Japanese musician Sakamoto Ryuichi’s first solo exhibition at Chinese art museum postponed after worker dies in accident
Published: Mar 15, 2021 10:42 PM
Sakamoto Ryuichi Photo: VCG

Sakamoto Ryuichi Photo: VCG

The largest solo exhibition of Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, who has won multiple awards including Oscars and Grammys, was originally set to open at a Chinese art museum on Monday, but the opening was postponed on Sunday after a worker died in an accident.

The exhibition was co-arranged by Chinese and Japanese artists to debut almost all of Sakamoto's sound installation works in the Chinese mainland for the first time ever. In each exhibition hall, the musician and his collaborators have created environments for visitors to experience and share music and sound, according to the exhibition's introduction.

A new opening date has not yet been announced. 

On Saturday, the official Sina Weibo account for Beijing's MWoods Art Museum published a statement about the "accident." 

The statement said that the worker was in a machine room on top of the building of the museum on Tuesday, when a portion of the floor in the room gave way, leading the man to fall two stories down. Other staff on scene called an emergency center, but responders were unable to save the worker. 

According to pictures posted by media, the room was located on the roof of the museum, but a small section of it hung over the lip of the roof. It was this overhanging section that collapsed, leading to the accident. 

The owners of the museum said they have contacted the family of the deceased and are working with them concerning compensation and how to help them, the article noted. 

The musician also posted about the accident on Sina Weibo on Saturday, saying that he was "extremely pained about the fatal accident" that occurred at the museum. 

"This incident came as a great shock to me during the recovery of my illness," Sakamoto wrote in English.

He expressed his condolences to the deceased and his family, and commented that he believes the museum's response to the accident is sincere. 

MWoods Art Museum in Beijing Photo: VCG

MWoods Art Museum in Beijing Photo: VCG

But hundreds of Chinese netizens commenting under the post said they disapproved of the musician's take, saying that he should not cooperate with the museum anymore.

"The exhibition has been postponed now instead of being cancelled, but ticket purchasers can get a refund on Damai [a Chinese ticketing platform]," Wenyu, a Chinese fan of the musician who talked to Damai customer service, told the Global Times on Monday.

The fan said that many fans have asked for the exhibition to change venues.

"They think that the owners of the museum responded to the incident after a few days, which is late, and are just trying to control public opinion. The museum's problems might affect Sakamoto's reputation among other Chinese netizens if he chooses to cooperate with the problematic museum," she added.

Although the museum's architectural design has proven popular among young Chinese, many visitors to the museum questioned its safety long before the accident.