The 5 Weirdest Quotes From Takashi Murakami’s Wall Street Journal Interview

Today the Wall Street Journal’s blog Scene Asia published a very strange interview with Japanese Pop art superstar Takashi Murakami on the occasion of “Murakami-Ego,” his exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, in which he offers his thoughts about a number of germane and tangential subjects, from death and ego, to air and space travel, and radioactive food. Highlights below.

On food’s therapeutic and radioactive properties: “I eat junk food to relax.” “In Tokyo, everyone knows about super-strong radiation, but you cannot do anything. Everything you eat — milk, meat, fish, vegetable — is all radiated. But we have to eat, we have to drink milk. We cannot escape.”

On the current state of air travel: “I hate traveling. Airplanes are scary.”

On calisthenics and the kids these days: “In wintertime, it’s very important to do aerobics, because you’re stiff. So I make my staff stretch. And now we say “hello” and “good night” and “thank you so much,” because the young generation cannot say hello. Everyone wants to keep quiet. But SMS is loud, and everybody is quiet and cannot look each other in the eye. It’s crazy. I hate that. You have to say hello. Hello. Hello!”

On long life and space travel: “I would like to live to 120, because conceptually, people can survive to 120. Every 20 years, it changes. So maybe, in the next 20 years people can go to space. I don’t know what the next revolution will be. I want to watch.”

On death: “I hate death. I don’t like to die. A Taiwanese feng shui master said, touching my hand, ‘you will die at 79.’ I screamed: ‘Please don’t tell me about that!'”

— Benjamin Sutton