Education About Asia: Online Archives

Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture: An Illustrated Sourcebook

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For those interested in primary documents pertaining to Japanese culture, history, and philosophy, the Tsunoda Ryusaku, William Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene Sources of Japanese Tradition (1958) has been the standard sourcebook for nearly fifty years. Though it touches upon some aspects of Japanese aesthetics, space was limited. In Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture, Stephen Addiss, Gerald Groemer, and J. Thomas Rimer have created a complimentary collection of primary documents “about Japanese artistic and cultural traditions” (xii). The writings are not examples of Japanese prose, poetry, or theater, but rather are contemporary commentaries, treatises, and musings on the numerous artistic traditions found in Japan prior to the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The breadth of practices covered is impressive. Everything—from architecture, kagura, Buddhism, Shinto, court music, folk music, sculpture, waka, tanka, renga, haikai, haiku, all forms of prose, painting, calligraphy, gardens, shamans, puppetry, Buddhist chants, dengaku, sarugaku, noh, kyogen, the tea ceremony, woodblock prints, kabuki, flower arranging, to food and drink, as well as cultural concepts, such as mujo, aware, yugen, and wabi —is discussed.

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