Amid the post-war turmoil, Imai Toshimitsu travelled alone to Paris in 1952 and became involved in the 'Art Informel' movement led by Michel Tapié. Imai returned to Japan temporarily in 1957 and together with Tapié, Georges Mathieu and Sam Francis, they created the Informel whirlwind that was to take over in the Japanese art scene. The Informel sought to overturn European aesthetic norms which had a profound effect on Japanese art as it had been constantly imitating Western art. During this time, Imai's focus on Japan gave him a clear sense of the traditional Japanese sensibilities that underpinned his work as a means of breaking through European stereotypes. He was very conscious of his roots which led him to emerge through the deadlock of Western art that had become "disconnected" from "life" by incorporating Japanese aesthetic that captures nature and art in tandem.