Some of the most hotly debated subjects related to Japan's bid for the Olympics centered on whether or not the event was worth its cost and whether it would maintain the country's dignity during the international competition. The situation appears to be trickling down to even a simple temporary art exhibition now under way in Tokyo.
The work in question is "Half-Submerged Sculpture," which consists of an iron frame with no wall left attached, filled with water up until the half-way mark and then left undisturbed. It is located on the first floor of a building facing Kasumigaseki Station, not far from the National Diet Building in Chiyoda Ward where many politicians are based as they carry out their duties.
The exhibition was set up by The Japan Foundation and Gallery 360° Tokyo to help promote contemporary Japanese art overseas. It opened on Oct. 20 and will run until May 14 next year.
The piece is the work of a young female artist named Natsumi Hayashi who lives in Chofu City, western Tokyo. She studied sculpture at the Tokyo University of the Arts' graduate school, but she quit her course because "I couldn't express my ideas in the artworks I was told to create," she said.
"Half-Submerged Sculpture" reflects the state of Japan's society and economy as of October 2016, said Hayashi.
"Half-Submerged Sculpture" was especially influenced by the anti-Olympics movement that surfaced in Tokyo last February, when more than 200 artists and citizens assembled at Kasumigaseki Station to express their objection to the Olympics. They said hosting it would cause various problems for regular people including violations of human rights that could result in deaths or disappearances of people unable to secure housing and hospital care at reasonable prices due to the massive influx of foreign visitors.