Yutaka Kawakami knew hardly anything about Claude Monet until 12 years ago, but the 53-year-old has now won a French award for his re-creation of the painter’s cherished garden.

“It’s my personality and I just couldn’t give up easily,” the 53-year-old said of the difficulty he faced transplanting Monet’s garden in Giverny, near Paris, into the very different environment of Kochi Prefecture.

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