Cities have felt emptier since the initial surge of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and in Osaka, fewer people on the streets also meant fewer boats along the rivers flanking Nakanoshima Park. While the waterfront has looked a little gloomier without its usual bustle of chugging boats and people walking along the promenade, the city has planned something to brighten things up in these trying times.
That’s right: the iconic Rubber Duck sculpture is making a return to Osaka for a limited time this summer. The sunny yellow sculpture will be inflated on the Okawa River by Nakanoshima Park for the entire month of August. Hopefully this will cheer up the workers in nearby buildings and visitors at the park.
Created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the playful Rubber Duck first appeared in 2007 and has since toured cities all over the world including Sydney, Hong Kong, Seoul and Toronto. The last time the duck was seen in Osaka was in 2015. Hofman is widely known for his fun, cheerful and oversized urban installations such as the HippopoThames in London and the 'selfie panda' in China.
The Rubber Duck Project 2020 is more than just a public exhibition, though. To raise funds for coronavirus relief, a limited number of merchandise will be available, ranging from stickers (¥350) to t-shirts (¥2,700). All items need to be purchased online but buyers will have to go to the site at a designated time slot to pick up their items. See the official website for a full list of the merchandise.
Read our guide on how to go out safely.