A prodigious collector of the Japanese woodblock, James Michener, popular author of Sayonara and other books on the Far East, offers the reader a panoramic view of the acomplishments of the ukiyo-e (pictures of the fleeting world) masters over a period of two centuries. Illustrated with 257 plates, many of which are in color, this book reveals the meticulous artistry, the fluency of line, the force and the ingenious use of color with which the artists, on a flat surface, depicted the life of the Samurai, the pleasure houses, the Kabuki. To a great extent, mere exposure to this lavish display of prints should initiate enthusiasm in the reader. James Michener, who writes with the zeal of a veteran collector, with the clarity of a popular author, adds a further inducement by lucidly and knowledgeably reviewing his preferences. For the devotee of this medium his collection offers, at the least, a visual feast. For the novice, the text, the scholarly notes by Richard Lane, and the abundance of plates provide a stimulating introduction to a veritable treasure house of oriental artistry. Luxuriously bound, an ideal gift selection.