The single largest Japanese diaspora in any city is in São Paulo. The Japanese first settled there in the Liberdade district in 1912 and has since grown to what is estimated to be 1.5 million. Now through May 7th, everyday a fleet of 30 flower bicycles created by Japanese botanic artist Makoto Azuma will ride through the streets of Sao Paulo passing numerous iconic sites – including the Liberdade district where it all began – and giving out flowers to people along the way.
Part performance art, part installation, the 30 “flower messengers” – all of Japanese descent – cycle around the city highlighting the many stages of plant life cycles. The project “is an interruption in the city’s nervous flow, with a completely entertaining and inspiring message,’ says the Japan House Sao Paulo, who commissioned the project. “Suddenly that place that was empty yesterday is filled with flowers today. Soon they disappear, but they remain a memory.”
Japan House was created by the Japanese government as a point of diffusion of all elements of genuine Japanese culture. Two other Japan Houses are being built in Los Angeles and London but the Sao Paolo location will open in May, just as Makoto Azuma’s flower messengers comes to a close. The building will feature a gorgeous hinoki wood panel façade designed by Kengo Kuma and created by Japanese artisans.