Flowers, Birds, Wind, and Moon
The Phenomenology of Nature in Japanese Culture
Translated by David Noble
Published Titles / Culture
Published by JPIC | 978-4-86658-139-2 (Hardcover) | 320 pages | 220mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2020
About the Book
Japanese culture is deeply rooted in nature—from literature to the visual arts, and from religious practice to daily life. How, when, and why this close association with nature developed is explored in this book by bestselling author Matsuoka Seigow. Using ten key motifs—mountains, paths, deities, wind, birds, flowers, buddhas, time, dreams, and moon—each of which serves as a lens on different aspects of Japanese culture, Matsuoka ranges from history and ethnology to the arts.
He also explores the insights that emerge when traditional sensibilities are examined from the perspective of modern science. Japanese concepts of time, interval, and otherness, though arrived at intuitively, overlap with how contemporary fields such as quantum physics and relativity theory grapple with issues of uncertainty, indeterminacy, and ambiguity.
Matsuoka proposes that throughout history, the phenomena of nature and the kaleidoscope of seasonal change have functioned as a system of recombinant codes for the expression of the Japanese sensibility. This unique multimedia system for the cultural construction of nature has generated the essential creative motifs of Japanese literature, fine arts, and craft, which in turn have shaped every aspect of Japanese life and thought.
About the Author
Matsuoka Seigo (b. 1944) is executive director of the Editorial Engineering Laboratory (EEL), known for research and development in information culture and technology. He is also president of ISIS (Interactive System of Inter Scores) Editorial School, in Tokyo. In his twenties, he founded the popular arts magazine Yū, which published until 1982. He developed a unique methodological worldview, which he calls “editorial engineering.” His ideas are published in innovative forms spanning the written word, film and video, multimedia, and the internet. Major published works include Kokka to “watakushi” no yukue (My Future and the Future of the Nation, Shunjūsha, 2015); Nihon to Nippon: Yomitobashi Nihon bunkafu (Nihon and Nippon: A Quick Guide to Japanese Culture, Kōsakusha, 2014); Nihon ryū (The Japanese Way, Chikuma Shobō, 2009); Nihon suki (Japanese Taste, Chikuma Shobō, 2007); Nihon to iu hōhō: Omokage, usturoi no bunka (Japan as Method: A Culture of Fleeting Images, NHK Shuppan, 2006); Furajairu: Yowasa kara no shuppatsu (Fragile: Starting from Weakness, Chikuma Shobō, 2005); Kūkai no yume (Dreams of Kūkai, rev. ed., Shunjūsha, 2005); Runatikkusu: Tsuki o yūgaku suru (Lunatics: Voyages of Discovery about the Moon, Chūōkōron Shinsha, 2005); and Chi no henshūkōgaku (Editorial Engineering for Intelligence, Asahi Shimbunsha, 2001). Sen’ya sensatsu (A Thousand Books for a Thousand Nights; https://1000ya.isis.ne.jp) is a popular book navigation website launched by Matsuoka in 2000. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo (1994–97) and a professor at Tezukayama Gakuin University (1998–2004), in Osaka.
Original Japanese Edition / 原書情報