Tower of the sun

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

  • It’s my last day in Osaka and so I decided to visit the “Tower of the sun” at Banpaku-koen Park (officially called the Expo Commemoration Park). Standing 70 metres (320ft) tall, it’s a pretty odd-looking monument building designed for the Expo ’70 by late Japanese artist Tarō Okamoto. According to a sign I read at the park, he was noted for his abstract and avant-garde paintings and sculpture.

    I like this monument. Unlike so many monuments it doesn’t just blend in your mind with all the other monuments you see along your travels. It reminds me of the Matrimandir in Auroville, a huge spherical gold structure that you have to take a test and wear white socks to enter, or the “Superlambanana” in Liverpool, a strange yellow banana-dog-sheep sculpture, also designed by a Japanese artist. These things stand out in your mind in a way that something like a temple or monument often can’t. So as odd as they might be, it’s their unusual nature that makes them memorable.