The Japanese sense of beauty is closely linked to the four seasons

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We Japanese are losing the sense of season in exchange for modernization.

It appears that many people are indifferent to the change of seasons.

One day, I got on the bus.

When the bus entered a forest, the beautiful fresh green of early summer came into my sight.

I was fascinated by this scenery, but other  passengers were obsessed with their smartphones.

They took no notice of this scenery.

I think that smartphones are strong stimuli and they absorb our attention, and it leads to losing the sense of season.

However, a smartphone is essential for our lifes.

So our sensitivity is easily diminished at the present time.

This requires some measures, and I would like to introduce one of my ways of addressing this.

I have a reproduction of the Japanese woodblock print “One Hundred Famous View of Edo”. 

It is a series of 119 prints and was drawn by Hiroshige Utakawa in the Edo period.

Thay are beautiful landscape of Edo.

I place one of those pictures on my desk.

The 119 pictures are dividid into the four seasons.

I choose one of those pictures every month according to the season.

I have now selected the picture, “Nihonbashi Edobashi: Looking at Edo-bashi Bridge from Nihon-bashi Bridge”.

This is a summer picture.

There is a wooden bucket on the bridge and a bonito in it.

This bonito is the so-called first bonito of the year, and it signfish the arrival of summer.


As an aside, Nihon-bashi Bridge is a historic bridge.

This bridge is the starting point of all the roads in Japan.

If you saw today’s Nihon-bashi bridge, you would be disappointed.

The Metropolitan Expressway is built above the concrete Nihon-bashi bridge, and it is a dim place.

The bridge is busy with lots of cars.

To make matters worse, the polluted black river is flowing under the bridge.

It is not well known that Edo was a beautiful water city and many waterways were running there like they do in Venice.

That image were drawn on many Japanese woodblock prints in the Edo period.

But Tokyo is now different from what it used to be.


I can see the beautiful scenery from the Edo period throughout the ”One Hundred Famous View of Edo”.

Edo was such a beautiful city.

I believe that the Japanese sense of beauty is closely linked to the four seasons.

A picture that is on my desk teaches me that.

That sense is impermanent and readily noticeable, so we have to cultivate our sensitivity.

But the Japan of today is full of excessive stimulation. That may be what ruins our sensitivity.

We Japanese are inclined to forget familiar brilliance of the four seasons.

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