History of Japanese aesthetics 3: Muromachi and wabi-sabi

History of Japanese asethetics (3) reviews Muromachi era (1336-1573), which coinsided with the early Renaissance in Europe. However, Zen-influenced, minimalist aesthetics were the opposite of Renaissance.

“So-an,” the 1000-year-old Zen tiny house

The tiny house was already a “choice” for some 1,000 years ago. In medieval Japan, people called their version of the tiny house 草庵 (so-an), “thatched hut” away from home. Practitioners of Buddhism, artists and/or wanderers created the “tiny house movement” and created so-an as a base for freer, ideal life.

Tea ceremony and chashitsu: the ultimate example of Zen design

Chapter 3-2: Bonsai – the art of condensation

In the art of bonsai, a single tree is supposed to represent the condensed essence of the vast nature. There are five major types of bonsai: pines and oaks (evergreen), other plants (deciduous), flowers, fruits and grass. Find out more.

Chapter 3-3: Small is engaging – MUJI toothbrush stand

MUJI’s tiny porcelain toothbrush stand is one of MUJI’s most popular items. Customers buy them in bulk, often assortment of different colors, and use them for various purposes, not just as a toothbrush stand. Not only was the product well received, it unleashed users’ creativity.

Chapter 3-4: Tai’an – Rikyu’s microcosmic teahouse

“Tai-an” is the ultimate small tea hut, designed by the legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu. According to architect Kengo Kuma: “You won’t understand what Tai-an is all about until you actually crawl into this small hut and experience the very moment when the building, which is almost as small as your body, starts dissolving and enveloping your body softly and lightly, as if it were your clothes.”

Chapter 3-5: MUJI House – Edit your own life style

Abundance by absence in music: “Absolutely on Music” by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa

In his conversation with Haruki Murakami, Seiji Ozawa explains effective “ma” in music, a Japanese concept that places void in between sequences.