Setting the stage
All eyes will be on Japan when the World Expo comes to Osaka in 2025. Tabea Greuner previews what the country has planned over its eight pavilions
Japan’s exhibitions at Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan will extend beyond the country’s main pavilion in the form of the “Signature Project,” set to sprawl across eight “signature pavilions” at the center of the Expo site as well as into the online world. Each of the eight parts will be helmed by a different producer, and visitors will be able to step inside surreal landscapes that merge the real and the virtual worlds, where they can discover new and exciting ideas for creating a future society built on harmonious coexistence and the improvement of our planet.
Here’s what you can expect from the magnificent eight.
Co-being | ©SANAA
By Hiroaki Miyata, professor at Keio University
With the sub theme “Resonance of Lives,” Miyata’s project will emphasize the importance of respecting and appreciating diverse forms of life in modern society. Visitors will get to experience a world in which all life forms coexist in harmony, everyone’s unique traits are valued, and society can strive towards a future in which no one is left behind.
2. “Future of Life”
By Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor at Osaka University and visiting director of ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories
Taking the phrase “Amplification of Lives” as its guiding principle, Ishiguro’s project will show how the boundaries between the real and the virtual worlds are vanishing through advances in technology. The pavilion will show how the evolution of humankind and human functions and capabilities are expanded by integrating technology such as robots and artificial intelligence and will feature a futuristic medical laboratory where androids and humans work together.
Playground of Life: Jellyfish Pavilion | ©steAm Inc. & Tetsuo Kobori Architects All Rights Reserved
3. “Playground of Life: Jellyfish Pavilion”
By Sachiko Nakajima, musician, mathematician and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) educator
Nakajima’s pavilion has the mantra “Invigorating Lives” and will call for the democratization of creativity. Through the combination of her expertise in music and mathematics with technology and the importance of play, the pavilion is set to become a space that stimulates creativity. People of all ages can find new ways of enhancing their lives and acquire new perspectives through games, learning, sports, and art.
By Yoichi Ochiai, media artist
“Forging Lives” is the theme of Ochiai’s project and the digital artist has promised to create an interactive monument that will combine nature and digital technology to develop a vision of the future. The seemingly deformed pavilion itself will have a mirrored surface that curves like a membrane and reflects and distorts the landscape and the visitor’s figure.
Dynamic Equilibrium of Life: I am You | © Dynamic equilibrium of Life / EXPO2025
5. “Dynamic Equilibrium of Life: I am You”
By Shin-ichi Fukuoka, biologist and professor at Aoyama Gakuin University
Subtitled “Quest of Life,” Fukuoka’s pavilion will aim to “position humankind as living beings in the overall system of life.” With our modern world seeing an increase in the division between people, and between people and nature, this pavilion will convey a different philosophy in its quest for a better future for our society and planet.
6. “Live Earth Journey”
By Shoji Kawamori, animation director and mechanic designer
“Totality of Life” is the guiding phrase for this project which will allow visitors to experience a connection between all life forms in space, in the ocean, and on Earth’s surface through exhibitions and workshops that use augmented reality and sound effects. The project aims to promote a paradigm shift from anthropocentrism, the belief that humankind is the central entity in the universe, to biocentrism, a point of view that values all living things.
Earth Mart | ©EARTH MART / EXPO2025
7. “Earth Mart”
By Kundo Koyama, broadcast writer and vice president of Kyoto University of the Arts
Kundo Koyama’s pavilion will be designed by Japanese star-architect Kengo Kuma, who designed Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, and explores the theme “Cycle of Lives.” Guests will be able to explore cutting-edge food technology and alternative eating practices that will help usher in a more sustainable future.
8. “To Exist”
By Naomi Kawase, filmmaker
Under the heading “Embracing Lives,” Still the Water director Naomi Kawase will be creating a forest-style pavilion complete with an interactive theater, where visitors will have the chance to recognize the existence of “others” and step away from drawing boundaries between themselves and their fellow humans.