ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Arts

War-themed artwork row reflects free speech tensions in Japan

Statue's removal and reinstallation highlight failure of Aichi Triennale

"After 'Freedom of Expression?'" -- a work by South Korean artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung -- is shown after being unveiled to the media in Nagoya on Oct. 14 following the close earlier in the day of the Aichi Triennale. The exhibit was reinstalled on Oct. 8 after it was abruptly closed two months earlier.   © Kyodo

NAGOYA, Japan -- On Oct. 8, an artwork called "After 'Freedom of Expression?'" at the Aichi Triennale 2019 returned like a long-lost friend who had moved away for undisclosed reasons. The exhibit, which had been shut down three days after the festival opened, was back by popular demand for a one-week showing, but only after weeks of uproar from journalists, citizens and fellow Triennale artists who pulled out their exhibits in solidarity.

The centerpiece of the controversy was "Statue of a Girl of Peace" by South Korean artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung. The statue itself is purposely tame, depicting a teenage girl seated on a chair with her arms in her lap and a bird on her shoulder.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more