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Okakura Kakuzō (岡倉 覚三, February 14, 1862 – September 2, 1913) (also known as 岡倉 天心 Okakura Tenshin) was a Japanese scholar who contributed to the development of arts in Japan. Outside of Japan, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of The Book of Tea.
Born in Yokohama to parents originally from Fukui, Okakura learned English while attending a school operated by Christian missionary, Dr. Curtis Hepburn. At 15, he entered Tokyo Imperial University, where he first met and studied under Harvard-educated professor Ernest Fenollosa. In 1889, Okakura co-founded the periodical Kokka. A year later he was one of the principal founders of the first Japanese fine-arts academy, the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (東京美術学校 Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō), and a year later became its head, although he was later ousted from the school in an administrative struggle. Later, he also founded the Japan Art Institute with Hashimoto Gahō and Yokoyama Taikan. He was invited by William Sturgis Bigelow to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1904 and became the first head of the Asian art division in 1910.
Okakura was a high-profile urbanite who had an international sense of self. In the Meiji period he was the first dean of the Tokyo Fine Arts School (later merged with the Tokyo Music School to form the current Tokyo University of the Arts). He wrote all of his main works in English. Okakura researched Japan's traditional art and traveled to Europe, the United States, China and India. He emphasised the importance to the modern world of Asian culture, attempting to bring its influence to realms of art and literature that, in his day, were largely dominated by Western culture.
His book, The Ideals of the East (1904), published on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War, is famous for its opening line, "Asia is one." He argued that Asia is "one" in its humiliation, of falling behind in achieving modernization, and thus being colonized by the Western powers. This was an early expression of Pan-Asianism. Later Okakura felt compelled to protest against a Japan that tried to catch up with the Western powers, but by sacrificing other Asian countries in the Russo-Japanese War.
In Japan, Okakura, along with Fenollosa, is credited with "saving" Nihonga, or painting done with traditional Japanese technique, as it was threatened with replacement by Western-style painting, or "Yōga", whose chief advocate was artist Kuroda Seiki. In fact this role, most assiduously pressed after Okakura's death by his followers, is not taken seriously by art scholars today, nor is the idea that oil painting posed any serious "threat" to traditional Japanese painting. Yet Okakura was certainly instrumental in modernizing Japanese aesthetics, having recognized the need to preserve Japan's cultural heritage, and thus was one of the major reformers during Japan's period of modernization beginning with the Meiji Restoration.
Outside of Japan, Okakura had an impact on a number of important figures, directly or indirectly, who include philosopher Martin Heidegger, poet Ezra Pound, and especially poet Rabindranath Tagore and heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner, who were close personal friends of his.
- The Ideals of the East (London: J. Murray, 1903)
- The Awakening of Japan (New York: Century, 1904)
- The Book of Tea (New York: Putnam's, 1906) : 
- 'Ambassador of Tea Culture to the West' (biography of Okakura), Andrew Forbes and David Henley, The Illustrated Book of Tea (Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books, 2012).
- Gosling, Andrew (2011). Asian Treasures: Gems of the Written Word. National Library of Australia. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-642-27722-0.
- Rupert Richard Arrowsmith, "The Transcultural Roots of Modernism: Imagist Poetry, Japanese Visual Culture, and the Western Museum System", Modernism/modernity Volume 18, Number 1, January 2011, 27-42. ISSN: 1071-6068.
- Video of a Lecture discussing the importance of Japanese culture to the Imagists, London University School of Advanced Study, March 2012.
- Bharucha, Rustom. Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-568285-8.
- "We Must Do a Better Job of Explaining Japan to the World". Asahi Shimbun, August 12, 2005.
- Benfey, Christopher. The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan. New York: Random House, 2003. ISBN 0-375-50327-7.
- Okakura Kakuzo, The Illustrated Book of Tea. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. 2012. ASIN: B009033C6M
- Westin, Victoria. Japanese Painting and National Identity: Okakura Tenshin and His Circle. Center for Japanese Studies University of Michigan (2003). ISBN 1-929280-17-3
- The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo
- "History of Japanese Art" by Okakura Kakuzo (English Translation)
- "Japan as Museum" An essay by famous intellectual Kojin Karatani.
- Works by Okakura Kakuzo at Project Gutenberg
- Kokka and the Early Neo-Bengal School Masters by Satyasri Ukil
- An Artist Remembered by Satyasri Ukil
- Forget Okakura by Niraj Kumar