Would-be robbers were told they could raid the gallery from midnight, but the crowd was so big that the theft started half an hour earlier, and the exhibition that had been billed as running for up to 10 days was emptied of art in less than 10 minutes.
Yusuke Hasada, 26, was a rare winner, gripping a crumpled 10,000 yen ($93) banknote in a frame, which was part of the “My Money” installation by Gabin Ito.
He arrived an hour before midnight only to see a crowd had already formed.
Since there was no apparent queue, he maneuvered himself into a spot right in front of the gallery.
“The moment the staff said they should open early due to the big crowd, people rushed in from behind me. I was in the front, and I almost fell over,” he told AFP.
“It was scary.”