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The Pumpkin and the Typhoon

If you are reading this, I assume that you already know Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin that can be found at the end of a pier on Naoshima‘s south beach.

I have shown it to you many times on this blog.

Here are two of the last pictures I took of it, a little while ago.


Naoshima Yellow Pumpkin Yayoi Kusama 1


Naoshima Yellow Pumpkin Yayoi Kusama 2


Yesterday and today, a typhoon passed over Japan. It was not very strong, and it was not supposed to have much of an impact on Kagawa Prefecture.

But typhoons are things that are not always totally reliable, and the winds turned out to be much stronger than expected, especially in the north of the prefecture, especially on Naoshima.

For some as yet unknown reason (but probably this underestimation of the impact the typhoon was going to have on the area), Benesse didn’t find it necessary to bring the Yellow Pumpkin to safety as they usually do.

What happened next?

Well… This happened:


After that, it broke apart into several pieces and it’s not really fixable.


This afternoon, my friend Andrew McCormick, a Naoshima resident, went on-site and took a few pictures that he’s been willing to share with us.


Naoshima Pumpkin Pier without a Pumpkin photo by Andrew McCormick
Credit photo: Andrew McCormick


The Pumpkin is not the only Naoshima artwork that was damaged by the typhoon.


Naoshima Shinro Ohtake Shipyard Works damaged by a typhoon photo by Andrew McCormick
Shinro Ohtake’s Shipyard Works was also damaged – Credit photo: Andrew McCormick.


Yellow and Black Boats by Jennifer Bartlett damaged photo by Andrew McCormick
Yellow and Black Boats by Jennifer Bartlett are not in a good shape, but at least they were not swept away by a wave – Credit photo: Andrew McCormick.


Uprooted trees near Lee Ufan Museum photo by Andrew McCormick
Uprooted trees near the Lee Ufan Museum – Credit Photo: Andrew McCormick.


Now what?

Actually, I’m not too pessimistic. While not a secret, it’s not very public information, but know that this isn’t the first time the Yellow Pumpkin has been damaged and replaced with a newer one (but before, it wasn’t as famous as it is now, and there weren’t cameras pointed at it almost constantly).

However, as I understand it, this time there is no replacement ready to go. Seeing the Pumpkin again at the end of this pier may take some time.

I’ll keep you posted, but don’t despair, you’ll most likely see it again sooner than later.


Update (August 11h): Benesse announced yesterday that apparently, it’s fixable, and it will be renovated, not replaced by another one.


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4 thoughts on “The Pumpkin and the Typhoon”

  1. Bonjour David.Quel typhon…. Avez vous récupéré des morceaux ? Savez vous si Yayoi K a réagi ?
    J’apprécie toujours autant vos “Post”.
    A très bientôt lors de la prochaine Triennale…
    Bien à vous
    Dominique Dewez

    1. Merci.
      J’étais effectivement un peu tenté de me rendre à Naoshima aujourd’hui et de voir s’il était possible de récupérer des morceaux, mais je me suis dit qu’ils ont tous déjà être dû ramassés et que Benesse n’approuverait pas trop.

      Aucune information sur la réaction de Yayoi Kusama, je doute qu’elle fasse une déclaration publique.

  2. Very sad. “Yellow Pumpkin” was one of my favorite pieces on Naoshima. Fortunately, I have a number of good photos from my visit two years ago.

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