Okakura Kakuzo was born in 1862, the son of a merchant. He learnt English as a child and went on to study languages at Tokyo University. There, he started a movement to preserve Japanese culture from the rise of modernism and westernization. At the age of only twenty-nine he was made principle of the National Art School and many of his students went on to become famous artists. In 1898 he resigned to found a dissident school of art. To raise funds, he travelled to America where he found a wealthy and interested patron in Mrs Isabella Gardner, ‘Queen of Boston’. Now a successful artist, he was also appointed curator of Chinese and Japanese art at the Boston Museum. A dramatic and extrovert character, he wrote The Book of Tea in 1906 and died seven years later, in 1913.