Moon Through the Gate: Reflecting on Time/Space in Japanese Aesthetics


Aesthetics and the sense of beauty in Japan occupy a special place and are at the foundation of the Japanese national identity. In Japanese culture, every aspect of daily life can become an aesthetic experience. Objects and rituals have to be both beautiful and functional at the same time. This duet of beauty and functionality is illuminated by the constellation of a number of aesthetic concepts. Concept of MA which is often translated as “space between,” “mindful pause,” or as a “negative space” could also be understood as “active silence” or “presence of absence.” From architecture to literature, painting, calligraphy and culinary arts, MA is ever- present in performing arts, martial arts, and all “meditation in motion” practices. Japanese character for MA is part of such words as world, humankind, space, time, moment, circle of friends and many others. This paper will focus on MA in Chanoyu, commonly known as the Japanese tea ceremony, in particular, its applications to the contemplative pedagogy, the ways of teaching and learning of this discipline. The research is based on my students’ diaries, which is one of the components of the “Japanese Aesthetics” course taught in a Canadian university. Though Japanese aesthetic concepts are deeply rooted in the country’s cultural fabric, it doesn’t mean that they cannot appeal to the tastes of non-Japanese. Moreover, I argue that they can be successfully applied as a methodology in various disciplines, pedagogy in particular.

Author Information
Alexandre Avdulov, Saint Mary's University, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2023
Stream: Education / Pedagogy

This paper is part of the ACCS2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Avdulov A. (2023) Moon Through the Gate: Reflecting on Time/Space in Japanese Aesthetics ISSN: 2187-4751 The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon