful story


This year marks exactly 10 years since she started drawing at the age of 63. "I want everyone to see the whole story in my head, from the things I've carried throughout my life to the things that came out naturally," she says of the exhibition "story in my head". Approximately 30 pieces will be on display, including newly drawn works and three-dimensional works such as vases.

Junko Asano was born in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1950. Actor Tadanobu Asano is her son, and SUMIRE, who is currently active as a model and artist,SUMIRE,is her granddaughter. Asano, who was "a delinquent runaway girl," frequented bars and nightclubs where American soldiers and their associates gathered from the 1960s onward, and had a front-row seat to the birth of all kinds of culture, starting with Elvis Presley, including rock'n'roll and the hippie movement. I've been doing it.

"Back in the days when miniskirts weren't sold, I used to paint and embroidery old clothes, make my own clothes, and go to discos with my best friends.I also customized furniture and tableware. Those life experiences have shaped me into the artist I am today.”

She is a versatile person who sells remade clothes and runs a second-hand clothing store and bar, but says, "I get bored of it easily, and none of it lasts more than three years." Painting has always been a part of her life. I drew receipts, flyers, and whatever else I felt at random times.


Draw new discoveries every day

When she was 60 years old, she met an artist who encouraged her to start painting seriously, and "I noticed things that I hadn't noticed before, and it just flooded me all at once."A new creative drive began to fill Asano's life.

"When I look at something plain, a picture emerges. Every day I discover new things and draw them, so the finished picture will change a week later."

She started drawing without making a sketch, and recently she continues to draw endlessly, even using the image editing function of her smartphone camera. It has been 10 years since I fell in love with painting, and through constant changes I have formed a solid image.

"After 10 years of drawing, I was able to draw beautiful circles and straight lines.At first, the round shapes were a little distorted, and I couldn't draw straight lines.I guess I was lost somewhere.But... , that’s gone.”

"Exactly"depicts a woman staring at me, her eyes wet with anxiety. Nearby is a woman being held by a chameleon and a bird. One is smiling fearlessly, and the other is giving a somewhat nihilistic look. The woman in the middle is holding a mirror. Asano says that this is where she emphasizes the importance of constantly looking at yourself.

"We live in a world where we don't know what's real and what's a lie. We live in a world where people are discriminated against based on skin color or gender, and people think that all they need is to be happy. I think I want it.”

"Aka Dragonfly" depicts a human being of uncertain gender, surrounded by a giant dragonfly, birds and plants that live in a tropical country. Human eyes and bird heads are like snail shells. There are also imaginary creatures that have the head of a bird and the body of a human and birdman. This work was created out of a mixture of anxiety about the food crisis and climate change, but also a lack of hope"I want to see what the Earth will look like in 50 years.''


Motherhood is the fountain of creativity

Chameleons and snails, brightly colored plants, cityscapes at dusk, and hostesses living in the night world appear repeatedly in her works...Asano uses clear outlines and graceful colors to depict motifs that you might encounter in a dream. From this, you can read the nostalgia and deep love for the people and things you love in your life.

What you can feel in Asano's work is motherhood. This is greatly influenced by her family, especially her mother. It is not hard to imagine that Asano's mother, who had been brought back from the war and had a child with a man from a foreign country, was viewed harshly by those around her at the time. However, her mother's memories of her performing as a geisha, such as Nagauta and dance, and of her taking the time and effort to cook azuki beans for Asano's birthday, are of Asano, who continued to be who she wanted to be as a woman. It can be said that it has become a rich soil for the lives of people.

Junko Asano continues to create new works, not only on canvas, but also on blackboards, cardboard, torsos, and other supports, as she says that even if she deeply wants to accomplish something, she wants to destroy it in the next moment. What springs from this fountain of creativity is a gentleness that embraces everything. I am a motherhood writer.


Exhibited Works

*Some of the exhibited works may be subject to change. please note that.

About sales of works


At the same time as the exhibition is held, the works will be available for viewing and purchase on the YUGEN Gallery official online store.

About reception party


A reception party will be held on Saturday, November 11th, the first day of the exhibition.
Drinks will also be available for attendees at this reception party.
Additionally, from around 6pm, a contemporary dance performance will be performed along with a cappella music.
No reservations are required, so please come and join us.

See below for details.

Date and time: November 11th (Sat) 13:00-19:00
Performance start time: Scheduled for 18:00

[Contemporary Dance] Naomi Mirian
instagram: @naomi.mirian
FB: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016692427279

Mika Watanabe
instagram: @kaiza.morishita
FB: https://www.facebook.com/mika.watanabe.12935

Information on visitor benefits

Only those who fill out the survey form when visiting will receive an original art book free of charge.

This is an original art book exclusive to this exhibition, containing the exhibited works and exhibition statement in one volume.

Junko Asano photo exhibition “story in my head” art book
Recorded artist: Junko Asano
B4 variant/List price 1,650 yen (tax included)
*Please note that the design of the art book may be partially changed.  

Junko Asano


Junko Asano / Born in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1950. Has Japanese and Swedish parents. When she was a teenager, she attracted attention as a member of the women's group "Cleopatra Party" with entertainer Cathy Nakajima and model Sayoko Yamaguchi, leading the culture of the time. She began painting at the age of 60, and since then has been performing in galleries, second-hand clothing stores, flower shops, and other venues, and has been engaged in creative activities that are unrestricted by style. https://www.facebook.com/asano.junko.9 Instagram: @junkowillma


2023.11.11 (Sat ) - 2023.11.20 (Mon)


YUGEN Gallery


Totate International Building 3F, 2-12-19 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours

*Ends at 17:00 on the last day only

Closed on


Artist in Attendance

Every day throughout the exhibition: 13:00~

Mondays and Fridays only: 15:00~




*Please note that depending on the situation, the exhibition period and opening hours may change without notice.