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Evanescence and Form : An Introduction to Japanese Culture - Charles Shiro Inouye

Evanescence and Form

An Introduction to Japanese Culture

Paperback

Published: 1st September 2008
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If we thought that reality were changeable, fragile, and fleeting, would we take life more seriously or less seriously? This book contemplates the notion of hakanasa, the evanescence of all things, as understood by the Japanese. Their lived responses to this idea of impermanence have been various and even contradictory. Asceticism, fatalism, conformism. Hedonism, materialism, careerism. What this array of responses have in common are, first, a grounding in hakanasa, and, second, an emphasis on formality. Evanescence and Etiquette attempts to illuminate for the first time the ties between an epistemology of constant change and Japan's formal emphasis on etiquette and visuality.

"As I Read Charles Shiro Inouye s Evanescence and Form, a study of Japanese culture from its ancient beginnings to the present, I thought again and again how fortunate his students are to be guided by such an extraordinary teacher. He writes as he might address a class or perhaps a group of friends, using skill and wit to transmit in easy to understand language his exceptional knowledge of the culture of Japan and his perceptions of what makes it distinctive. This discussion of the role of evanescence is the religious life and arts of Japan is in every way outstanding." - Donald Keene, Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature, Columbia University

"Charles Inouye s brilliant study of evanescence guides us through Japan s long and complex cultural and social history. His sensitive, often provocative, readings are rendered in a lucid, accessible style. A great book for anyone beginning an exploration of Japan." - Keiko McDonald, Professor of Japanese Literature and Cinema, University of Pittsburgh

"Charles Inouye's intensely personal, indeed eloquent, survey of Japanese culture - from animism to anime - illuminates its paradoxical deepest themes. More than an introduction, it reveals what has so often been obscured by stereotypes." - Howard Hibbett, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Japanese Literature Emeritus, Harvard University

"This book is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary Japan. Charles Inouye has constructed a daring, wide-ranging, and beautifully written introduction to the deep patterns of Japanese cultural and aesthetic practice. The rock garden at Ryoanji Temple and the anime of Hayao Miyazaki will never look the same again." - Eve Zimmerman, Associate Professor of Japanese at Wellesley College

"Following Inouye (Tufts) as he effortlessly glides across the vast landscape of Japanese history and culture - touching down on a particular topic only long enough to make his point, and not a moment longer - is thrilling . . ..For readers with even a cursory understanding of the social, cultural, and political background of its subject, this book is a true page-turner. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above." - Choice

"Evanescence and Form: An Introduction to Japanese Culture is a fascinating book, rich in insightful analysis and enlivened with impassioned polemic. Intensely personal, with a number of references to the author's personal milieu and especially to the author's family in both Japan and the United States, the book is also consciously lyrical, with numerous examples of fine writing embroidering the text." - Leigh Morton, Tokyo Institute of Technology

List of Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Historical Periodsp. xiii
The Order of Here-and-Now: Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Japan (to 1868)p. 1
In Spring the Cherry Blossomsp. 1
Change and Naturep. 5
Japanese Poetics and a First Consideration of Animismp. 10
Utsusemi, the Cicada's Shellp. 17
Hakanasa and mujop. 26
Anitya in a World of Spontaneityp. 31
Life as It Seems, Nagarjuna's Emptinessp. 36
Shukke: Leaving the Worldp. 39
Success and Failurep. 45
The Transcendental Order / the Order of Here-and-Nowp. 51
Zen, kata, and the Noh Theaterp. 65
Hedonismp. 69
Matsuo Basho, Permanence and Changep. 74
Mono no aware: The Sadness of Thingsp. 80
Protocol and Loyal Retainersp. 86
Inner and Outer, and the Expanding Context of Modernityp. 90
Monstrosityp. 95
Change under the Transcendental Order: Late Modern Japan (1868-1970)p. 103
The Colonial Context: Adapt or Diep. 103
Explaining Japan: Linking Here-and-Now with the New World Orderp. 110
Japan as Bushidop. 113
Japan as Tea-Ismp. 118
Japan as Erotic Stylep. 122
In the Margins of Empire-the Rape of Nankingp. 129
Other Horrors of Life on the Marginsp. 134
Kamikazep. 137
The A-Bomb, and a New Kind of Nothingp. 142
Occupation: Radical Change as Salvationp. 151
Decadence, Moving Away from Formp. 154
To Live!p. 161
Nihil versus Nothingnessp. 166
Higashiyama Kaii: Embracing Passivityp. 170
Return to Evanescence: Contemporary Japan (1970 to the Present)p. 175
Fashion, and the Joy of Evanescencep. 175
Postmodernism and a Cherry Blossom Refrainp. 185
The End of the Worldp. 191
Nausicaa and the Cicada-Shell Worldp. 195
Seeking but Never Findingp. 197
Anima, Anime, and Animismp. 205
Conclusionp. 213
Glossary of Important Termsp. 225
Notesp. 231
Works Citedp. 247
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781403967060
ISBN-10: 1403967067
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 260
Published: 1st September 2008
Publisher: Palgrave USA
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41
Edition Number: 1