Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mono no Aware

For those of us new to this,this japanese concept implies a sense of ephemera, knowing how fleeting all things are, and how things that are transient are somehow more sadly beautiful. Evenescent beauty is what is captured.Mono no aware is the perspective of a tired, relaxed, even disappointed observer. The scholar Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801) invented this unique concept to define the essence of Japanese culture (the phrase derives from aware, which means “a sensitivity to things”). He believed that the Japanese encompassed the capacity to experience the objective world in a direct and unmediated fashion, to understand sympathetically the objects and the natural world around one without resorting to language or other mediators. This concept became the central aesthetic concept in Japan, even into the modern period, allowing the Japanese to understand the world directly by identifying themselves with that world. This is probably why sakura or cherry blossoms are so important to Japan.

I've been glued to the Japanese Writer Kazuo Ishiguro for quite a while now,he has iconically captured mono no aware,in Steven's (from "The Remains of the Day") eyes,in Kathy's (from "Never Let me Go") love.

Looking for a book to pick up? Ishiguro won't disappoint!


abynav said...

This evanescent feeling that one gets at the loss of something beautiful, or in other words, 'mono no aware' can also be seen in Haruki Murakami's works. Particularly, in 'norwegian wood'.
Haruki is one of the more western-culture influenced japanese writer and a staunch worshipper of Kafka.

This feeling tht u chose to highlight is indeed special, for it emanates from two tangential thoughts - sadness & beauty.

I hvnt read Ishiguro yet, but am gonna do it soon !

el scorcho said...

Maybe you should try reaching farther back - Kawabata. I don't think contemporary authors are capable of handling mono no aware. Go back to his short novels like thousand cranes where there is no obvious attempt but it leaves you railed.

Jasmine said...

And I did pick up Kawabata,and well,...

SarahJane said...

I love Ishiguro, too. I haven't read his new one (stories), and probably won't as I've heard it isn't so good. But with the exception of "The Unconsoled," which was a little rambling, I've loved his writing.
Have you read John Banville? You might like him.

Jasmine said...

I have The Sea tucked away somewhere, will try to fish it out.
"You might like him"; :)
I'm so addicted to the librarything "Will you like it?" section,it is mostly accurate as well!