Shikibu’s Mono no aware
written by: Hugo J. Smal
During an appointment in the castle gardens Arcen, the clouds and the sunlight falling down now and then played a beautiful game with the budding green. Few people get to see it because there is a lock on the gate at the beginning of March, but also between cold and heat, between the desire for a fire and yakatori, the park is wonderful. Shikibu is cold and folds her summer kimono thoughtfully. She is not now the elegance enjoying elegance among the roses, but rather a thoughtful, inward-looking prayer.
“Mono no aware,” says Shikibu, “is an expression by which we mean Japanese the poignant beauty of things. The inevitable transience of nature makes beauty poignant. Everything that lives and even everything that exists is not eternal! It can be found in Bonsai where often a dead branch forms the essential beauty of the tree. It is certainly also reflected in the way we look at nature and how we experience it. Sakura or Beotkkot in Korean is only beautiful because she is fleeting and oh so perishable. You must also enjoy it immediately and to the fullest.
I look at Shikibu and try to cheer her up. “It is difficult to stay in the Kasteeltuinen now, but let me prepare some Sake so that your heart is warmed.”
Shikibu’s Mono no aware
“Ah, the change of the seasons brings tears.” She says with a slight bow to the Sake bowl, I am melancholy, but maybe I’m homesick too. “During the last Holland Koi Show I gave some parts a Japanese name. remember: the Japanese village became Nippon Mura and the aquarium tent Suizokukan, the most often I think of the Doeplein: Ibento Kaijo, where I have to learn a lot more about the Nishikigoi, as well as “Mono no aware” of one expression of the Japanese Art is true then it is for the mortality of the o so beautiful ornamental carps. ”
“Why so sad Shikibu?” I try, I know what she feels, everyone who has seen “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring” by Kim Ki Duk understands. Especially when the young monk climbs the mountain, carrying the noble Bodhisattva, dragging a millstone behind him, recognizing the heaviness of human suffering, and then seeing the light. Many purists of Japan will abhor my free quote from the cultures of the Far East, but my long and regular visits to Hanguk and the conversations with many artists and scientists there convince me that eventually everyone will agree that only in this way “Mono no aware” , will be understood. Shikibu promises me that we will soon listen to Jeongseon Arirang together and of course the performance of Kim Young Im. (see the film at the bottom of this page and the text below the photo,)
A brief explanation:
Although the Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures are related to each other, they still distinguish themselves. China is culturally the motherland to which Korea and Japan were indebted for centuries. But because the last two were also in self-chosen isolation for centuries, they always gave their own interpretation of the philosophies imported from the motherland.
The first Chinese text (Wei Chi) about Japan tells about the country Wa (Yamataikoku) and her Queen Pimiko (170-248). She was a Shamanic Queen and was chosen after decades of battle between the Kings of Wa.
Did she really exist? We do not know, but it marks the beginning of the description of religion in Japan. She was engaged in sorcery and magic. She bewitched her subjects. She was not married and her younger brother helped her to rule the country. After she became Queen, hardly anyone saw her anymore.
A thousand women represented her and only one man; he gave her food and drink. As a shaman, Pimiko mediated between her people and the gods, spirits and other supernatural powers that were later identified with Kami. Where in Korea the worship of ancestors and house spirits is still taken very seriously, the Japanese do not forget the Kami. The shaman is often visited in Korea while in Japan the Shinto priests lead the frequently visited cleansing rituals.
The explanation was necessary in order to give some meaning to what Shikibu then told me: “Japanese names, as a first step to feel my little beloved Nihon, the origin of the sun with all its splendour and mysticism, here in Limburg a bit. Mura means unique and yes during the Holland Koi Show a unique Japanese village is formed here, which I now think back to warm my heart and to which I want to know that it will become increasingly unique and more vibrant. A Japanese world event (Ibento) where the koi science is made for everyone (kaijo). The castle gardens as Suizokukan (aquarium) full of Mono no aware.
This somewhat annoying winter – in Niigata the snow meters were high while only a shade of white was visible – I thought about these gardens a lot. Philosophied about their location and about which names I could continue.
Shudder about what I have found. When you fly to Geongbokgung palace with google earth, then to Nara and then on to the Saitobaru burial mounds you notice one thing: all these historical places are more or less on the North-
South line with the centre of gravity of the buildings in the north.
The Feng Sui constellation of Gyongbokgung is clear and from Nara (Heijo-Kyo capital of Japan between (745 and 784) I can tell that it is enclosed between mountains like Amanokagu, Umimashi in the east, Kasagu in the north and Nara in The important water objects are the Ogura lake and the Yodo and Kidu river.
The Castle Gardens Arcen are also located on the North-South Line with the centre of gravity of the buildings in the North. There is a small deviation, but this can probably be explained by the place on earth and the difference between the real and the magnetic North. ”
Shikibu looked at me triumphantly. She was clearly full of her find. “It reassures me that here too the energy comes into contact with water. The mesh is a few hundred meters away. From both the Gyongbokgung Palace in Seoul and the historic Nara, we know that they are protected on three sides by mountains and that they are adjacent to a water basin on the open side.
Where the Kasteeltuin Arcen for me is Kitsu and the rest of the Netherlands and Belgium the basin. Feng Sui diviners have to determine which mountains are of interest. Of course, we have the Ardennes in the South and the Scandinavian mountain ranges in the North. To the west, the Low Countries are protected by the mountain ranges in Germany, Switzerland and beyond. But where the Feng Sui energy really arises; I do not know but for me, it is clear that here on the show grounds prosperity and happiness and that great things will be achieved. ”
During the way back home I felt the melancholy warmth of the Sake in my body. It was quiet on the train and the cold landscape passed as if in a flight. Along the edge of the forest, I saw a deer with her young slowly approaching and then quickly pass by. “Mono no aware”, the poignant beauty of things.
I would like to discover it the next time I am in the Kasteeltuinen together with Shikibu. Maybe we can capture them just like they do in Japan; make it a natural scrap so everyone can enjoy what Shikibu sees.
Department of Architecture, Mukogawa Women’s University, Nishinomiya, Japan:
– Enclosed Spaces of Ancient Japanese Cites and Watersheds: Analysis of Mountain Ranges and Water Systems of Kyoto, Nara, Dazaifu, and Kamakura using a Three-dimensional Terrain Model
– Relationships between Feng-Shui and landscapes of Chagan and Heijo-Kyo
– Enclosed spaces for Seoul and Kaesong on Feng-Shui
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