chenqirong asked:

I'm interested in knowing more of this peculiar Japanese concept of beauty, both classic and contemporary. Is there any other unique Japanese words describing arts & aesthetics that you can share? Thanks.

word-stuck:

9 Elements of Japanese Aesthetics

1. “Imperfection”: Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is the beauty of things that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

Wabi is the quality of a rustic, yet refined, solitary beauty. Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age - the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable.

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As things come and go, they show signs of their coming or going and these signs are considered to be beautiful.

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Sakura 桜 (cherry blossoms) in spring or Koyo 紅葉 (autumn colors) in fall represents wabi-sabi - they are aesthetically pleasing because they don’t last.

2. “Elegance”: Miyabi (雅) is about elegance, refinement, or courtliness. Sometimes refers to a “heart-breaker”, Miyabi demanded the elimination of anything that was absurd or vulgar.

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Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺(Temple of the Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto, Japan.

3. “Subtle”: Shibui (渋い) or shibusa (渋さ) is a simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. It means that things are more beautiful when they speak for themselves.

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A Bizen sake carafe. The beauty of it doesn’t need announcement; its quality speaks for itself. It involves the maturity, complexity, history, and patina that only time can bring.

4. “Originality”: Iki (粋) is about a refined uniqueness. It is an expression of simplicity, sophistication, spontaneity, and originality. Iki is also about originality, uniqueness and spontaneity that is more audacious and unselfconscious while still remaining measured and controlled. 

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Kimonos were simple and minimal, often striped and coloured to deep shades of blues and greys on the surface. However, the insides were lined with opulent silk, designed so that only the sophisticated could recognise their secret luxury.

On the other hand, a geisha 芸者 also embodies Iki  - they are beautiful, sophisticated but they don’t have the intention to stand out. They combine sassiness with innocence, sexiness with restraint.

5. “Slow, accelerate, end”: Jo-ha-kyū (序破急) infers a tempo that begins slowly, accelerates, and then ends swiftly. 

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The idea of jo-ha-kyū is used by Japanese traditional arts such as tea ceremony and martial arts.

6. “Mysterious”: Yūgen (幽玄) triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words. It shows that real beauty exists when, through its suggestiveness, only a few words, or few brush strokes, can suggest what has not been said or shown, and hence awaken many inner thoughts and feelings.

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The Dragon of Smoke Escaping from Mt Fuji (Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾 北斎)

7. “Discipline and Ethics”: Geidō (芸道) refers to the various traditional Japanese arts disciplines: Noh (能) (theater), kadō (華道)(Japanese flower arrangement), shodō (書道) (Japanese calligraphy), Sadō (茶道) (Japanese tea ceremony), and yakimono (焼物) (Japanese pottery). All of these disciplines carry an ethical and aesthetic connotation and teach an appreciation of the process of creation.

Hence, ethics and discipline make things more attractive.

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Japanese martial arts aren’t about the result: defeating your enemy. They’re about the path that gets you there. They see no value in a short cut — even when the end result is the same.

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Japanese tea ceremony: A cup of tea is trivial compared with the process of making, serving and consuming the tea. The process is the art.

8. “The Void”: Ensō (円相) means “circle”. It is a form of the art of minimalism common in Japanese designs and aesthetics.  It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void.

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In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create.

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At first glance, an ensō may appear to be just a circle. But its symbolism represents the spiritual growth of the artist – the brushwork, which include dragging, pressing, and sweeping techniques, reveals the depth of enlightenment he/she has reached up to that point. “It is said to be a picture of the mind” explains award winning calligrapher Shoho Teramoto, “because the circle projects one’s mind directly.”

9. “Cute”: Kawaii (かわいい) is the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture. It has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, behavior, and mannerisms.

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Nippon Airways’ Pokemon Jet.

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Kawaii in Japanese sushi.

Questions I may or may not want to be asked:

  • 1. What can you see that is blue besides your tumblr dashboard?
  • 2. What have you eaten today?
  • 3. What is your favorite food?
  • 4. What is your favorite color?
  • 5. What is your least favorite color?
  • 6. Who was your last kiss with? Was it pleasant?
  • 7. What color shoes did you last wear?
  • 8. What is your biggest vice?
  • 9. Who has made you laugh the hardest in the last week?
  • 10. What is your favorite scent?
  • 11. What is your occupation? Do you enjoy it?
  • 12. What is your favorite season? Why?
  • 13. Can you do a handstand or cartwheel?
  • 14. What color are your nails?
  • 15. If you had to get a tattoo on your face to save your life, what would it be?
  • 16. Describe your bedroom.
  • 17. What is something you find romantic?
  • 18. On average, how many hours per day do you spend on your computer?
  • 19. Are you happy?
  • 20. Is there anything in particular making you happy or sad?
  • 21. Dogs or Cats?
  • 22. Which do you prefer: a museum, a night club, the forest or a library?
  • 23. What is your style?
  • 24. If you could be doing anything you like right now, what would it be?
  • 25. Who is the closest person to you?
  • 26. What is the best movie you have ever seen?
  • 27. Are you in a relationship or single?
  • 28. What makes you attracted to the person you like right now?
  • 29. If you could replace your partner/best friend with a celebrity of your choice, would you? Who with?
  • 30. What is something most people don't know about you?
  • 31. Are you holding on to something you need to let go of?
  • 32. How did you celebrate last Halloween?
  • 33. Have you recently made any big decisions?
  • 34. Name three things that you and the person asking you this question have in common.
  • 35. Were you ever in a school play?
  • 36. What movie would you use to describe your life?
  • 37. Is there something you have dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?
  • 38. Complete this sentence, "I wish I had someone with whom I could share..."
  • 39. If you could invent a new flavor of ice cream, what would it be?
  • 40. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  • 41. Who is a famous person you have been compared to?
  • 42. What are two things that irritate you about the same sex?
  • 43. What are two things that irritate you about the opposite sex?
  • 44. What is the best thing that has happened to you this week?
  • 45. What is something that makes you sad when you think about it?
  • 46. Would you rather be stranded on a desert island with someone you love for ten years, or someone you hate for one month?
  • 47. How long was your longest relationship?
  • 48. Have you ever been in love?
  • 49. Are you currently in love?
  • 50. Why did your last relationship end?
  • 51. Would you rather live in a castle or a spaceship?
  • 52. What jewellery are you wearing right now, and where did you get it?
  • 53. Name three things which attracted you to your current crush.
  • 54. Is there something you have been keeping a secret?
  • 55. When was the last time you cried and why?
  • 56. Name someone pretty.
  • 57. Do you have an ex who's name starts with a "J"?
  • 58. What did you receive last Valentines Day?
  • 59. Do you get jealous easily?
  • 60. Do you believe in the phrase, "If its meant to be, it will be?"
  • 61. Have you ever cheated on someone?
  • 62. Have you ever been cheated on?
  • 63. Do you trust your partner/best friend?
  • 64. What is something you should be doing right now? Go do it.

Ok, so presentation finished and ready to present tomorrow. Think it gets across my theme for major project - Time and why I want to research it, and has good examples of time in design….. Fingers crossed for tomorrow