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40,000 Daytime Fireworks Bloom in Fukushima Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A fireworks display, representing cherry blossom trees in full bloom, is seen on a beach in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday.

About 40,000 fireworks were set off during the day on a beach in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday to mourn those who died during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the pandemic and other disasters.

The fireworks were designed and launched by Cai Guo-Qiang, 65, a world-renowned contemporary artist from China.

The daytime display was an art project titled, “When the Sky Blooms with Sakura.”

“I’d like to dedicate a prayer for the dead,” Cai said. “I also want [the fireworks] to evoke dreams and give people hope.”

The carefully orchestrated explosions formed various images, including 12 white chrysanthemums and black waves — symbolizing a tsunami. A series of fireworks were then sent 120 meters into the sky and created sakura-pink bursts, representing cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The “cherry blossom trees” extended for 400 meters along the beach.

During the nine years that Cai lived in Japan, starting in 1986, Iwaki served as one of the bases for his activities. Even after moving his work to the United States, he kept in contact with people in the city. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, he started a joint project to plant 99,000 cherry blossom trees in the suburbs of the city.