expo 2005 photo essays
- weekly report from the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan

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Expo 2005 overview

Name: The 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan
Theme: "Nature's Wisdom"
Sub-Themes: 'Nature's Matrix'; 'Art of Life', 'Development for Eco-Communities'
Period: March 25 to September 25, 2005 (185 days)
Location: Seto City, Nagakute Town, Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Participating countries: 127
Projected number of visitors:
18 to 25 million
Actual number of visitors: 22,049,544 unique visitors
Organizer: Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition (Tel. +81-52-569-2005)
Official website: expo2005.or.jp

'Nature's Wisdom' - the theme of EXPO 2005

The theme of the Aichi Expo, "Nature's Wisdom", was intended to provoke critical thinking about global problems caused by the industrial societies of today (e. g. global warming, refugees, exploit of third world countries etc.). The nature theme was also supposed to spark rethinking about the way humans treat the environment and to showcase possible solutions for eco-friendly and sustainable development.

One of the main goals of Expo 2005 was to become an exposition for provoking questions that relate to global issues. The industrial societies of today, based on rapid technological development, mass production and mass-consumption, have given birth to various global problems such as global warming and destruction of natural habitat. The viewpoint of the organizers of Expo 2005 was that these issues cannot be resolved by one nation alone, and therefore a new form of unity of the peoples of the world is needed to create a global community which is both sustainable and harmonious with nature. Expo 2005 intended to showcase various possibilities and also offer multiple exhibitions and experiments to provoke critical thinking in the visitor.[1]

To this end, two key factors were considered: technology and culture. Technology plays a crucial role in addressing global issues and reestablishing the relationship between human beings and nature. Whereas in the past industrial technology was primarly eco-destructive, in the future technology can open up new energy sources and bring about improvements in living standards and global population growth. This, however, can only be achieved by the will of the peoples of the world and their ways of life that determine the ways by technology will be utilized in the future. Therefore, a global community of the cultures of the world needs to be created, which can only be brought about by cultural communication. In short, the aim of Expo 2005 was to demonstrate ways to establish a new balance between nature, technology and culture.[2]

Enviromental considerations also played a vital role in the planning, construction and operation process of EXPO 2005. Advanced technologies such as recycling and natural energy development were used to ensure conservation of nature and the local environment at each stage of Expo 2005, including site preparation, during the Expo itself, and after its conclusion. Furthermore, the organizers hope to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by visitors' traffic by providing low-pollution on-site transportation and promoting the use of public transportation.[3]


A total of 127 countries were represented at Expo 2005. Notable exceptions included Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Brazil, Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Serbia, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates and the Vatican. Apart from that, various NGOs and NPOs, such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN) featured their own exhibitions. Furthermore, various Japanese industrial groups such as Mitsubishi and Toyata were represented in the Corporate Pavilion Area.


The EXPO 2005 site was located in central Japan 20km southeast of Nagoya International Airport and 45km southwest of Chubu International Airport which was opened in March 2005. Nagoya, Japan's third largest city, is located in Aichi Prefecture, which is the nation's top industrial area, producing 2% of the world's GNP. At the heart of the region is Toyota City, the home of Toyota Motor Corp. and many other manufacturers of machine tools, aerospace technologies, textiles, ceramics etc.

The location was divided into two sites, Nagakute Area (approx. 158ha.) and Seto Area (approx. 15ha.). Seto Area was located within the Satoyama area and introduced traditional Japanese culture of people living in harmony with nature. Nagakute Area, the main site of Expo 2005, was home to the Global Commons, Central Zone, Japan Zone, Corporate Pavilion Zone, Interactive Fun Zone, and Forest Experience Zone.

The exhibitions of the official participating countries, organizations and businesses were concentrated in the Global Commons and connected by the Global Loop. They were grouped into six unique common areas that offer not only individual exhibition spaces but also shared spaces. The six Global Commons were Asia (33 modules), The Americas (28 modules), Europe 1&2 (66 modules), Africa (14 modules), and Oceania and Southeast Asia (20 modules). Exhibition facilities were set up in standardized modules (18 x 18 x 9 meters) which were cost-effective, environmentally friendly and could be combined to form larger exhibitions.

The Central Zone contained the Expo Plaza and the Global House, the symbol pavilion of Expo 2005. It featured state-of-the-art video, light and communication systems and the world's largest seamless screen (2005 inches/50x10 meters). The Japan Zone was home to various pavilions of the Central Japan region and the Japanese government. The Corporate Pavilions Zone hosted exhibitions of various large Japanese corporate groups such as Mitsubishi, Mitsui-Toshiba, Hitachi, and Toyota, where latest technologies were displayed.[5]

The Global Loop was the primary walkway within the site. This barrier-free elevated walkway connected the Global Commons. It was 2.6 kilometers long, an average 21 meters wide, and up to 14 meters high. Using the Global Loop, visitors could travel comfortably around the entire site on foot in about one hour. Transport between the Nagakute and Seto areas was provided by shuttle buses and two gondola routes. Additionally, the futuristic Intelligent Multi-mode Transport System (IMTS) operated on the site. It consisted of three large, low-emission buses which could be linked non-mechanically for automatic operation in bus platoons. Visitors could also take advantage of trams over a go-round route built on the Global Loop.[6]


[1] EXPO 2005 official website - Message From Japan: 'Nature's Wisdom'
Aichi Prefecture 2005 World Exposition Bureau - Overview of the 2005 World Exposition
[2] EXPO 2005 official website - What is EXPO 2005? - Why "Nature's Wisdom"?
[3] EXPO 2005 official website - Enviromental issues
[4] EXPO 2005 official website - Official participants
[5] EXPO 2005 official website - EXPO sites
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Quick Guide of the Expo Site
[6] EXPO 2005 official website - Transportation within the site