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Ikuo Hirayama, a painter in the Japanese style known for his Silk Road and Buddhist themes, as well as for his efforts to preserve and restore the cultural heritage of the world, died of a stroke Wednesday at a Tokyo hospital, people close to him said. He was 79.

A Hiroshima Prefecture native and graduate of the Tokyo School of Art, now Tokyo University of the Arts, Hirayama developed a unique style as he searched for subjects linked to Buddhism and its route to Japan.

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