quinta-feira, 31 de maio de 2012

Hanabi: Fireworks

"Fireworks fall, leavingg a single star"(Hoitsu).
Fireworks are often called the art of the ephemeral, but I'm not so sure about this. I wonder whether the love of fireworks really has anything in common with reverence for the cherry blossoms, though both scatter and fall bravely. 
One can certainly say, as Ogatsu Kyosuke did in his book "Fireworks: The Art of Fire", that "Fireworks blossom gorgeously in the sky and next moment fade away. It is this expendability that constitutes their beauty; the art of fireworks is an art of complete consumption in which nothing remains behind." No doubt many would agree. 

quarta-feira, 30 de maio de 2012

Butsudan:Household Buddhist Altar

Butsudan (a household Buddhist altar) is a rather bewildering subject for us in modern times. The cause of our perplexity is the general form and ornamentation of the butsudan. 
The Japanese lifestyle has gone through many changes over the years and today it has come to the point where it does not differ much from the lifestyle in Europe or America. Domestic interiors are highly modern in style and the cuisine is diverse. Yet, the overall image of the Japanese lifestyle remains unchanged and typically Japanese. For example, taking one's shoes off inside the house is a way of living the serves to preserve the culture unique to Japan. By encountering different lifestyles all over the world, we realize that our way of living is quite exceptional. We sometimes come across the debate as to whether or not tradition in Japan has been completely lost. As far as the visual tradition mainly in decoration is concerned, the tradition may indeed have been lost. However, the unique spiritual qualities found in the society, whether for good or for bad, has not changed very much. The possibilities indicated by modern technology create a unique form in our living environment. We have achieved a combination of a typically Japanese way of living and technology. Many things have gained renewed images and been altered to fit the modern lifestyle. Nevertheless, the butsudan remains unchanged is its time-worn form. Is it forbidden to change the form and ornamentation of the butsudan?

segunda-feira, 21 de maio de 2012

Provinces and capitals of Japan  都道府県

Hokkaido 北海道県 - Sapporo 札幌市
Aomori 青森県 - Aomori 青森市
Akita 秋田県 - Akita 秋田市
Iwate 岩手県 - Morioka 盛岡市
Yamagata 山形県 - Yamagata 山形市
Miyagi 宮城県 - Sendai 仙台市
Niigata 新潟県 - Niigata 新潟市
Fukushima 福島県 - Fukushima 福島市

sexta-feira, 18 de maio de 2012

Seifuku: Uniforms

In wartime uniforms are necessary to avoid mistakenly shooting your own men.They are also necessary to distinguish sides in competitive sports. In a department store they can be useful for telling clerks and customers apart.
The Japanese first began wearing occupational uniforms in the early years of the Meiji period after the class system of warrior, peasant, artisan,and merchant was discontinued. Uniforms make it easier for a person in authority to control the people under him. If the job is a desirable one, however, a person might want to wear the uniform or respect a person wearing it regardless of his position.

quarta-feira, 16 de maio de 2012


Tatami is the standard Japanese floor mat, thick and stiff, but the verb form of this noun is tatamu, meaning to fold. Originally it was a floor covering thin enough to be folded, and it had to be of a certain size for folding to take place. Its size and form were closely related to the human hands and the skills which went into its manufacture and use. The tatami mat is the product of an extensive cultural and historical heritage. It has a particularly close relation-ship to human dwelling styles and ways of sitting.
Another early invention was the lid. Making a lid fit a container was an epoch-making achievement in the history of ceramics. Great skill was required to make the lid fit the body. This invention was based on the need for cleanliness and preservation of food. The concept of cleanliness was important in making the distinction between the human and the divine. This was not a simple invention.


The defining characteristic of ukiyoe is that it is a color woodblock print. It is a mass-produced color picture. Color lithography became common in the West in the 19th century, but nishikie (color woodblock printing) appeared in Japan fifty years earlier. The advent of woodblock prints in Japan allowed pictures - heretofore single items - to be produced at a rate of 200 copies  for each first edition. In other words, ukiyoe was the driving force in the popularization of fine art.
Already more than two hundred years ago, the Japanese people were able to draw, appreciate, and posses pictures and it was possible to interpret and absorb the visual meanings inherent in them according to their own values.


Kabuki was drama for the chōnin (trading) class in the Edo period. It was not for the samurai class. On this point, it differs from Shakespeare or Molière, whose audience was the nobility. In the film "Amadeus", there is an opera house for the people, to which the unfortunate Mozart is invited and decides to compose "The Magic Flute". Kabuki in the Edo period was close to that.
Kabuki was also a drama that covered all cultural and performing arts that existed in Japan prior to it. There was "singing" and "narrating". There was "dancing" and "gliding". "Singing" meant waka (Japanese poem), kayō (song), rōei (recitation), and yōkyoku (noh song), "Narrating" covered speech, story-telling, biwa-no-kyoku (narration accompanied by a Japanese lute), jōruri (ballad drama). "Gliding" was the noh and kyōgen of medieval times, whereas "dancing" was the "kabuki dance" of early modern days, Speech in kabuki borrowed directly from the manner in renga-haikai.