From yesterday's Japan Today:
"Monday, June 5, 2006 at 15:11 EDT
TOKYO — The government decided Monday to cancel its recent award to painter Yoshihiko Wada after a selection committee judged earlier in the day he copies paintings of noted Italian artist Alberto Sughi.
Wada, 66, who was given the award this spring, has denied doing any copying, but the committee determined that his works are copies after "careful deliberations" based on statements by both Wada and Sughi, member Tadayasu Sakai said. More than 10 products with close similarities with Sughi's works were put on display in Wada's personal art exhibition that became a major reason the Japanese painter was given the government award."
Alberto Sughi's "Piano Bar, Italia" (1996). (Courtesy of Alberto Sughi's Web site)
Yoshihiko Wada's "Muso" (Reverie) (2004), from his catalog.
Alberto Sughi gives his own view on the scandal in his Absolute Arts Blog
Illustration isn't the only genre that gets ripped off in Japan.