A TRACTATE ON JAPANESE AESTHETICS PDF

More titles may be available to you. Sign in to see the full collection. This provocative book is a tractate—a treatise—on beauty in Japanese art, written in the manner of a zuihitsu, a free-ranging assortment of ideas that "follow the brush" wherever it leads. Donald Richie looks at how perceptual values in Japan were drawn from raw nature and then modified by elegant expressions of class and taste. He explains aesthetic concepts like wabi, sabi, aware, and yugen, and ponders their relevance in art and cinema today. Donald Richie is the foremost explorer of Japanese culture in English, and this work is the culmination of sixty years of observing and writing from his home in Tokyo.

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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Donald Richie looks at how perceptual values in Japan were drawn from raw nature and then modified by elegant expressions of class and taste. He explains aesthetic concepts like wabi, sabi, aware, and yugen, and ponders their relevance in art and cinema today.

Donald Richie is the foremost explorer of Japanese culture in English, and this work is the culmination of sixty years of observing and writing from his home in Tokyo.

Get A Copy. Paperback , 80 pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics.

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics. May 18, Steve added it Shelves: asia-history-culture. As Richie explains in his preface, he has deliberately chosen to write A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics as a zuihitsu , the form in which many influential Japanese chose to address aesthetic matters.

Such an essay is not logically organized, not linear, not deductive. The author is supposed to "follow the brush" I suppose we must say follow the pen, though, now, are we to follow the keyboard? To heighten this, for him necessary, nonlinearity, he juxtapos As Richie explains in his preface, he has deliberately chosen to write A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics as a zuihitsu , the form in which many influential Japanese chose to address aesthetic matters.

To heighten this, for him necessary, nonlinearity, he juxtaposes alongside the main text further texts which enrich the reader's understanding but which he apparently felt that he could not work into the main text in a more organic manner.

I had no problem with this approach and regretted only that the book is so short. I wish Richie had further developed his sketch of how certain central aesthetic terms had evolved through time and had provided more of his aptly chosen examples to illustrate this evolution. I wish he had submitted the more secondary terms, whose existence he merely indicated, to the fuller treatment accorded to the primary terms. I further wish he had followed up the deliciously suggestive analogies between Japanese and Western aesthetics he so briefly drew.

Please, sir, may I have more? Oct 08, Jim rated it really liked it Shelves: asian-lit , philosophy. This is a useful book explaining what makes Japanese art, literature, and philosophy unique. Donald Richie has lived in Japan since the end of World War II and is responsible for a series of illuminating works, including an early survey on Japanese film. A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics is a short work with large implications: Many people everywhere spend their whole lives trying to escape the thought that one day they and all of theirs will be no more.

Only a few poets look at the fact, and onl This is a useful book explaining what makes Japanese art, literature, and philosophy unique. Only a few poets look at the fact, and only the japanese, I believe, celebrate it. This commemoration takes many forms but the most common might be looking into a mirror, seeing one more gray hair, discerning one more wrinkle, and then saying to oneself: "Good, all is well with the word -- things are proceeding as they must.

Precisissimo e curato molto bene. Jul 03, Justin Evans rated it liked it Shelves: philosophy. Richie claims to have written a zuihitsu; lots of high school students claim to have written haiku, as well, but, you know. They aren't Basho, and Richie is not Chomei. I'm not really the audience for this text, which feels very 'mystical East,' a feeling that is probably more about me than Richie, who obviously knows more about Japan than I will ever know; I'm just very sensitive i.

Read Richie claims to have written a zuihitsu; lots of high school students claim to have written haiku, as well, but, you know. Reading Japanese authors on this topic is more enjoyable, and not that hard to do; for those looking for a very easy way in, this is a flawed but approachable book. Mar 08, Powersamurai rated it it was amazing Shelves: japan-related , language , non-fiction , writing.

Dealing with Japanese aesthetic terms in translations is difficult, because the Japanese terms in themselves can be ambiguous depending on the context. Richie in this brief book does an excellent job in explaining where each term fits in the spectrum in relation to others and the world it describes. An invaluable reference for wordsmiths dealing with the word in relation to Japan.

Aug 17, Quiver rated it it was amazing Shelves: a-english , n-non-fiction , t-art , in-translation-ja-ko-zh. When seeking an introduction to an unfamiliar topic, I am wary of two types of books: the highly technical, impenetrable beasts dense with signs and meta-signs aimed at experts in a neighbouring field, and the colloquial, jokey-breezy anecdotal stories filled with mental candyfloss aimed as those seeking educational fairground entertainment.

Once in a while, I find myself in either readership, but usually I seek a middle ground, and even then I require a particularly fortuitous opening into a su When seeking an introduction to an unfamiliar topic, I am wary of two types of books: the highly technical, impenetrable beasts dense with signs and meta-signs aimed at experts in a neighbouring field, and the colloquial, jokey-breezy anecdotal stories filled with mental candyfloss aimed as those seeking educational fairground entertainment.

Once in a while, I find myself in either readership, but usually I seek a middle ground, and even then I require a particularly fortuitous opening into a subject that caters to my strengths and knowledge.

For example: If aesthetics in the West is mainly concerned with theories of art, that of Japan has always been concerned with theories of taste. What is beautiful depends not upon imagination as Addison thought nor qualities proper in the object as Hume said nor in its paradoxes as Kant maintained but rather on a social consensus. You may be unfamiliar with Addison, Hume, and Kant, yet the gist of what Richie is saying remains intact.

Likewise, familiarity with the names only enhances the experience. Richie covers a lot of details, though this is an eighty-page treatise, not a textbook or systematic study, so to some it may appear like the structure is haphazard. I enjoyed being free of a strict setup. Especially in such a vast subject as the aesthetics of another culture, following a formal learning curve can be overwhelming.

Having the informal structure allowed me to get a feeling for the ideas, without having to master volumes of terminology and history. Anecdotes helped. One famous anecdote illustrates his method. Hearing of it Hideyoshi demanded that he be invited to visit. So he was, but when he arrived all the morning glories were no more; they had all been scythed.

Perturbed, Hideyoshi retired to the nearby tea house, and there the modest flower arrangement in the alcove was a single morning glory, the only survivor, superb in its focused simplicity. The warlord is supposed to have stared, then nodded, and said that he understood the lesson.

The Glossary at the end defines succinctly the terms mentioned in the book. If I may tentatively use the terms I've learned in a fashion that Richie suggests is also possible applying them beyond art and to Western concepts too , I would say that the Tractate has a so-no-shin writing style informal formal and a shin-no-so structure formal informal. Though the words in the Glossary and my application of them in the previous sentence may give the appearance of simplicity, any simplicity—to use the word deliberately for its core relation to wabi and sabi —is deceptive.

Depths, I am now more motivated to see revealed. It is still believed that, although the elements found common to beauty are perhaps universal, it is their reception the universal standard that creates the excellence of the art. May 09, Keith Bouchard rated it really liked it. Hence its rules and regulations, its complications, and its numerous dicta to be observed.

Rikyu's garden of morning glories was known for its beauty. So he was, but when eh arrived all the morning glories were no m "Taste is an indication of an aesthetically legitimate dominance. So he was, but when eh arrived all the morning glories were no more; they had all be scythed. Perturbed, Hideyoshi retired to the nearby tea house, and there the modest flower arrangement int he alcove was a single morning glory, the only survivor, superb in its focused simplicity.

Only a few pots look at the fact, and only the Japanese, I believe, celebrate it. This commemoration takes many forms but the most common might be looking into a mirror, seeing one more gray hair, discerning one more wrinkle, and then saying to oneself: "Good, all is well with the world--things are proceeding as they must.

The form is kept though the contents evaporate. Permanence through materials Rather, the claims of immortality are honored in another way.

Here the paradigm would be the Shinto shrine of Ise, made of common, razed every twenty years an at the same time identically rebuilt on a neighboring plot. Oct 08, Nawfal rated it really liked it Shelves: asian , japanese , non-fiction. As a rule, I dislike rating non-fiction books. This little work 70 small pages is pocket-size, which is fine - it only claims to be a tractate.

I have had several helpings of ancient Chinese aesthetics as well as all the Western stuff. As such, I am giving this four stars.

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A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics

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Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, , 79 pp. Indeed there is, and Richie helps us more than anyone else has before in the English language, by explaining many of the essential aesthetic concepts needed for understanding and appreciation. For this he gleans from a variety of Western and Japanese sources, accumulating his pensees on the understanding of beauty into this thought-provoking treatise structured in the form of a zuihitsu — the traditional Japanese, free-ranging assortment of ideas that follows its own intuitive direction. Proceeding to apply his six decades of experience in Japan, Richie then games intelligently to clear the mist surrounding those indefinable perceptions of taste and beauty, and bring them into some sort of focus for those who are fascinated but often mystified by Japanese culture.

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A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics [Paperback]

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By Donald Richie. Donald Richie looks at how perceptual values in Japan were drawn from raw nature and then modified by elegant expressions of class and taste. He explains aesthetic concepts like wabi, sabi, aware, and yugen, and ponders their relevance in art and cinema today. Donald Richie is the foremost explorer of Japanese culture in English, and this work is the culmination of sixty years of observing and writing from his home in Tokyo. Among other ideas, Eastern aesthetics suggests that ordered structure contrives, that logical exposition falsifies, and that linear, consecutive argument eventually limits.

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