Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’ Comes to Japan Society for Fukushima Disaster Anniversary

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 04: Yoko Ono poses next to 'The Wish Tree', one of her art installations at The Bluecoat Display Centre on April, 2008 in Liverpool, England. The Wish Tree invites viewers to write their wishes on labels that are then fixed to the branches. Yoko Ono returned to perform and display her art at The Bluecoat 40 years after she first exhibited there in 1967 to celebrate the re-opening of the UK's oldest arts centre after a GBP 12.5 million refurbishment.

Artist Yoko Ono poses next to an installation of Wish Tree at The Bluecoat Display Centre on April, 2008 in Liverpool, England. (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Japan Society is planning a very special tribute for the 5th anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster. The institution has announced that it will exhibit Japanese-born artist Yoko Ono’s long-running interactive artwork Wish Tree, which has been shown across the world since it was first conceived in 1996.

In an exclusive statement sent to the Observer by email, Ms. Ono said:

The concept of Wish Tree is growing rapidly through the world. It is the innate desire of human race to want to wish for a better life. This time, we are wishing it together. The power of the togetherness makes all of us speechless. Let’s keep wishing until the world will finally be a happy place for us. I love you! yoko

Washington, UNITED STATES: Japanese artist Yoko Ono, widow of Beatles member John Lennon, dedicates the "Wish Tree for Washington, DC" with the first wish: "Let's cover our planet with our love and make it a peaceful world for all of us and our offsprings" 02 April 2007 at the Hirshorn Museum's Sculpture Garden as part of "Yoko Ono: Imagine Peace" in Washington, DC. The Wish Tree series, which Ono began in the 1990s, encourages the public to become participants in the art-making process by inviting visitors to write wishes on paper and tie them to the tree. AFP PHOTO/Tim SLOAN

Yoko Ono’s dedication for Wish Tree for Washington, DC, (2007), at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The wrote and hung the following words on the tree: “Let’s cover our planet with our love and make it a peaceful world for all of us and our offsprings.” (Photo: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

“As an international symbol of peace, no other work of art resonates so universally and at the same time speaks to the power of human resilience,” Japan Society gallery director Yukie Kamiya said in a statement. “Our hope is that Wish Tree will forge an emotional and spiritual connection to the people of Japan on this historic anniversary.”

WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES - MAY 07: 'Wish Tree for Washington D.C' by Yoko Ono at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, USA

Wish Tree for Washington D.C by Yoko Ono at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Ms. Ono’s Wish Tree invites viewers to tie written wishes on the branches of an apple tree that will be installed in the gallery’s foyer. As she does with every exhibition of the tree, that artist will collect the wishes after the exhibition closes and bury them at the base of the Imagine Peace Tower, a permanent light display created by Ms. Ono and her late husband John Lennon on Videy Island in Iceland. To date, the artist has collected over 1 million wishes.

Arai Takashi (b. 1978) April 26, 2011, Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture from the series Mirrors in Our Nights, 2011 Daguerreotype.

Arai Takashi, April 26, 2011, Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, from the series Mirrors in Our Nights, (2011). (Photo: ©Takashi Arai / Courtesy of PGl Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

The special presentation of Ms. Ono’s work is part of a larger tribute exhibition titled “In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11,” organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and first shown in 2015. The show will open in New York five years to the day after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s coast and caused a devastating tsunami and nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, and feature artwork that reflects on the ongoing effects of the disaster.

According to the gallery’s release, the decision to focus on photography was inspired by the fact that the event “was the most widely photographed catastrophe in history.” The New York iteration has been “reconceived and expanded” with 90 works by 17 artists divided into three sections: documentary images, experimental photography techniques, and narrative artwork about the northeastern region of Tohoku which was the most impacted by the disaster.

Ōta Yasusuke (b. 1958) Deserted Town from the series The Abandoned Animals of Fukushima, 2011 Photograph, pigment-based inkjet print.

Ōta Yasusuke, Deserted Town, from the series The Abandoned Animals of Fukushima, (2011). (Photo: ©Yasusuke Ota, Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’ Comes to Japan Society for Fukushima Disaster Anniversary