Art: Works of a Woman's Hand

Toko Shinoda bases new abstractions on ancient calligraphy

Down a winding side street in the Aoyama district, western Tokyo. Into a chunky, white apartment building, then up in an elevator small enough to make a handful of Western passengers friends or enemies for life. At the end of a hall on the fourth floor, to the right, stands a plain brown door. To be admitted is to go through the looking glass. Sayonara today. Hello (Konnichiwa) yesterday and tomorrow.

Toko Shinoda, 70, lives and works here. She can be, when she chooses, one of Japan's...

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