The Theory of Beauty in the Classical Aesthetics of Japan

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Springer Science & Business Media, Feb 28, 1981 - Philosophy - 167 pages
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The Japanese sense of beauty as actualized in innumerable works of art, both linguistic and non-linguistic, has often been spoken of as something strange to, and remote from, the Western taste. It is, in fact, so radically different from what in the West is ordinarily associated with aesthetic experience that it even tends to give an impression of being mysterious, enigmatic or esoteric. This state of affairs comes from the fact that there is a peculiar kind of metaphysics, based on a realization of the simultaneous semantic articulation of consciousness and the external reality, dominating the whole functional domain of the Japanese sense of beauty, without an understanding of which the so-called 'mystery' of Japanese aesthetics would remain incomprehensible. The present work primarily purports to clarify the keynotes of the artistic experiences that are typical of Japanese culture, in terms of a special philosophical structure underlying them. It consists of two main parts: (1) Preliminary Essays, in which the major philosophical ideas relating to beauty will be given a theoretical elucidation, and (2) a selection of Classical Texts representative of Japanese aesthetics in widely divergent fields of linguistic and extra-linguistic art such as the theories of waka-poetry, Noh play, the art of tea, and haiku. The second part is related to the first by way of a concrete illustration, providing as it does philological materials on which are based the philosophical considerations of the first part.
 

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Contents

The aesthetic structure of waka
3
2 Waka as a poeticlinguistic field
5
3 Kokoro the creative Ground of waka
6
4 Kokoro omoi and kotoba
9
5 The ideal waka the excelling exemplar
11
6 The rectification of kokoro
12
8 The aesthetic value of yojō
14
9 The supremacy of yojō
15
Haiku an existential event
62
2 The haii or haiku spirit
64
3 The dynamics of the SubjectObject encounter
66
4 Fūganomakoto
69
5 Fueki constancy and ryūkō transiency
70
6 Yohaku blank space and the poetic field of haiku
73
Notes
75
TEXTS
77

10 The mode of Ushin
16
11 The role of Naturedescription in waka
17
12 Naturedescription and yojō
19
13 Nature as a cognitivefield
21
Notes
24
The metaphysical background of the theory of Noh an analysis of Zeamis Nine Stages
26
2 Subjectobject relationship in the Japanese way of thinking
29
3 Dimension of being and dimension of Nothingness in Japanese thinking
30
4 The contemplative field
32
5 The Nine Stages
35
Notes
44
The way of tea an art of spatial awareness
46
2 Metaphysics of wabi
48
3 Spatial awareness and the creative subjectivity in the art of tea
55
Notes
61
Maigetsushō
79
Notes
95
The Nine Stages
97
The Process of Training in the Nine Stages Appendix to The Nine Stages
101
Notes
104
Observations on the Disciplinary Way of Noh
105
Notes
114
Collecting Gems and Obtaining Flowers
115
Notes
134
A Record of Nanbō
135
Notes
158
The Red Booklet
159
Notes
167
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About the author (1981)

Toshihiko Izutsu is Professor Emeritus at Keio University of Japan. A world authority on Islamic thought, he taught for ten years in Iran and has been active in promoting transcultural dialogue in philosophy.

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