Yesterday we visited the biggest work of Tarō Okamoto, Japanese painter, sculptor, and ultimate art phenomenon. This is the Tower of the Sun, created for the World Expo ‘70, the first world’s fair held in Asia. Okamoto-San is a huge inspiration of ours and his ideas and gestural work feel other-worldly. His contribution to the Japanese artistic landscape is bizarre but beautiful, and because of that, @wadejeffree & I had to visit his most grandiose work.
The 1970 Osaka World Exposition marked an important time in Japan’s history, one of optimism for the future of the country and its role in the progression of technology. It featured the premiere of the first IMAX film, mobile phone prototypes, and introduced the first shinkansen (bullet trains). It also showcased futuristic architecture conceived by the several countries that participated including giant inflatable buildings and neo-modern (yeah maybe I made that term up) towers, but sadly the Tower of the Sun is all that remains today.
The theme of the Expo was “progress and harmony for mankind.” In his interpretation of this idea, Okamoto wished to represent the past, present and future all in one piece of art and did so by placing three distinct faces on his Tower of the Sun. The golden “face” represents the future. The concrete “face” on the stomach represents the present. The black sun on its back represents the past.
We spent the day at the Expo Park observing the tower (the only prominent element that remains from the actual expo) and trekking the grounds. Now, there are gardens, parks, and a lake that comprise the inspirational landscape, as well as a museum devoted to remembering the Expo ‘70 as well as a Museum of Ethnography. It’s such a fun place to visit and consumed our entire day, but we left with wide smiles and full hearts after drinking highballs in the shade of Okamoto-san’s gargantuan tower.