Eun Ji Koh was a typical Californian teenager before her immigrant parents surprised Koh and her brother with some startling news. Her father had been offered a far more lucrative job back in Seoul than he could ever expect to be offered in the US. It isn’t uncommon for immigrants to return to their countries of birth for better employment opportunities, but in this case Koh and her brother would be staying behind.

Very few people (other than Anthony Janson in his monumental History of Art, published in 1968) would attempt to write a history of an entire country’s art, and even fewer could do it in one volume and cover a period from 15,000 BCE right up to the present day. Professor Tsuji does this for Japanese art with ease, elegance, humor and consummate erudition in an attractive volume printed on first-class paper and packed with quality color and black-and-white illustrations. What’s more, it isn’t a large format coffee-table book like Janson’s, which means a reader can actually curl up on a chair and read it quite comfortably. As Tsuji says, though, “to survey the vast sweep of Japanese art history was a great challenge and a daunting task;” but we are lucky that he also tells us “not only did no such book exist, but I needed one myself!”