France goes big on Japan with multi-million cultural programme

Since Impressionist artists first clapped eyes on woodblock prints, Japan has been a source of both inspiration and fascination for many in France, which Tokyo has picked for a mammoth cultural offensive. "There were other candidates, like Moscow or Spain, but it's the French, more than any other nation, who know Japanese culture the best," said Korehito Masuda, director of the "Japonismes 2018" programme. From Gagaku imperial military music to the disconcerting works of contemporary artist Kohei Nawa, the cycle of 67 exhibits and performances aims to highlight Japan's cultural vibrancy on a scale rarely seen outside the country. The season kicks off Thursday at La Villette exhibition complex in Paris, where the Teamlab artist collective has installed an immersive digital experience covering two square kilometres (0.8 square miles).

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