Japonism, or Japonisme, the original French term, was first used in 1872 by Jules Claretie in his book L’Art Francais en 1872 (published in that year) and by Philippe Burty. (1830-1890) in Japanisme III. La Renaissance Literaire et Artistique in the same year. Japanism might be considered a general term for the influence of the arts of Japan on those of the West, whereas in France Japanisme is applied to such influence and is in addition the name of a specfic French style. In England objects influenced by japanism have been termed Anglo -Japanese, from as early as 1851, according to Widar Halen in Christopher Dresser, 1990, p.33.
From the 1860s, ukiyo-e, Japanese wood-block prints, became a source of inspiration for many European impressionist painters in France and elsewhere, and eventually for Art Nouveau and Cubism. Artists were especially affected by the lack of perspective and shadow, the flat areas of strong color, the compositional freedom in placing the subject off-centre, with mostly a low diagonal axis to the background. Unlike other varieties of Orientalism, Japonism mostly involved Western artists using elements of Eastern styles in works showing their own culture; if only because of the difficulty of travel, there were relatively few artists attempting Eastern scenes in a Western style.