Coloring Osaka's Future: 'Aquatic Dragon of Konohana' by Miwa Komatsu and Junichi Okada Discusses Public Art


(From left) Miyakumyaku, Okada Junichi, Komatsu Miwa, Takahashi Hideki, Konohana-chan.

Public art created by Miwa Komatsu was unveiled as the first installment of "the Konohana Permanentale 100+ Art Project'' in Osaka's Konohana Ward. On March 27, 2024, at the Konohana Ward's Shorenji River Park, Konohana Mayor Hideki Takahashi, actor-producer Junichi Okada, and artist Miwa Komatsu took the stage to share their sentiments about public art.

Unveiling of 'Aquatic Dragon of Konohana' at Shorenji River Park

Unveiling of the First Installment of the Konohana Permanentale 100+ Art Project

As the inaugural piece of the Konohana Permanentale 100+ Art Project, the impressive 'Aquatic Dragon of Konohana' stands approximately 3.5 meters tall. Junichi Okada, the producer of the project's first installment, remarked, "You can feel its power. Just its presence changes the atmosphere of this place." Komatsu, the artist behind the public art, expressed her joy, stating, "'Aquatic Dragon of Konohana' seems to be delighted to live here in the future. I'm very happy."

When asked about why he offered the project to Komatsu during a talk session, Okada explained, "Her 'prayer' has garnered significant attention worldwide. I felt that the presence of her first three-dimensional public art, recognized and celebrated worldwide, holds great significance. Presenting her 'prayer' from Osaka, Japan, to the world seems fitting for this era." In response, Komatsu revealed, "It was just when I was thinking about creating three-dimensional artwork for the public and wanting to pursue such art activities that I received the offer."

Emotions Behind 'Aquatic Dragon of Konohana'

Unveiling of the First Installment of the Konohana Permanentale 100+ Art Project

As I first set foot in Konohana Ward and explored the land, I noticed the vibrant blues of the circulating blessed waters and the pink hues of cherry blossoms heralding the transition from winter to spring. These colors gradually seeped into the body of the water dragon, eventually forming its pillar-like figure. The harmonious convergence of the people living in this land, the living organisms, the nurtured culture, and the natural energy existing within the land gave rise to the manifestation of the water dragon before me. Facing westward, the water dragon gazes in the direction traversed by the envoys to Tang China. The shape of the dragon's mouth, resembling the syllable "A," symbolizes the beginning, harboring the wish for a cycle of prosperity and pure energy to circulate the earth correctly in the future.

Within the dragon's mouth lies a precious jewel, embodying the desire to eliminate disasters, ward off evil, and transform turbidity into purity. Dragons inherently possess water's essence, as reflected in the concept of "dragon veins." Placing the three-dimensional form of Aquatic Dragon of Konohana in this location serves as a symbol of the harmonious coexistence of nature, humanity, and civilization. Additionally, the tower-like shape of the dragon signifies the suppression of evil and purification. This narrative draws from my experience in Norway, where I encountered stories of dragons during the Viking era. Those who ruled the seas during that time faced constant peril, hence the practice of sealing turbulent dragons' mouths with bands on rooftops to calm the seas. Similarly, Japan has historically confronted formidable divine beings, building shrines and temples to honor and coexist with the forces of nature while occasionally reversing them with awe.

Dragon veins connect not only Japan but the entire world, making the very spot where you stand in Konohana Ward a nexus linking everything. May the beloved Aquatic Dragon of Konohana, adorned with beautiful cherry blossoms and purifying water, continue to harmonize with humanity as we journey toward the future. With prayers imbued in my heart, I wielded my brush to guide its completion into three-dimensional reality.

- Miwa Komatsu -

Unveiling of the First Installment of the Konohana Permanentale 100+ Art Project

【Overview of Konohana Permanentale 100+ First Installment】
Artwork Title: 'Aquatic Dragon of Konohana'
Installation Location: Shorenji River Park, west side lawn of Chidori Bridge
Address: 4 Asahi, Konohana Ward, Osaka City, Japan

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