Japanese architect and professor Imai Kenji (今井 健次) was asked to create the sculpture symbolizing Japanese textile industry in the center of Osaka, Honmachi area in 1961. Textile industry was very supportive for restoring Japan after the end of World War Second.
He created a monumental masterpiece which is called “Phoenix Mosaic” with 18m width and 12 m height. It has also another name - “Spinning Wheel of Fantasy”. The mosaic is situated on the wall of rest area on second floor. There is a pool of water in front of it where mosaic is reflecting. Near it there are some benches where salarymen are eating bento during dinner.
Kenji Imai was born in 1895 in Tokyo. He graduated from Waseda University with degree in architecture. From 1926 to 1927 Imai went to Europe to study design of subway stations. He visited USSR, Sweden, France, Swiss and Spain where he had an opportunity to meet with many architects and saw many their works. Especially he was impressed by the works of Antonio Gaudi in Barselona which have influenced his own style.
By the way, one more Phoenix Mosaic by Kenji Imai you can see in Tokyo, 5 min from Koraku Station. Though the title is the same it looks different.
Among other works of Kenji Imai are Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Library at Waseda University (1925), Otaki town hall in Chiba prefecure (1959), Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument in Nagasaki (1962), Tokado Imperial Palace (1966).
Recently the local government in Osaka has decided to do red, yellow or green lighting depending on the number of covid-19 infected people at the previous day. Recently (the end of May and the beginning of June 2020) was just a few or zero infected in many millions Osaka and symbol buildings of Osaka such as Tower of the Sun, Abe Harukas were lighten green. Here in Honmachi area of Osaka the sculpture of Imai was also made green giving people hope for the future.