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Japan had a special place in the heart of the American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-88), and not only because it was the homeland of his largely absent father.

From the origami paper-folding Noguchi learned as a child to the Zen gardens he studied as an adult, Japan provided the inspiration that fueled his rise into the top ranks of 20th-century art. It is therefore fitting that a large retrospective of his work, opening this month in Tokyo, credits the many ways in which Japanese culture influenced his development as a sculptor.

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