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It’s not all roses being the director of an independent art museum, but for Toshio Hara, the human interaction of the art world is still a more attractive prospect than that of being a businessman. In 1979 he turned the family seat — a small cluster of white modernist buildings in a quiet residential street in Shinagawa, Tokyo — into the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, which has been one of Japan’s foremost venues for exhibiting art ever since. An inherently eclectic and informal space, the museum celebrates its 35th anniversary this December and its director shared some thoughts with The Japan Times.

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