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Sushi chef Takayuki Yokodera of Takayuki Yokodera.

It’s tough to tell whether Japanese or Asian culture is surging.

“Japanese culture has been in stagnation for a very long time,” says Yoshito Sato, director of the Takeda National Museum of Japan.

“The Japanese people are living in an interesting transitional period.”

Still, Japanese culture continues to hold a very distinct place on the global art map. And the art world is only beginning to discover those nuances.

For now, Tokyo-based artist Takayuki Yokodera is taking the top prize at the 2015 World Art Awards in Melbourne.

For the past year, Yokodera and his team have been hand-painting the works of many Japanese authors. The resulting paintings are called “Japanese Novels.”

Wanda Tanabe, a freelance writer living in New York City, is part of Yokodera’s team of Japanese novelists. She’s also one of many Japanese artists who’ve turned their work into paintings.

“Japanese culture has been in stagnation for a very long time.”

“The artists who are putting their paintings on glass, I think that’s a great sign,” Tanabe says.

“They can get the audience they need to make a living.”

Yokodera’s new project is called “A Tale of Memories.” It is titled after the first chapter of Hanekawa’s novel, “The Tale of Gita.” Yokodera also created a piece, titled “Kagura,” to commemorate the first day of the Hanako-gumi, an organization that advocates for better educational opportunities for young female manga artists.

Hana Kojima, a 20-year-old self-proclaimed “Japanese manga fan,” was thrilled when Yokodera contacted her to join his team.

That desire for the opportunity to work with Japanese artists has lead Kojima to launch Japan Cartoonist Academy of Japan, an online space where cartoonists can submit their work and receive guidance on how to draw a traditional Japanese kagura.

Kojima’s “Hanako-gumi” is also the focus of the exhibition “Comic Girl at Heart: Manga in Action,” at the Takeda National Museum of Japan in Tokyo.

The exhibit features Kojima and a handful of other cartoonists, including Kojima’s idol, Mina Nakamura, alongside

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