Expo ‘70 Japan – Stumped

Canada’s Color Bending Spinners.

A short while ago, I chased a link on Coudal to a Life database of images on Google from Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan — Asia’s first World Exhibition.

Not being one to shy away from an internet adventure, I casually clicked on the other images surrounding and wholly shit, was I in for it. Done-deal, I was in deep. And that’s when I was sucker-punched with the image of the stump sculpture. That one that sent me off, having to find out more.


The Stumps are from the British Columbia’s Pavilion. The overall theme of the 1970 Expo was Progress and Harmony for Mankind. The theme of the B.C. Pavilion was described as “The Vastness of Our Country, The Diversity of Our People and the Dynamics of Change involve us constantly in Discovery” and had 25,035,000 visitors during the exposition. Source: Canadian Heritage site.

Designed by legendary architect, Arthur Erickson and shot by Larry Burrows,  it was awarded Best Pavilion by the Architectural Institute of Japan. The fact that this was the winning exhibit, I would have imagined there to be more information about the design readily available. There’s barely a mention of it on the architect’s site. Never-mind the complete lack of imagery. This photo of people on the stumps and this image from The Rotarian are the only other images that I was able to find. At the 54 second mark of this video, there is a grainy 8mm shot of the towering stack of stumps. From that pulled back angle, it looks as though they could reach more than 200 feet.

Although I wished I found more details about The Stumps, while searching I came across plenty of extra, amazing imagery and information …


It appears as though, initially the Expo was going to be called JEXPO’70. Various logo explorations.

Canada’s stamp collection. Which  you can pick up for $6.

The US’s Air-Supported Cable Roof.

Expo ‘70 Ticket.

Switzerland’s Aluminum Tree.

Miscellaneous Ephemera.

West Germany’s Pavilion.

Exhibition map.

Seven more photos.

Spread from the 1970 Design Journal with Expo ‘70 feature.

Britain Expo ‘70 Brochure Cover. On Flickr.

I quickly became fascinated with this entire Expo. Not that hard to do after seeing all the imagery from it.

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More about Expo ‘70:
Life – July 17th, 1970.
Life photos by Larry Burrows and Carl Mydans.
The US Pavilion.
Arthur Erikson’s Design Philosophy.
16mm Black & White Minolta Photos: 1, 2, 3.
Expose Museum.
Soviet Pavilion: 1, 2.
Expo ‘70 Flickr tags.
Expo ‘70 Book on So Much Pile Up.
Expo ‘70 Passport.
Expo ‘70 Britain Brochure: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
British Pavilion.
1966 Print Magazine with Jexpo ‘70 Feature.
Google Translate. You’ll need it.

Nov.11, 2009 | Category: Art & Design, Collectables, Photography, Whoa


3 Responses to “Expo ‘70 Japan – Stumped”

  1. Izabel Amaral on January 28th, 2010 10:59 am

    Hi Bobby,
    It is nice to see people sharing a
    common interest in Expo 70. But the thing is, if you’d like to know more about it, the best thing is not internet, but good old libraries.
    The first image you show here is the Canadian Pavilion, by Vancouver architects Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey. The ’spinners’ were rotating scupltures designed by artist Gordon Smith and built by engineer Jeffrey Lindsay.
    The other image is from British Columbia Pavilion.
    I would be glad to send you a list of books about Expo 70, where you can find amazing images you will never see on internet. Also, some Japanese architectural magazines from the 70’s are great.
    Cheers :)

  2. Niklas on February 20th, 2013 1:55 am

    Yes, Expo ‘70 was in fact a very exciting thing, with all its utopia, and strangely enough there seems little documentation left. I wonder what those books are, only I don’t have Isabel Amarals’s mail address.

  3. Giovanny on February 1st, 2014 12:57 pm

    Don’t you have a big version of the exhibition map? The one you link is a 404 error.

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