Art, Liberated

Kyoji Takubo gazes at the spectacular screen paintings surrounding him—201 floral studies on a field of luminous gold—and declares that this was the place where he decided to become an artist. Growing up in Kotohira, a backwater town on Shikoku island in southern Japan, he rarely gave any thought to art. But one of his best friends was the son of the head priest of Kotohira-gu, commonly called Konpira, an important Shinto shrine that is the town's great pride and that is said to date back more than 2,000 years. So Takubo spent a lot of time on the shrine's grounds,...

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