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    Born in Kobe, Japan 13 March 1919, died Kobe 14 May 1996.

    Kumi Sugai belonged to the first group of pioneering contemporary Japanese artists to adopt western styles of painting, and to practise them abroad, chiefly in Paris or New York. Though he was born and bred in Kobe, his parents were of Malay origin, belonging to a family of excellent musicians.

    He studied art at the Osaka School of Fine Arts, were he became acquainted with western painting techniques through the teaching of Yoshihara Haruyoshi. At the same time he practised calligraphy and was fascinated by typography, both of which were to play an important part of his later work. But like so many Japanese writers and artists, he dropped out of school and his first job was with the Hankyu Railway Company (1937) where he was their commercial designer and a creator of advertising posters.