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Japan boosts global art-hub ambitions

Government and private sector view culture as a growth industry

"Mandala-Q," an artwork by Mirai Mizue, is currently showing in the International Terminal at Fukuoka Airport. It is part of a Japanese government-backed push to promote artwork through the country's airports. (Screenshot from "Culture Gate to Japan" website)  

TOKYO -- Even from afar, the cluster of gold and black horn-shaped objects immediately captures the eye. Something about the way the horns are arranged, the color scheme and the size of the display -- towering in the cavernous hall -- screams "art."

Those curious enough to draw closer are rewarded by the sounds of mysterious whispers emanating from what turns out to be a multitude of speakers. The incongruity of coming across such a spectacle in a pristine airport terminal invites smiles and even wonderment. For "Crowd Cloud" is located at Tokyo's Haneda International Airport, which is hardly known for its artistic offerings.

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