Colorful, gigantic murals are a strong part of Mexican culture and you can see some of the best artists’ work within this genre in the world in Mexico City, (which is one reason why we love visiting). But in Japan, seeing such bright-colored, story-telling, almost graffiti-like gigantic murals are rare, which makes the newly hung “Myth of Tomorrow” mural now in the Shibuya Station terminal, a real showstopper, especially among young people who are stopping in transit to snap mobile pics by the thousands since it was hung last week, on November 17th.
Depicting the destruction and tragedy of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the “Myth of Tomorrow” was originally created by Taro Okamoto, an artist who was commissioned by a Mexican property developer. It was completed in 1967 and hung in a luxury hotel in Mexico City until financial trouble hit and the manager was forced to sell the hotel in 1969. Since that time, there had been much speculation about where the famous Japanese X Mexico mural collaboration had gone. However Okamoto’s widow continued to search for the mural and finally rediscovered it in 2003, had it restored, and shipped to Japan. She unfortunately died just weeks before it reached the shores of Japan.
Once it arrived back in Japan, the “Myth of Tomorrow” was hung in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo until April, 2007. The Japanese, however, had a better idea for it -make the mural more accessible to the public and so, debuting last week in its new permanent home, those taking the Shibuya train, specifically at the intersection of the JR and Keio Inokashira lines, you can see the massive mural which stands at 30 meters in length and 5.5 meters high.
At first glance, when walking by this massive art piece, it can be quite shocking because it depicts the horrors of what took place and the destruction and sense of loss from the bombings. But it’s interesting to note because of its bright colors, characters, and storytelling that provides both a reminder of the past and a sense of hope for tomorrow. These things combined, it’s become a real showstopper, especially for young people getting their first taste of such artwork, and who are snapping mobile images by the thousands.