The Life of Tora Okamoto
Taro Okamoto was Japan’s leading avant-garde artist of the 20th century. His memorable phrase “Art is an explosion!” became a well-known expression, winning him popularity with the general public.
Okamoto ignored established ideals of beauty, instead reaching back to Japan’s prehistoric Jomon period for inspiration. In the folkways of remote rural regions, he sought traces of Jomon beauty long forgotten in urban Japan.
In 1970, Japan hosted Expo ’70. The symbol of the science and technology exposition was Okamoto’s Tower of the Sun. The shining golden face at the top of the tower stands for the future.
Then, in 2008, a work long thought to be lost was unveiled in Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. Okamoto chose the atomic bomb as his theme for Tomorrow’s Mythology.
On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, we look at the life of Taro Okamoto, the free spirit who battled Japan’s entrenched values in pursuit of art.