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1. Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami is one of the leading contemporary Japanese artists. He represents Japanese contemporary pop culture in the international art world. His artwork is in galleries, museums, and collections around the world. His work can sell for millions of dollars. He was one of the first Japanese artists to embrace a “new-pop” sensibility. He also collaborates regularly with fashion brands like Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton.

2. Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama is one of the leading ladies of Japanese contemporary art. She is famous for her use of color and pattern like the polka-dots above. She is also famous for her oblivion room of mirrors in which the lights go on forever. She is well-known and loved internationally and she has a major exhibition that is touring the world and has already been to New York and London.

Yoko Ono is another leading lady of Japanese contemporary art. She burst onto the international scene in the 1960s as the famous wife of John Lennon. At the time, Yoko was in New York and an integral member of the conceptual and performance art world there. Since that time she has had many different roles as a singer, composer, activist, and even clothing designer, but she always remains an artist.

4. Hiroshi Sugimoto

Japan has a global reputation for being masterful in the area of abstraction and minimalism. Hiroshi Sugimoto represents these ideals in his beautiful photographic compositions. Famous for his landscapes, he uses large-format black and white photography to create these haunting and mysterious scenes.

5. Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara is famous for his melancholy cartoon-inspired characters. They pick up on many elements from Japanese popular culture and are part of the Neo Pop movement like Takashi Murakami. Nara’s artworks may seem cute on first glance, but the characters actually tell a much darker story of isolation and loneliness in our highly networked society.

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