This introduction explains the rationale for coming up with this book, which explores the evolution of Japanese visual arts from the beginning of the Meiji period in 1868 up to 2000. It considers some of the reasons for the prior lack of scholarly interest in Japanese visual arts, including the fact that very few works of Japanese art created during the first half of the twentieth century or even later have found their way into the collections of American or European museums. Another reason is that Japanese contemporary art has come to be regarded as very much a part of world art, and accepted as such. Also discussed are some historical matters relating to Japanese art, such as the cosmopolitan nature of Japanese culture, and a number of interrelated polarities concerning the history of the Japanese visual arts; for example, the polarity expressed in the tension between the national and the international, and the development of an ever more receptive audience in Japan for various kinds of Japanese art created during this period.
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