Studies of a single country's art history today are no longer unilateral but are increasingly transcending national boundaries and influencing the studies of artwork of different countries around the world. Studies of Japanese art history have sought to understand how particular artwork has been influenced by other work. Major progress has been made in such eff orts. However, as meticulous comparison of artwork has become such a dominant part of the entire discipline, it has ended up distorting the flow of art history. Studies of Japanese art history will have to move beyond their fixation on identifying influences between artworks, and promote more "synchronic" studies of art history that examine art within a larger context.