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Japanese artist Taro Okamoto died in 1996 at the age of 84, but his ever-young artworks and attitude toward life are gathering new attention 100 years since his birth in 1911. What would have been his 100th birthday on Feb. 26 was commemorated with a Google-logo homage to Okamoto, original music at an event at Roppongi Hills, and the first episode of a four-part NHK drama on his life, “Taro’s Tower” (Taro no to).

Okamoto was born into an artistic household. His father Ippei was a famous newspaper cartoonist and his mother Kanoko, a talented poet and novelist. In December 1929 the three of them traveled to Europe. Taro stayed on in Paris for a decade, studying painting, philosophy, and ethnology until his return to Japan after the Germans invaded France in 1940. Drafted, he served as a soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army in China, finally coming back to Japan in 1946 to start again from zero.

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