As the year began, Hiroko was nearly six months pregnant. No mid-winter road-trip across the States for On and Hiroko, then. Instead, On went on Date Painting in New York. Was he in an ongoing existentialist crisis re the handing down of consciousness to the next generation? I think he was eagerly anticipating the happy event.

Why do I say this? Well, when Kasper König's wife, Ilka, gave birth to a daughter on May 5, 1972, she was called 'Hiroko'. On made a Date Painting that day, which he subtitled "Hiroko König". One of the rare cases of not deriving a sub-title from his daily reading of newspapers around this time.

MAY5,1972 or "Hiroko König" was photographed by Candida Höfer in June, 2005, when it was in the collection of Coco König in Cologne. As you can see, the painting presides over a dining room with seating for three.

Candida Höfer, 2005. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

If you stare hard enough at the
tableau you may be able to see On and Hiroko, in their early seventies, sitting opposite each other, looking into each other's eyes. And at the end of the table, there is 33-year-old Coco, beaming from head to toe. Date Paintings were, and are, made to last.

Back to the beginning of 1978.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On Date Painted January 5, 12, 13, 14 and 19. I've seen two of these, and both are flushed red with excitement.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

One of the postcards at this time was going to Michael Sesteer, the Dutch painter who was alive from 1935 to 1989. The address on it is 140 Greene Street, where the Kawaras had lived since getting back from On's residency in Berlin. It would remain their address permanently, although I imagine On kept up a studio and I will be keeping my antennae out for its address.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

There was only one Date Painting made in February. I can't say for sure, but I think it was another red one and appears in the wall of Date Paintings that were exhibited in Bordeaux in 1993.

On painted five Dates in March. I've seen reproductions of three of these, two of which are red.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Excuse the poor quality of the reproduction, but are you getting the idea? What can be achieved in terms of deadpan expressionism by way of the simple/clever use of a code.

By the end of March, Hiroko was eight months pregnant.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On April 8, On Kawara made a black date Painting. Who knows why. Perhaps it was the calm before the storm of childbirth. The semi-official record below is what alerted me to the date of birth of the Kawaras' first child as being 12 April, 1978. The birthday info of his first child can be found in the second column. Kawahara is the full version of On's surname, which I guess he shortened after leaving Japan in his twenties.


So it was 'I MET' for April 12, 1978, and the three days following, which I requested from the Art Gallery of Ontario.

April 12, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Barbara Smith
Jim Hufnagel
Claudio Torres
Miyuki Fukui
Masao Narata

On Kawara was with Hiroko as the day began. But at some point Hiroko must have been taken to the hospital, or to another household, for labour and birth, because she wasn't 'met' by On Kawara on the 13th. I believe it is not customary for a Japanese man to be physically present at the birth of his children.

April 13, 1978
Alejandra Torres
Hirotsugu Aiko
Susan Nakata
Miyuki Fukui

On Kawara made a Date Painting on this day. Again red, see below. The blurriness is not caused by the artist's distraction, it's just a low quality reproduction.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

But Hiroko was only away the one night. I imagine she came back with the baby, but that the baby had not yet been named.

April 14, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
K.B. Hwang
Claudio Torres
Miyuki Fukui
Hirotsugu Aoki
Shu Takahashi
Takeshi Kawashima
Soroku Toyoshima
Teresa O’Connor

I asked the reference desk at the Ontario Art Gallery to browse the 'I MET' list until the first occurrence of the name 'Akito Kawahara', which crops up on one of only two published 'I MET' lists for the year, on October 18. They kindly told me that the name first appeared on April 23, and then again on April 24 and 27 of the month. I think it's customary in Japanese society for a child to be named about a week after birth. So this made sense. As far as I'm aware, the following is the final red date painting that On Kawara made at this time in his life.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

It says so much and yet so little. To me it says quite clearly: AKITO KAWAHARA

Oh come on, I can do better than that: A.KA-WA-HARA

There is one more from the first batch of 'I MET' lists that I asked for.

April 15, 1978
Hirotsugu Aoki
Shu Takahashi
Takeshi Kawashima
Soroku Toyoshima
Teresa O’Connor
Alejandra Torres
Peter Tkacheff
Miyuki Fukui
Nobumitsu Fukui
Anna Astner

The lists of names from April 12 to April 15 includes many that were on the 'I MET' lists during the moon landing of 1969 and/or the batch that were published in respect of 1974. In other words, it was a close-knit friendship group. Hirotsugu Aoki was a very close friend of On's, and his partner was Teresa O'Connor, the English Professor. Nobumitsu Fukui was (and still is) an artist, and his wife Miyuki was clearly close to the Kawaras as well. According to Google, Claudio and Alejandra Torres are/were Spanish art collectors and they seem to have taken alternate turns to visit On over the period of the birth of his son. Of course, Takeshi Kawashima is the man that Ansell Bray told me about re 1973, being the sociable and energetic hub of a group of Japanese-born artists living in New York, who along with his wife hosted games parties, some of which lasted for days on end.

There are some names that I haven't accounted for, but let's move on.

While all the excitement was happening in New York, a show of Date Paintings had been taking place at the Lisson Gallery in London.

Lisson Gallery, 1978. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

The installation shot below does not give a true impression of the work, as many of the paintings, including
NOV.18,1977 were red. NOV.8, NOV.14, NOV.18, DEC.8, DEC.20 were all red, and the others may also have been. I wonder if there was ever another show of Date Paintings where at least half the paintings were red.

Lisson Gallery, 1978. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

It is also true to say that the paintings shown at Lisson were from June, 1977, to the year-end. And while they contained many red paintings, the making of red Date Paintings went on until April, 1978. So the preponderance or red couldn't have been to do with Lisson. (I always knew that really.)

But after the joy of April (the miracle of life), On Kawara reverted to black. He made 21 Date paintings in the rest of the year. All seven of the ones I've seen - reproductions of - are black.

Candida Höfer, 2006. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

Having said that, there was a painting made on May 3, 1978, which I haven't seen. But I'm confident that the red phase coincided with six months of Hiroko's pregnancy, and the first few weeks of On's son's life, so it doesn't matter exactly when the cut-off came.

By June, one of the postcards was going to Haruo Aoki in Tokyo. Was this any relation of Hirotsugu Aoki? I don't know. But the cards again went out from 140 Greene Street.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

This next photo is another from the important book of photos by Candida H
öfer. How exquisite the Dates look in domestic environments! A Date Painting is just the thing to brighten up a family home. Do I mean 'brighten up' or 'pour gravitas over'?

Candida Höfer, 2007. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

As I mentioned, in all the published books on On Kawara that I possess, there are only two repros of ''I MET' lists from 1978. The one below was included in
ON KAWARA: SILENCE. It is likely to have been chosen by On Kawara himself. The list is headed by his wife and son, and I'm thinking Alejandra Torres must indeed have been a family intimate.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

The other four names on the list were all practising artists at the time, so perhaps On had gone to some gallery opening. James Makins was/is a ceramicist, he has or had a pottery studio in Soho. Sol LeWitt we know much about: important conceptual artist and the recipient of I GOT UP AT postcards in 1974. Ian Wilson was one of the conceptual artists that got rid of the art object; he preferred to talk about art. And Michel Claura was a French art critic, a chum of Seth Siegelaub and Yvon Lambert, On's dealer in Paris.

In late October, things started to get exciting again. Maybe it was because Rüdiger Schöttle in Munich was showing
One MillIon Years. That is a work which was widely exhibited in 1971 and 1972, but had remained on the circuit, shown at René Block in Berlin in 1975, and in Tokyo in 1977. There is a letter in a Cologne archive from Hiroko to Kasper König written March 1, 1978, mentioning that Rudiger Schöttle wanted to take over On Kawara's exhibition. So clearly it was originally scheduled for somewhere else. (I haven't seen the letter, just a summary of its contents.)


The relationship with Rüdiger Schöttle would seem to have been important at this time. Perhaps it was Rüdiger that persuaded On Kawara to paint a triptych on the same scale as the moon landings from 1969. In fact, why don't I ask him that by email?

Anyway, that's what happened, starting with October 29, 1978, On Kawara painted a large triptych, at least two of whose paintings were shown in Munich in spring, 1979.

Rüdiger Schöttle, 1979. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

Rüdiger Schöttle has kindly got back to me. He writes:

'I hope to answer your questions as precisely as possible. The selection of the work’s formats for the exhibition at that time was made autonomously by On Kawara. We never explicitly discussed the reasons/ motives for/ behind the selection of those formats. On Kawara was therefore solely responsible for the selection of works and their respective sizes, as was mostly the case with him.'

Which is good to know. And further confirms that Nicholas Logsdail was unlikely to have been behind the colour and size and date of the Date Paintings shown at his Lisson Gallery. I'll come back to Rüdiger's reply in a bit. But let's take this important 'triptych' slowly, focussing on the second batch of I MET lists for 1978 that AGO has provided me with. The colour-coding is mine:

October 28, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

David Davis
Julia Hill
Anyez Van Rozenburg
Laura Segel
Yasuhiro Ihara
Hana Nakamura
Sonia Ihara

I know who everyone on this list is, thanks to one of the people on it, Julia Hill, who answered an email on the day I sent it, which is to say November 26, 2021.

The only person she didn't actually know was David Davis, who she thinks was the man who ran an art materials shop which was where most of the artists got their supplies. Certainly, it would make sense that On had three unusually large (for him) canvases made up and delivered to his studio in time for his monumental painting effort that began on October 29.

Julia Hill went on to write:
'Looking at On's list, at first glance what I know is that this was a family party. It may have been my birthday party (Oct. 29) Also at least three names are those of infants... Akito, Hana and Sonia. For now I can't remember if the occasion was at the Kawahara house or mine, they are only minutes apart, but I do remember being asked my name, and when I asked what for - assuming that all people in the party knew it - I was told that On needed to record it.'

Pretty amazing recall of everyday life from over forty years ago. Needless to say I wrote again to Julia to try and elicit more information. She replied:

'I can clarify the who-is-who on the list…..Anyez [Van Rozenburg] was then married to Hiro Ihara, here the full name was given…. Yasuhiro Ihara . Sonia Ihara is their daughter. Hiro did On's photography, as I remember, for quite a while. I was friends with Anyez and Laura Segal . The fact that Laura was in the group is pointing to a birthday event, for she did not know the Kawaharas, and had no children in the party. She is no longer alive. Back then there were a lot of unions between Japanese and Europeans in our downtown circles. Hana is my daughter with Tohru Nakamura [not there that day]. I do not recall who asked for my name, it went over some heads and was very casual. Somehow I feel it was all at On's loft, but then we were there often, and I might be mixing it up with another occasion.'

Okay, let's move on, bearing all that vital, first-hand information in mind. Next is the day in which the first large painting was painted, presumably the blank canvas was affixed to the wall where it was painted at the same height it would eventually be displayed. Or am I underestimating the utility of easels?

October 29, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

Rüdiger Schöttle, 1979. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

There is a story around this painting. It was badly damaged in transit, possibly on the way back from Munich in 1979, and had to be destroyed. No mention of it was made when the other ten paintings (including the moon landing triptych) of this very large size, the largest that the painter ever made, were exhibited in Dallas in 2008. But I'll get to this in due course.

On would paint another colossal Date Painting on October 31, so let's revert to the 'I MET' lists:

October 30, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara
George Lambrou
Ann Usai

October 31, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

George Lambrou

I have asked Julia Hill who George and Ann were, as I can't trace them on the web, but she doesn't know.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On Kawara did not attempt another Date Painting until November 13. Again it would be a size H, so it could be considered that OCT.29, OCT.31 and NOV.13 constituted a triptych, paralleling the moon landing triptych, which span sixteen days and six days, respectively.

Back to I MET:

November 11, 1978
Kazuma Oshita
Seiji Suzuki
Toko Oshita
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

Michael Hoffmann

The first three names must have been with On after midnight on November 10, as I imagine Hiroko and Akito would have been with On to start off the day. So who was Michael Hoffmann? I'm not sure, so I will leave it at that.

November 12, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

Anyez Van Rozenburg
Sonia Ihara

As Julia Hill has told me, Anyez and Sonia are mother and daughter, Anyez's partner being On's photographer.

And the third size 'H' painting day's I MET:

November 13, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

Ann Usai

If anyone reading this knows who Ann Usai is or was, I would be grateful if they would get in touch. In the meantime, I move on…

Rüdiger Schöttle, 1979. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

Would On have painted NOV.13,1978 with it affixed securely to the wall? Or would he have utilised a suitable easel? The jury is still out on that one.

By 2006 the painting was in the Speck Collection in Cologne. I dare say Kasper K
önig can see it any time he wants.

Candida Höfer, 2006. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

November 14, 1978
Hiroko Hiraoka
Akito Kawahara

Toko Oshita
Cecilia Buzio De Torres

I have written to Cecilia de Torres, who still runs a gallery from 140 Green Street. And her reply reads as follows:

Dear Duncan, congratulations on your great project. Probably the reason On wrote my name was because they were moving to 140 Greene St. I was the first to have purchased a loft in the building, and the Kawaharas bought the floor below, and I think they moved in around that date and that is how we met.

(Actually, the Kawaharas moved into 140 Greene Street in 1977. That wouldn’t have been the actual reason that On listed Cecilia de Torres on November 14, 1978. Rather he was making one of these lists every single day, so it could have been simply through meeting her in the street and stopping to exchange family news.) Anyway, back to the reply:

Although I am very involved in the art world I didn’t know On was a famous artist. At that time I was struggling to make the space liveable and deal with my three children, who were 10, 13, and 15. My husband who was the painter Horacio Torres had died in 1976. On and Hiroko were great and very patient neighbours, because I am sure my children were noisy. When Akito was born my daughter was sometimes a baby-sitter. She sat for the photo on page 116 in the book “On Kawara continuity/discontinuity 1963-1979.”

Here is the photo of Akito's babysitter. Taken when baby-sitting One Million Years.


Back to Cecilia's email:

I still live at the same address, as Hiroko, her daughter and her husband and their children.

I am sorry I have nothing to add about your specific question.

All the best,
Cecilia de Torres

That's most evocative (especially the bit about the three children being noisy in the upstairs flat), and I have written again to Cecilia in case Claudio Torres and Alejandra Torres, who appear on 'I MET' lists at the time of Akito's birth, are or were related to her.

I don't think that I've learned that much from the 'I MET' lists In terms of the three large paintings. However,
Rüdiger Schöttle told me that OCT.31,1978 was definitely not exhibited at his gallery in Munich in 1979. Just the two large paintings were: OCT.29,1978 and NOV.13,1978. So maybe On didn't see them as a triptych. He most certainly did see the three July 1969 size H paintings as a triptych, and he selected those three moon landing paintings for large shows in 2008, 2012 and 2014. Moreover, he helped design the room for their permanent hanging place at Glenstone Museum.

So what happened to OCT.31,1978, if it wasn't shown in Munich? Well, it was bought by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1980. Presumably it was bought directly from the artist or his New York gallery, but I don't know that. (I have asked the Art Institute of Chicago.) If so, this means that On Kawara was kind of playing the market, or playing some private game of his own. He had painted three size H paintings in a couple of weeks. It would have required considerable effort, especially only having one day in between OCT.29 and OCT.31. These paintings were bound to be closely connected in his mind. But he deliberately decided to let two go to Europe and one stay in New York. At least that's how it seems to me at my present level of knowledge.

Maybe he had been briefed on the layout of Rüdiger Schöttle's gallery by Kasper König and had decided there wasn't enough uninterrupted wall space for three size H paintings. Yes, it could have been as mundane a reason as that.

Oh, and I've just had thought about who George Lambrou might have been. He might have been a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago! And he had slept at the Kawaras place for two nights. And in the day between, On had painted a second, huge Date Painting, just as dazzling as the one that had so impressed George on the day of his arrival.

G.L.: "Could I buy this OCT.31,1978, On? A painting which I can only think of as the most beautiful object in the universe."

O.K.: "If you put it like that, how can I say no?"

Perhaps On regretted sending even two size H paintings to Europe, as OCT.29,1978, was damaged in transit and had to be destroyed. However, when On Kawara was putting together the
10 Tableaux and 16952 Pages show for Dallas Museum of Art in 2008, he requested that OCT.31,1978 (which was still owned by the Art Institute of Chicago) and NOV.13,1978 (by then in the Speck Collection in Cologne) be borrowed for the exhibition. And he placed them facing each other in the middle of the gallery. And nothing was said in the gallery catalogue about the 11th size H painting that had been painted but had later been destroyed. On Kawara was a great respecter of his own process. But he often chose to obscure aspects of this process. In that sense, he didn't care about his audience. He cared about process, but he also cared about privacy. He wanted to give everything, but he also wanted to have secrets. I have to bear all that in mind.

Meanwhile, I have heard again from Cecilia de Torres:

Dear Duncan: the “sounds” are you put it, were drums! On and I probably met in the elevator. It was a very old freight which was hand activated, you pulled a chain to start and pulled the chain in the opposite direction to stop. If you were downstairs and wanted to go to your floor, you had to ring a bell, if the elevator was at my floor I had to go down, pick you up, then you dropped me at my floor before getting to yours. That went on for many years.

Yes, Claudio and Alejandra are my children. Claudio played the drums and Alejandra occasionally baby-sat Akito.

I haven’t seen the book of lists you mention but will look it up in a library. I have to find out if they are already open.

All best wishes for your work.

Funny that I initially concluded (on the basis of a brief Google search) that Claudio and Alejandra were a couple of elderly art collectors, taking it in turns to visit the Kawaras and their new born baby to see if they could help in any way. When in fact they were the curious kids from upstairs!

The year of 1978 continued. No doubt, On was learning what it takes to be a parent. But in the present day, it's my brother's birthday, and there is only one thing I can think of to give him as a present. (Why a red Date Painting? Because that's the colour he requested when I gave him the choice between red, black and dark blue.)


This year I have given him photographs of the actual painting process, twelve in all, including a blend (see below) of nearly finished Date Painting and local landscape photo:


But, like On Kawara, I like to keep all the Date Paintings close at hand for a while. So it may be November 30, 2022, before John actually gets the painting itself.

Back in the 1978 room. On was carrying on with the self-observation. Postcards went to the same T. Mimemura who got them in early 1969, and, according to Hiroko in a 1973 letter to Kasper, didn't know how to deal with them, in the end exhibiting them under his own name. Anyway, On clearly didn't mind that, and was giving Mr. Mimemura another batch.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

As you can see, by December it was Lilli K
önig who was getting cards. This is another daughter of Kasper König, the sister of Hiroko-christened Coco.

The third and final batch of I MET lists that I've been sent from Art Gallery Ontario, focus on December, when On and Hiroko made a trip to Japan. I suspect that the object of the trip was to introduce Akito to On's and Hiroko's parents. I suppose one can take a six-month old baby in a plane for sixteen hours, if one has good enough reason - as here - but it wouldn't be much fun for all concerned.

December 20, 1978
Yukio Ishibashi
Reiko Ishibashi
Michie Ishibashi
Koichiro Ishibashi
Tone Ishibashi
Mari Kida
Kazuo Akao
Keiko Narahara
Ikko Narahara
Hiroshi Nozawa
Keikichi Matsuoka

I have access to I WENT for this time, as well as I MET. Thanks go to the University of Michigan Library for this glorious development, of which more later. The maps for Dec.20, 21 and 22 show that On Kawara was staying in the same house he stayed in back in December 1970 when he last visited Japan. I think this was the home of Yukio and Reiko Ishibashi.


It may be that Reiko was On's sister and that she married Yukio Ishibashi, but that may be embarrassingly wide of the mark.

Note that On did not see Hiroko and Akito this day. Which means, presumably, that they were staying with the Hiraoka family.

Ikko Narahara was a well-known Japanese photographer. On Kawara sent him I GOT UP AT postcards, to a Tokyo address, in 1974.

December 21, 1978
Ikko Narahara
Keiko Narahara
Hiroko Narahara
Reiko Ishibashi
Michie Ishibashi
Koichiro Ishibashi
Akito Kawahara
Fumiko Hiraoka

On is still in the same location, I think. Though I will have to check out the Narahara address. The Ishibashi address was given in 1970 postcards as Setagaya, a suburb of Tokyo. I haven't seen any postcards for December 1978.

Another Narahara has joined the party. And two of the male Ishibashis are no longer around. Akito is back with his father, but Hiroko isn't. However, Fumiko Hiraoka may be Hiroko's mother.

December 22, 1978
Reiko Ishibashi
Yukio Ishibashi
Hiroko Hiraoka

And now Akito is no longer 'met' because Hiroko's mother was going to be looking after him while On and Hiroko did some travelling. Our intrepid pair set off from the home of Reiko and Yukio Ishibashi bound for New Tokyo International Airport. The I WENT for DEC.22 couldn't be clearer.

Below is the Kawaras' itinerary. First, Hong Kong, then Seoul, then back to Japan.


There are two I WENT maps for DEC.22,1978, one in Setagaya and the other Hong Kong. Then on December 23, there is this:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On and Hiroko stuck close to the hotel on day one of their visit. That's the hotel marked with the red pin towards the middle of the Google aerial photo.


The Mandarin Oriental is described by the Google map as 'posh hotel with upscale', something I always insist on when I'm travelling.

For the next day, On's 46th birthday, I have 'I GOT UP AT,' and 'I MET' at my disposal. Oh, and a Date Painting. But let's lay them out in an order that makes sense:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Lili Konig was living in Munich, where
Rüdiger Schöttle had his gallery. But what age would she have been? Her sister, Coco (christened Hiroko, remember), was born in 1972. When Heinz Nigg visited New York in November, 1974, he described the children as 'still small', and at the end of his visit they were given Punch and Judy figures of a mouse and an owl. So it seems likely that Lilli was the older and was born in 1970, give or take a year. Which would make her about eight when she got a series of postcards from the Japanese man who seemed to be such a highly regarded friend of her father and mother. She may have been too young to realise that the postcards were an even more thoughtful gift than the owl or the mouse.

And the people On met on his birthday? Hiroko and a couple of Hongkongers, I'm assuming. Maybe there is more to it. Otherwise why is it one of only two 1978 'I MET' lists to be published? Perhaps just to acknowledge that this trip to Asia without Akito took place.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Back to the hotel for the main event of the day…

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Note the use of Far Eastern characters. The very thing that On had avoided using while in Japan at the end of 1970 and the beginning of 1971. As an alternative, Esperanto had been a strange choice back then, for the subtitles. It will be interesting to see how he handled the Japanese newspapers this time around. I mean when he gets back to Japan.

Actually, that's not quite right. In Tokyo, in December 1970, On did make use of the local newspapers, printed in Japanese, It was the sub-title that he used Esperanto for.

Christmas morning, and On Kawara has a gift for his wife. It is a postcard showing a 'Japanese' woman carrying a baby in a bag strapped to her back. "Oh, Akito," she cries, and presses the card to her bosom. On takes an identical postcard and stamps it for eight-year-old Lili K
önig's benefit, chuckling from time to time as he does so.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Lili: "Gosh, Uncle On is an early riser."

Of course, I have no idea whether or not On was given the title of 'uncle' by Kasper K
önig's children. If so, it would have been to mark out that this older person was a valued member of the family's inner circle, and needed to be treated with reverence.

For this second whole day in Hong Kong, a ferry trip across Victoria Harbour was undergone, perhaps in order to check out the view from Ocean Terminal..

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

And what was the view like back across to the Central District? Like this 2020 equivalent?


On December 26, the Kawaras were still in Hong Kong, as I've seen the postcard to Lili. But by the 27th they were in the capital of South Korea:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Hiroko: "Why are you not sending postcards to Coco?"

On: "She got a Date Painting. Remember?"

(I wonder if Lili also got a Date. She is one member of the König family who doesn't have a Date Painting photographed for inclusion in Candida Höfer's book. Unless it is in there, anonymously.)

Hiroko: "Why are you not sending postcards to Akito?"

On: "You know why."

And they laugh together. When On settles down, he finishes his allotted task for the day.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Esperanto is used for the title: "Merkredo". And note that in South Korea the days precede the month, not vice versa as in British-ruled Hong Kong. DEC.27,1978 not 27 DEC.1978.

Next day:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

How come I've got access to so many of these postcards to Lili König? Partly because of On Kawara: horizontality/verticality, and partly because a sequence of five consecutive cards were printed in On Kawara: continuity/discontinuity 1963-1979, the book that primarily distinguishes itself by printing the journal for 1966-1979, and in so doing lists all the Date Paintings for the 13-year period.

It was Bjorn Springfedt who edited the volume for publication in 1980, and he writes in its preface:
'One person who learned early on the broader significance of On Kawara's art was Kasper Koenig, whose advice and assistance have been instrumental in bringing about this first demonstration of the whole range of the artist's activity…'

This conjures up the image of Kasper entering the room of his, by then, 10-year-old daughter, and asking if he can borrow five 'I GOT UP AT' postcards to include in the
continuity/discontinuity catalogue.

Lili: "They're my postcards."

Kasper: "Of course they're your postcards. And, if you allow me to take them today, you will get them back as soon as they have been photographed."

Lili: "I might want to look at them later today or tomorrow."

Kasper: "If you allow me to take them today, you will be able to see them again the day after tomorrow. Would you not like the pictures, and Uncle On's words, to be known and admired by other people all around the world?"

Lili: "It's just his getting up time."

Kasper: "I think of it as On's good news. He is still alive!"


Lili: "Well, all right then, if it's that important. I expect you'll be wanting to take Coco's painting as well."

Kasper: "One, two, three, four, five wonderful cards. Thank-you for your unselfishness, Lili."

Lili: "OK, Dad."

Where did On and Hiroko wander this day?

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

First. Let's enlarge the map:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Below is the Plaza Hotel, where they started off from.


They did some walking around the hotel. But I expect they took a taxi when they went north for a walk in the park.


"Just kids," as Patti Smith once said about herself and a significant other. Except it's not really true in this case. On and Hiroko were in their forties.

It made sense that On and Hiroko, such keen travellers, had taken the opportunity to do a little sight-seeing. But I think the real reason for their ambitious trip was still to be taken care of. They would have been having discussions about what role Japanese society might play in Akito's upbringing. And that might still depend on Hiroko establishing an understanding with On's parents.

How did it work out? As yet, I don't know. I hope to be a little better informed by the time I post the next page.