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Virtual artist apologizes after ‘Black Box’ show in Roppongi leads to molestation claims

The line for the "Black Box Exhibition" stretched for blocks during its run between May 6 and June 17
The line for the “Black Box Exhibition” stretched for blocks during its run between May 6 and June 17 (@Hitoyo_Nakano)

TOKYO (TR) – The virtual artist behind a mysterious exhibition at a gallery in the Roppongi district has issued an apology after patrons lodged complaints about being molested.

During the Black Box Exhibition, held at Art & Science Gallery Lab AXIOM between May 6 and June 17, multiple patrons wrote on social media that their bodies were fondled while inside the art space.

On Wednesday, a person using the name Hitoyo Nakano offered an apology. “Aiding criminal activity was never a purpose of this exhibition,” Nakano said. “To receive such reports is a very sad and regrettable result.”

Over its run, the exhibition garnered significant buzz online due to its highly puzzling nature. Guests entering the space were required to sign non-disclosure agreements mandating that content of the exhibit be kept confidential until its conclusion.

Not all persons were allowed to enter the exhibit, and a line stretched for blocks down Imoarai-zaka. In a video posted online, a doorman, attired in a black suit and sunglasses, can be seen, seemingly at random, steering some persons into the exhibit while turning away others.

Black Box Exhibition was temporarily shut down by Tokyo police due to the line. All told, more than 30,000 persons attended the event, according to Nakano, who is also behind the popular Sazae Bot account on Twitter (@sazae_f).

In his message on Twitter, Nakano added that he is cooperating with the gallery and police regarding the alleged molestation incidents. “Although there have been no direct claims of damage against the gallery so far, I will do my utmost to ascertain the facts as soon as possible,” Nakano said.