Samurai • Professional Japanese warriors who swore absolute loyalty to their overlord and practiced BUSHIDO or THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR, a code of behavior based on honor. • Ronin were unemployed Samurai.
Shogun-Military leader of Japan • Tokugawa Ieyas (1542-1616) was one of the first and most powerful Shoguns. His rule began 265 years of peace. • This is his armor. “If a bird doesn’t sing, I’ll wait for it to sing.”
A samurai's principles were: • loyalty to his master • self discipline • respectful/ethical behavior • if defeated or dishonored, a samurai should commit ritual suicide - seppuku
Shinto -The Way of the Spirits • Has no founder or sacred texts. • Evolved from a belief in nature spirits, called KAMI. Kami are worshipped and can take the form of natural objects (mountains, wind, rain) or abstract things like goodness or fertility, ancestors or national heros. • Kami can be anything that inspires awe or reverence.
Chief God is the Sun Goddess. • Man is seen as inherently good and pure, who is corrupted by outside influences • Shintoism - natural state of the cosmos is one of harmony - divine, natural, and human elements are all intimately related.
Kabuki Theatre • Kabuki was begun by a shrine maiden named Okuni in the 17th century. • Kabuki combines music, dance and song with beautiful costumes. • All parts are played by men. • Plays are about the historical Edo period (1600-1800s).
Noh Drama • Very formal and stylized, Noh is also performed by men. • Masks represent various emotions and characters: vengeful ghost, holy man, warrior, lady, etc.
Noh is very unrealistic-for ex., the passage of years might be shown by the movement of a fan. • Frequently there are only 2 main characters, a restless ghost and a wandering priest.
Bonsai Trees • The art of growing dwarf trees in shallow pots. • Brought to Japan by Zen Buddhist monks, the art is very symbolic. • Tree is planted to one side (asymmetrical) because the center is where heaven & earth meet and must remain empty. • The tree symbolizes the unity between God, man, and nature.
Tea Ceremony • Cha no yu or Tea Ceremony is a very intricate ritual that evolved. Zen monks brought green tea to Japan from China. • The wars between various clans caused much animosity. The tea ceremony evolved to bring a moment of peace and harmony between people. The ritual must be conducted with no mistakes.
Haiku poetry • Brief, unrhymed poem, 3 lines long • 1st line has 5 syllables • 2nd line has 7 syllables • 3 line has 5 syllables • Haikus present simple images and moods, sort of a “snapshot” of a moment.
Japanese gardens • In contrast to the geometrically arranged plants of a Western-style garden, the Japanese garden creates a scenic composition that mimics nature. • It was once believed that any place surrounded by stones was inhabited by the gods.
Garden designers followed 3 basic principles: • reduced scale - nature in miniature • symbolization - white sand symbolizes water • borrowed views - using views outside the garden (mountains, for example)
Two main styles • Tsukiyama (wet style) - small hills and stones rep. Mountains; pond rep. Ocean • Karensasui –(dry style) influenced by Zen Buddhism - white sand = ocean, stones = hills
Zen Buddhism • Emphasized meditation, concentration and self-discipline as the way to enlightenment. • Samurai were attracted to Zen because of its simplicity and self-discipline and applied it to the martial arts. • Zen monks try to confuse their students at first, to teach them to abandon pre-conceived ideas. • Koans-a subject to meditate upon; usually a paradoxical statement to test enlightenment.
Koans-Zen exercises • What is the sound of 1 hand clapping? • A monk asked Ummon, “What is Buddha?” Ummon answered him: Dried dung.This teaches non-differentiation (everything is one), even lowly dung. It also is a good testing koan, to see who can tell the difference between Buddhism and a piece of crap.
Ukiyo-e – “pictures of the floating world” • Japanese paintings of the “floating world” pleasure district of Edo. These are unique creations of the Edo period in Japan.