Sunday, June 17, 2012

Iconic Pumpkins


The tiny island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama and Kagawa is known internationally as an "Art Island" thanks to the Benesse Corporation who have built numerous museums, hotel/museums, and various other art projects and public art on the island.


One sculpture in particular is now so well known that it is the icon for the island itself, Yellow Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama,  a fibreglass sculpture sitting on the end of a small  quay on the islands south shore since 1994 is now seen in almost all the advertising for the island and miniature copies of it are for sake everywhere.


Born in Nagano in 1929, and now 83 years old Yayoi Kusama is now recognized as one of Japans most important twentieth century artists and has influenced such famous artists as Andy warhol and Claus Oldenburg.


Quite probably it is the most-photographed artwork on the island.


In 2006 Red Pumpkin was installed in the main harbor of the island where ferries from the mainland and Shikoku arrive.


Its much larger than Yellow Pumpkin and like a piece of playground equipment one can climb inside the sculpture. Colored lights in the floor intereact with the polka dot patterns of sunlight streaming in through openings in the sculpture.



  1. How did you manage to have nobody around? Was it very early in the morning or something?
    In any case, great shots.

  2. Hi David..... yup, about 6:30am :)

  3. Amazing. I'll certainly visit in my next time in Japan. Beautiful pictures as always!

  4. Missed Naoshima last trip , hope to get there next xmas, didn't know that they had red pumpkins on the island.Can you camp on Naoshima?

  5. Hi Llewellyn
    not sure about camping. There are cheap minshuku but we stayed in one of the yurts on the beach near the yellow pumpkin..... cheap :)

  6. Yes! I love this Island and the Kusama statues. Actually, I like a lot of her work. Did you go to that museum on the island too?