Japan is an archipelago of four major and numerous smaller islands. The islands lie in an arc across the Pacific coast of northeastern Asia. Japan’s closest neighbors are Korea and China, which both greatly inspired Japanese art and culture. For much of its history, the seas protected Japan from invasion, and over time foreign ideas were incorporated into a unique cultural setting.
The Japanese collection is second in size only to Chinese among the museum’s collections. Its fifty-five hundred Japanese art works, including ceramics, baskets, paintings, and prints, range from as early as 3000 BCE to the twenty-first century.