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Japan's Takashi Murakami faces his biggest setback

A cry from the soul of one of the world's most expensive living artists

"As I am Japanese, I am an outsider in the contemporary art world founded by the West," says Takashi Murakami, posing last month in front of his Haha Bangla Manus in Tokyo. "It is a big disadvantage for me to stand on the same stage as them. How can I be singular among their rules?" (Photo by Yuki Kohara)

TOKYO -- Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami says he faced one of the biggest setbacks of his life earlier this year while preparing to unveil a 10-meter gold-leaf sculpture marked with giant smiles.

"I wanted to die immediately after I woke up that time," Murakami, 58, told reporters last month, recalling the day in March when the coronavirus pandemic pushed his company to the edge of bankruptcy. In a reference to the just-released mega-hit anime film Demon Slayer, Murakami added that wanted he to stay in the dream of a demon forever.

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