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Born to a noh actor, Ryonosuke Shimomura (1923-98) was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. He preferred baseball. Disliking study and with poor grades, he went to art school, thinking it would be an easy ride.

Enrolled in two successive courses of study in Kyoto from 1936 to 1943, he conceived techniques that both alarmed his teachers (one thought him color blind, he wasn’t) and saw him awarded the lowest grades in his classes. This unusual artistic career is the subject of “Shimomura Ryonosuke: In Praise of Play,” (in two stages, the second beginning Jan. 7) at BB Plaza Museum of Art in Kobe.

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