The introduction to this volume, part of the Lucent Library of Historical Eras series, begins with the point that Japan has historically been both an importer and exporter of artistic influences and traditions. Five chapters cover the decorative arts, modern literature, architecture, performing arts and cinema. Each chapter offers an historical overview that includes the major movements and contributors to the art form. The way Japan has both influenced and been influenced by other artistic cultures serves as a unifying theme across chapters, as does “the Japanese aesthetic,” which the author identifies as an appreciation of nature and the use of simple and clean lines in visual arts and an “elegant simplicity” across artistic forms. As the purpose of this volume is an introduction to Japanese art for middle school and high school students, chapters are brief and discussions are simplified, but the essential facts are here and presented in an engaging way that makes frequent connections to American culture and art. There are color or black and white photos on nearly every page spread and each chapter includes several sidebars highlighting key artists and ideas. The volume also includes a list of print and Internet resources and a general index. Recommended for middle school and high school libraries.