strong waves slam into Yayoi Kusama’s “Yellow Pumpkin” moments before it is washed away | screenshot of video by taka aoki

Yayoi Kusama’s “Yellow Pumpkin,” a symbol of Naoshima island that sits at the tip of an abandoned pier, was washed away by strong winds and waves generated by Typhoon No. 9 on August 9th. The iconic artwork was installed back in 1994 and was partly responsible for the large influx of tourists to the remote islands of Kagawa prefecture. The pumpkin has since been retrieved but it is badly damaged and will likely have to be replaced.

As we reported back in 2009, there are measures in place to protect the pumpkin from storms. According to Benesse Corp., the company that owns the artwork, when a hurricane threatens Kusama’s pumpkin, staff members are dispatched to the location. Together, they lift it up, walk it off the pier, place it on a truck and carry it away to safety until the storm has passed. Unfortunately, this time the storm took an unexpected turn and staff were unable to arrive on the scene in time.

It looks like Naoshima will be Pumpkin-less for the time being.

Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin on the island of Naoshima | photo by spoon & tamago (2017)