The Myth of Tomorrow and the Tower of the Sun

November 29(Wed.)2023-March 10(Sun.)2024



From October to November 2023, the Myth of Tomorrow will undergo the first major restoration to be carried out in fifteen years since it was installed in Tokyo’s Shibuya station. This year marks the initial phase of this long-term restoration project and will involve work on the rightmost four panels over a period of 40 days. It is the start of an effort to preserve this great work for the enjoyment of future generations.

The outline of this mural first took shape in September 1967, immediately after Taro Okamoto returned from a two-month research trip to Central and South America. Okamoto developed the idea for the work during his travels, but it is a little-known fact that he simultaneously conceived the idea for another, completely different work.

This was Tower of the Sun. He made numerous sketches of this work in a notebook while traveling, gradually refining his plans until by the time he returned to Japan, he had nearly arrived at its final form. Both Myth of Tomorrow and Tower of the Sun were conceived  during his trip to Central and South America.

Upon his return, he set about the actual production of these two projects, completing both consecutively during a six-month period from September 1969 to March 1970. One was a large mural painting, thirty meters wide, the other a huge pavilion, seventy meters tall. Both far exceed the usual scale of artworks, falling more into the category of social projects, and both demonstrate Taro Okamoto’s outstanding abilities as a producer.

Not only do Myth of Tomorrow and Tower of the Sun represent the ‘ultimate painting’ and the ‘greatest sculpture’ to have been created simultaneously, but they are also truly “twins” in that work on both was carried out concurrently, from conception to completion. 

This exhibition, commemorating the commencement of the Myth of Tomorrow renovation project, will focus on these two works that represent and symbolize Okamoto’s art, and present an overview their relationship to each other.

In addition, a 1/8th scale model of the Merry Pole Christmas tree that appeared in front of Ikebukuro Station in 1962, and disappeared after only a month and a half, will also be on display. This is a newly produced model based on materials from that time, and of course, this is its first appearance.


Akiomi Hirano


Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum