Traditional & Culture

Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin Has Been Swept Into the Sea off Naoshima

Unable to save the iconic artwork from the typhoon, staff watched the pumpkin get swallowed by the waves.

On August 9th, Naoshima locals took to social media and Japanese media immediately broadcast the sad news that one of Yayoi Kusama’s iconic pumpkin sculptures had been swept into the waves. The artwork, which had for years been a symbol of Kagawa Prefecture’s Naoshima Island, had been dragged from its perch on the very end of Naoshima Pier, a victim of a passing typhoon.

The enormous pumpkin, almost 2.5 meters (6’7″) tall and at least as wide, has been installed in this spot looking out onto the Seto Inland Sea for over 25 years, and has become a symbol of Naoshima Island―known for its art museums. While typhoons are no rarity in the area, staff usually rush to drag the enormous sculpture away from the ocean before the storms hit. This time, they were too late, and the hollow pumpkin was instead dragged into the water by the waves, pummeled by the sea. Naoshima locals who saw the pumpkin in the water were shocked at the melancholy scene.

According to the Benesse House Museum’s official Twitter post, the artwork was eventually recovered from the water, but not until after the pumpkin had been damaged by the waves. The museum left the damage unspecified, but some reports claimed that the work had been split into a handful of large pieces. Fortunately, repairs are underway, and the damaged pumpkin may someday once again take its place on the end of Naoshima Pier. For the time being, however, visitors to Naoshima Island will have to content themselves with some of the area’s other art.

Basic Info

Name: Benesse Art Site Naoshima


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