Zen, Japanese Arts and Culture

Zen, Japanese Arts and Culture

A film made by NHK, and seemingly a companion piece to last week’s film about training in a Zen monastery, this documentary looks at how Zen has affected the arts and culture in Japan.

The film looks at many aspects of the arts and culture, including No Theatre, the tea ceremony, simplicity in architecture, and the fine arts: painting, black ink line painting, and other modes of expression, all of which have been influenced by Zen principals.

Near the end of the film we are given a set of seven aesthetics of Zen art, which I enumerate here:

1. Fukinsei, Asymmetry
2. Daisuzoku, Non attachment
3. Shizen, Naturalness
4. Kanso, Silence
5. Koko, Reasoned Austerity
6. Yugen, Profound Subtlety
7. Sei-Jaku, Tranquility

The film has a wonderful soundtrack by Toru Takemitsu which also incoporates these qualities. The film was directed by Toshimaro Ama.


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