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The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums, by Sophie Richard.
The Japan Society, Nonfiction.

There is an abundance of art museums in Japan, with the Ministry of Culture counting more than 1,200. Bearing this in mind, it was always going to be ambitious for author Sophie Richard to turn “The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums” into an authoritative tome unless it came with a wheelbarrow to transport it home. The full-color guide contains detailed introductions of more than 50 museums that have been primarily selected for their individuality and the strength of their collections. But by only making passing references to the national museums of Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Kyushu — “as it is easy to find information on them in English” — and omitting others, the title is a little misleading and the contents are, ultimately, selective rather than absolute.