Japanese traditional culture



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With thousands of years of history, Japan is well-known for its unique traditional culture which has been preserved by the Japanese people since ancient times. Defeated in World War II, from a poor country in East Asia, Japan has rapidly revived and become one of the leading industrial nations in the world. In the development path of the country, Japanese culture is an intrinsic factor and a positive force to promote the change of the country. It has given a unique feature to the Japanese lifestyle.

Calligraphy

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The Japanese began to learn the art of calligraphy from mid 5th and 7th century AD. Since then, calligraphy has became a popular art of the land of the rising Sun. There are 2,136 kanji characters in Japanese that Japanese children have to learn from their early years. These hieroglyphic characters are ingeniously transmitted on white papers by calligraphy artists, creating meaningful artistic lettering which shows the artist’s soul.

Ikebana

Ikebana or traditional Japanese flower arrangement. Two women in kimono are arranging flowers while being seated on tatami (rice mats). In the back shoji (paper sliding-door) decorated with a painting of flowers can be seen. Original text: "Arranging Flowers. The arrangement of flowers is both an art and a science in Japan. The guiding principle is not contrast or color, but linear effect, and a certain symmetry without regularity. Traditional rules established by the various' flower schools' have prevailed since the sixteenth century. The subject, which is intricate and difficult, cannot be fully appreciated by a foreigner, but those who have studied it carefully assert that it is immeasurably superior to the barbaric massing of colors that constitutes the whole of the corresponding art of the West." Albumen photograph sourced by Kozaburo Tamamura (1856-1923?), 1890s, for "Japan, Described and Illustrated by the Japanese", Shogun Edition edited by Captain F Brinkley. Published in 1897 by J B Millet Compan

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Ikebana is the Japanese cultural practice of flower arrangement. Unlike the Western art of floral arranging, Japanese people follow the standards of aesthetics, in relation to the philosophy of life and humanity. Ikebana also represents the harmony with nature through the line and form of the plants and flowers used to create a perfect arrangement. There are 500 schools of Ikebana, among which, Ikenobo school is the most ancient one.

Pottery

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Japanese pottery has been popular since the 17th century. The art has been flourishing due to the increasingly important role of Chanoyu in the cultural life of the Japanese people. Currently in Japan, there are about 54 locals that produce pottery. Kyoto, Yokohama, Nagoya, Nagasaki are well-known for ceramic. Edo is the period when the Japanese pottery art flourished most. At this time Japanese artists created many different kinds of pottery such as the green celadon, white porcelain, paint staining ceramic and ceramic products with patterns.

Woodblock printing

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The art of  Japanese Woodblock printing strongly flourished 200 years ago. Famous prints were copied into thousands of samples and people bought paintings with the price of a bowl of noodle. Once setting foot in Japan, you might have a chance to see Ukiyo-e, a prominent kind of traditional woodblock printing in numerous popular forms of art in this country.

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It takes a lot of time and effort to complete an Ukiyo-e work. Under the traditional method, initially, the artists have to sketch in black ink. Then, they continue to create a more complete version called hanshita. After that, this new version is printed on wooden panels called sumiita. Finally, the painters will revise and add color for paintings before making a sale in the market.

Bonsai

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Bonsai are miniature trees with the shape of hundred-year-old ancient trees which are scaled by the high aesthetic technique. Bonsai artists have turned countless trees into old tiny tree with many shapes and different meaning.

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For these artists, each bonsai is an artwork. Bonsai originates from China under the Qin Dynasty. In the 8th century AD, the Japanese considered Bonsai as the true art. However, until the Tokugaw-Edo Period (1603 – 1867) the heyday of Bonsai really started.

Origami

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Origami is an ancient Japanese art. Initially it was a royal-pastime. In recent centuries, origami has become a kind of folk art. Today, origami is not only popular in the daily life of Japanese people but also familiar with people in many different countries.

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Only by using a colored sheet of paper, you can create many patterns like animals, geometric shapes, toys, flowers and masks,… Origami can encourages attentiveness, provokes the imagination and forges for the flexible fingers…

 

 

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