The Tower of the Sun 太陽の塔
A timeless work
Created by the Japanese artist Taro Okamoto, the Tower of the Sun is to the 1970 Universal Exhibition what the Eiffel Tower is to the 1889 Exhibition: a symbol! Now located in the Memorial Expo Park in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, the tower was long closed to the public. In March 2018, it finally reopened its doors...
Symbol of the 1970 Universal Exhibition
The 1970 Universal Exhibition was held in Suita in the suburbs of Osaka . A first for Japan, which had never had the chance to host the illustrious event until then.
In a period of technological expansion, the exhibition saw its participants compete in ingenuity. And in particular the host country, whose theme ''Progress and Harmony for Humanity'' has inspired many futuristic works.
See also: Universal Exhibition Memorial Park
Among them, the Tower of the Sun, a 70-meter-long work created by artist Taro Okamoto, caught everyone's attention and quickly became the symbol of Osaka's exhibition around the world .
Placed inside the main building of the exhibition, its large size made it protrude from the roof! A small peculiarity which at the time of its construction did not escape the Japanese writer Sakyo Komatsu who was inspired by it to write his erotic novel ''The Season of the Sun'' . Seduced by the author's work, Okamoto then baptized this work the ''Tower of the Sun''.
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A philosophical work...
True to the theme of the exhibition, the Tower of the Sun is a veritable ode to progress .
Composed of a trunk 70 meters high by 20 meters in diameter , the white structure has two arms 20 meters long and three enigmatic faces which symbolize the passage of time: a black face located at the back of the tower, called ''the black sun '' to represent the past , ''the face of the sun'' , a face in the hollow of the arms of the statue which symbolizes the present , and ''the golden mask'' , a golden face located at the top of the work whose wide-open eyes light up at night to represent the future .
Also note that another face was present at the time of the Universal Exhibition , ''the underground sun'' , a face placed in the basement of the tower that was removed from the composition just after the exhibition to be able to move the work more easily.
But the highlight of the show was undoubtedly the interior of the tower, which housed a work just as intriguing as the tower itself: the tree of life.
At a height of 45 meters , this structure in the shape of a psychedelic tree was decorated with small sculptures made by the Japanese special effects studio ''Tsuburaya Productions''.
The tree then rose to the top of the tower and visitors could admire it as a whole by taking escalators located all around the structure. A nice metaphor that showed that man walked hand in hand with progress towards a brilliant future.
... To rediscover today
As the tower was put outdoors just after the World's Fair, Okamoto's work has deteriorated over the years.
Installed today in the heart of the commemorative park of the exhibition, the tower has been restored several times . And although it remained officially closed , the Tower of the Sun was occasionally open to the public during special events. Brief glimmers of hope that hinted at a possible re-opening in the years to come.
It is now done! Since last March, the interior of the tower has once again been officially accessible to everyone .
More contemporary escalators, sound and light games , visitors can rediscover the tree of life and its futuristic architecture (for the time) which gave the exhibition its letters of nobility.
A show that seemed highly anticipated, since a waiting list of several months is necessary to be able to obtain its entry ticket.
A success that could well benefit the Tower of the Sun and accelerate the request made by the prefecture of Osaka to make the tower a UNESCO World Heritage Site .
Address, timetable & access
Timetablea few minutes walk from Bampaku-kinen-koen station (Osaka-monorail). From Osaka, take the Tanimachi line from Temmabashi station, and change to the Osaka-monorail at Dainichi station
Priceadult 700 yen (5.50 euros), child 300 yen (2.37 euros), to be reserved in Japanese on the official website of the commemorative park of the exhibition