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Fukuoka City Public Art—Hakata and Tenjin Areas

Fukuoka is a city where you can enjoy strolling around stopping by for good food and shopping. You can also enjoy visiting artworks across the city. There are 25 sculptures installed so far as part of the Sculpture Town Project launched in 1983, and a wide variety of artworks have also been installed in private facilities. The appeal of art in the CBD is that it blends in with the surrounding landscape, yet has a presence. Why not visit each of them?

Kamata Keimu “Hello and Goodbye”

Naka Hie Park is located close to JR Hakata Station. There, a large 4-metre-high palm monument rises in the middle. The artist, who was born in Yamanashi and lives in Fukuoka City, is a sculptor who has created numerous public artworks and also produces art for people with disabilities. This work is said to represent encounters and farewells in Fukuoka, the gateway to Asia. Depending on the time of day and the direction in which people pass by, they may feel differently and see it as a ‘hello’ or a ‘goodbye’. Which is your mood at the moment?

Naka Hie Park
2-12, Hakataeki-higashi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City

Nam June Paik “Fuku/Luck, Fuku=Luck, Matrix“

Canal City Hakata is a popular shopping mall for both tourists and residents. The building itself is a unique mall, but there are artworks installed that have a similar impact. This video artwork was created using 180 CRT televisions. The artist is a famous contemporary artist who was born in South Korea, has worked in Japan, Germany and the US, and is known as “the world’s leading artist who established the genre of video art”. Due to age-related deterioration, it was not on display from 2019, only to be restored and brought back to life in August 2021!

Nowadays, cathode-ray tube TVs are rare. You can also enjoy the atmosphere of the analogue screen.

Currently, screening times are limited; it is shown at 12:00-13:00, 15:00-16:00 and 18:00-19:00. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Canal City Hakata
1-2, Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City

Hung Yi “Lucky Frog”

What a flamboyant froggy! This is the work of a Taiwanese artist known for his public art of colourful, unique designs and large-eyed animals. It is said to be a lucky frog that lives in the so-called “Crystal Fountain” and has the magical power to keep the water in Canal City Hakata beautiful forever and bring happiness to people. We would love to be blessed with its good fortune.

Look at the adorable back. What is the frog looking at with those big eyes? You will be tempted to look around with the froggy.

Canal City Hakata East Building
1-2, Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City

Yanobe Kenji “SHIP’S CAT”

SHIP’S CAT is the ‘Guardian God of Travel’ at Community Hostel WeBase Hakata, located near Reisen Park in Kamikawabata. The motif is based on sailor cats, which travelled around the world with people during the Age of Discovery, protecting cargo, food and ships from vermin, preventing epidemics, and as a friend to heal the hearts of sailors. The helmet and metallic, robust armour are said to symbolise the courage to foresee the future of a chaotic world and to face difficulties. The artist, Kenji Yanobe, is a contemporary artist who has attracted attention for his numerous giant three-dimensional works. This work is also three metres high and its impact stops passers-by. It is both a ‘guardian god’ and a ‘beckoning cat’. Incidentally, its nickname is ‘Meowpie’.

Yanobe is known for his elaborate method of expression. One of the best parts of public art is that you can get up close to the work and look at it intently.

Meowpie crawls out from inside the building. It can be seen stretching out inside the lobby with its buttocks squeezed up, so don’t hesitate to go in and have a look.

WeBase Hakata
5-9, Tenya-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City

Bu Hua “The Best Has Already Come”

This is a 4 x 9 m mural on the first floor of Hakata Riverain, in front of the lift directly connected to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. Based on an original drawing by digital artist Bu Hua, who lives in Beijing, China, 24 artists and students from Fukuoka spent about a month creating this large-scale work. Bu Hua stayed in Fukuoka when she participated in the 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial in 2014. The work, which means “What is important is in your heart”, depicts a young girl, various plants and animals, as well as various scenes from Fukuoka.

Hakata Doll, Hakata ramen noodles, and mentaiko (spicy cod roe) also can be found.

Here you can also see a float of Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival and Fukuoka Tower in the back. The girl is wearing the school uniform of Fukuoka Jogakuin High School, which adopted sailor style in the Taisho era. The history of Fukuoka is also incorporated into the picture.

The colourful, vivid and cute mural is definitely instagrammable. It has become a popular photo opportunity. Art goods featuring the mural are also available for purchase at the museum shop on the 7th floor.

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum entrance hall
3-1, Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City

Choi Jeong Hwa ”A column is columns”

Walking along the riverside of Hakata Riverain, you will see these colourful and flamboyant pillars. The pillars are made up of a number of columns, and if you look closely, you can see that the design of the columns differs according to their colour. The pillars are of four different styles – Corinthian, Byzantine, Doric and Japanese – which represent the design from various parts of the world. The multiple layers of Western and Eastern columns are said to represent Hakata, which has interacted with many different countries.

The artist is one of Korea’s leading contemporary artists, specialising in humorous and colourful large-scale works.

Hakata Riverain entrance
3-1, Shimo-kawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City

Kusama Yayoi “Three Hats”

The artist no longer needs to be explained. These are works by Yayoi Kusama, a world-known artist. The polka-dot yellow Pumpkin outside the Fukuoka Art Museum is famous, but in fact, you can also see Kusama’s works here as well.

The artist no longer needs to be explained. These are works by Yayoi Kusama, a world-known artist. The polka-dot yellow Pumpkin outside the Fukuoka Art Museum is famous, but in fact, you can also see Kusama’s works here as well.

Fukuoka Health Promotion Center (AIREF)
2-5-1, Maizuru, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

Keith Haring – No title

If you visit AIREF to see Kusama’s hats, you cannot miss this. A large red dog sculpture installed at the entrance, which looks as if it is enjoying a dance or shouting in anger. The artist is Keith Haring, a pioneer of street art and a representative of 1980s American art. Although it is a sculpture, the work is thin and almost flat, and gives a first-hand impression of the graffiti art of ‘subway drawing’, which Haring used to do on the bored spaces of the underground advertising plates.

Fukuoka Health Promotion Center (AIREF)
2-5-1, Maizuru, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

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