Fondly thought of as the Picasso of Japan, Taro Okamoto worked as a prolific avant-garde artist, philosopher, and writer until his death at 85 years old. Kosai Sekine’s colourfully ambitious début documentary gives fantastic insight into the roots of Okamoto’s iconic work, Tower of the Sun, constructed for the government-organised Expo ’70 in Osaka, themed ‘Progress and Harmony for Mankind’. However, the artist’s 70-metre tall tower was the antithesis to this message and a comment on Okamoto’s political and social concerns for the future of Japan. After almost 50 years since its construction, the interior of the Tower of the Sun was finally reopened in 2018, allowing the public to once again marvel at the exquisite artwork that lies within.
Get to know the artist behind the one-of-a-kind Tower of the Sun in this uniquely beautiful and powerful documentary, which probes into why the tower was preserved, and what message Okamoto was attempting to convey with this radical, cutting-edge work.
2018 Raindance Film Festival
Taro Okamoto (1911-1996)
Taro Okamoto was born in Tokyo, the eldest son of Ippei and Kanoko Okamoto. After entering the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, Okamoto travelled to Europe with his parents and lived in Paris from 1930. He joined several art movements, studied philosophy, sociology and ethnology at the University of Paris, and became friends with Georges Bataille and others. Returning to Japan, Okamoto was drafted into military service. After the war, he restarted his career as an artist, and released a number of provocative works as a leader of Japanese avant-garde art. Taro was the producer of the Expo ’70 Osaka Theme Pavilion. He was also a prolific writer.