Over the course of time, Japan eventually met the global trend towards westernization and modernization in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Suddenly faced with novel and exotic elements of Western civilization, Japan strived to absorb and comprehend elements of the West in many fields, including politics, economics, and culture. The arts were no exception, and by fusing the essence of Japanese traditions with those of the West, Japan entered a new era of aesthetics.
The development of art and culture in the Meiji period (1868-1912) was spurred and led by national policy. It included sending students to Europe to learn art and producing crafts that could be made for export. Western painting brought new techniques and perspectives that stimulated and brought innovation to Japanese art. Arts and crafts in this policy of westernization also witnessed the pursuit of realism and the use of unique materials to convey naturalism.