Some angered over Osaka’s three-finger-ring-fever in its bid for the World Expo 2025.

World Expo mania has gripped the bustling city of Osaka with posters and advertisements boasting about the international event all around. It’s especially odd to see since the city hasn’t actually been awarded hosting duties yet and is still in contention with Baku, Azerbaijan and Yekaterinburg, Russia.

I’m especially wondering what all the people with Osaka Expo 2025 license plates on their cars will do if the Bureau International des Expositions chooses elsewhere on 22 November. Still, Osaka is going full tilt and seems to be acting as if it already won either to harness the power of positive thinking or possibly guilt the BIE into choosing them.

Another expositional spectacle unveiled earlier this year is a monument titled Genkotsu (Fist), a large metal scultpute in the shape of a clenched fist with what appears to be a three-finger-ring – or possibly brass knucks – on which is written “2025 EXPO.”

Created by artist Hideyuki Matsuda, who goes by the name Grand Cobra, the piece first sat on the famous bridge in Dotombori during a summer festival, proudly declaring the city’s intent to become the host of Expo 2025.

However, it wasn’t until the monument was moved to the entrance of Osaka City Hall that it caught the attention of the Internet at large. Twitter user Osakan Beauty (@osakan_beauty) posted a scathing critique which read, “Beyond ugly. So ugly I could die,” and then went on to admonish the mayor of Osaka for allowing it.

Granted, someone using the handle “Osakan Beauty” is likely to be sensitive to certain aesthetics, so let’s see what others had to say.

“What is it supposed to be punching?”
“It’s like something a gang would use, and not suitable for the Expo.”
“It’s like something a middle-schooler would make.”
“It seems like they want to crush the Expo.”
“This is the gaudiest thing I’ve ever seen. Is it a joke?”
“It looks like the album cover for a metal band from L.A. in the ’80s.”
“‘Merican sack?”

A fun fact one might encounter when reading the comments about this sculpture is that in Japanese, brass knuckles are sometimes called ‘merican sacks. The “sack” in this case means like a cover or protector for one’s knuckles, although it didn’t do such a good job in the video demonstration below.

I decided to go over to Osaka City Hall to see this thing face-to-fist, and despite being a half-ton iron fist with a golden knuckle duster, it really wasn’t as ostentatious as people made it out to be.

Up close it was even hard to tell what it was, and it sort of blended in with the urban scenery.

That being said, several other people could also be seen standing around taking pictures, so it wasn’t all that modest either.

▼ The numbers also reminded me vividly of that big wheel from The Price Is Right.

I kind of felt like Charlie Brown when he found the little Christmas tree, in that it wasn’t such a bad piece of art. After all, the truly worst kind of art is that which elicits no response at all. This did get a reaction out of people and made them think, which ought to be the goal of any work.

You can judge for yourself whether this is good or bad, but I think we can all agree that it clearly conveys the feelings of Osakans everywhere with regard to Expo 2025: “Bring the Expo here ya muttonheads, or we’ll make mincemeat outta that ugly mug o’yers, ya hear!”

Source: Twitter/@osakan_beauty, Hachima Kiko, Expo 2025 Osaka