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Down a narrow alley of Le Marais, a fashionable district in central Paris, stands Ogata Paris, an elegant four-story art and dining complex that its creator, Shinichiro Ogata, sees as something of an embassy for Japanese culture.

“Currently, Japan has several premier brands but lacks one that promotes an entire way of living based on our traditional culture,” says Ogata, who is the founder of the design firm Simplicity. “I believe that Japan needs and is seeking an ambassador to interpret the country’s culture and communicate its values to the rest of the world.”

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