Green Piano Created for 1970 Osaka Expo Likely to be Played at Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The piano that was used at the 1970 Expo in Osaka is seen in Uda, Nara Prefecture, on May 22. There is a plan to use the piano at the Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025.

NARA — An emerald green grand piano manufactured for the 1970 Osaka Expo is likely to be played at the Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025. The piano, made by Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., is kept at Uda High School in Uda, Nara Prefecture.

The Nara prefectural government is planning to give the piano an opportunity to be heard at the Expo site.

“We hope that this piano will be heard [at the Osaka-Kansai Expo] as the piano that connects the two expos,” a prefectural government official said.

Courtesy of Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co.
The piano is used at a concert during the 1970 Osaka Expo.

Kawai Musical Instruments exhibited three pianos, which were played at related events and an underwater restaurant at the 1970 Osaka Expo.

According to Nara Prefecture and other sources, two of the pianos are painted green. One of them is the piano at Uda High School, while the other is at a school on the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo. The third piano is white and kept at a gym owned by major food company Kikkoman Corp., which ran the underwater restaurant.

The keys of the piano in Nara Prefecture are made of ivory, a material which can rarely be used today. After the 1970 expo ended, a company in Uda purchased the piano and donated it to a local high school.

Due to subsequent school mergers at that school, there is no one who directly knows the piano’s history, however about 10 years ago, it came to light that the piano was manufactured for the 1970 expo. The piano was taken over by Uda High School, which opened in 2022. Since then, the instrument has been played at the school’s entrance and graduation ceremonies, among other occasions.

Hirohiko Miura, a piano coordinator of Kawai Musical Instruments, visited the school in February to examine the piano.

“We’ll be able to recover the sound to close to how it was when it was played during the 1970 expo. I feel grateful that this piano has been used with care,” he said.

The company plans for the piano to undergo full-scale repairs in June. The Nara prefectural government is considering introducing the piano at an event it plans to hold sometime between September and November to promote the Osaka-Kansai Expo six months prior to its opening. The prefecture is also in talks with the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition to set up opportunities for the piano to be played during the expo next year.

“I am hoping to make the best use of this piano at the Osaka-Kansai expo as a legacy of the 1970 expo,” said Akifumi Yoshida, the head of the prefectural government’s expo promotion room.