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The term “Cool Japan” was recently used by the Japanese government to help boost global interest in some of the nation’s most admirable achievements, such as its altruism and pursuit of cutting-edge technology.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake last year and a spate of social injustices that left the public increasingly disenchanted with the government’s bureaucracy, people began to look back to Japan’s traditional virtues in the hopes of redefining what it really means to be Japanese. This exhibition features the iconoclastic works of Tadasu Takamine, who is famous for challenging conventional social norms. Takamine invites visitors to his unique version of “Cool Japan”; Dec. 22-Feb. 17.

Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito; (029) 227-8120; 1-6-8 Gokencho, Mito, Ibaraki; Mito Station, Joban Line. 9:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. ¥800. Closed Mon. (except Dec. 24, Jan. 14, Feb. 11), Dec. 27-Jan. 3, Jan. 15, Feb. 12. www.arttowermito.or.jp.

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