Okakura-Kakuzo, the author of this work and of "The Ideals of the East," was born in the year 1863. Having been, as he has said, "from early youth fond of old things," after leaving college in 1880 he interested himself in the formation of clubs and societies for archæological research. The Japanese Renaissance, begun at the end of the eighteenth century, suffered a brief check during the civil commotion following the opening of the country after the arrival of the American Commodore Perry. The work of Okakura was a resumption of that begun by the earlier scholars.
In 1886 this scholarly young enthusiast was sent to America and Europe as a commissioner to report on Western art education.