• Kyodo

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Philippe Bigot, the French baker credited with introducing the baguette to many Japanese households, died Monday of an unspecified illness, a source said Tuesday. He was 76.

Born in Nazi-occupied Normandy in 1942, Bigot was taught to bake by his father and came to Japan in 1965 to demonstrate baguette-making at a trade show in Tokyo.

He opened his own bakery in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, in 1972, which soon became popular among locals and earned him the nickname “god of bread.”

He was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest order of merit for his achievements in 2003, and last year was recognized by the Japanese government as a Gendai no Meiko (Contemporary Master Craftsman).

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