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Japanese Landscapes

Japanese Landscapes: Where Land and Culture Merge

Cotton Mather
P.P. Karan
Shigeru Iijima
Copyright Date: 1998
Edition: 1
Pages: 112
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  • Book Info
    Japanese Landscapes
    Book Description:

    From the busy streets of Tokyo to the secluded shores of Kyushu, from the volcanoes of Hokkaido to the temples of Kyoto, the treasured landscapes of Japan are brought to life in this concise visual guide. Drawing upon years of observation, Cotton Mather, P.P. Karan, and Shigeru Iijima explore the complex interaction of culture, time, and space in the evolution of landscapes in Japan. The authors begin with a discussion of the landscape's general characteristics, including paucity of idle land, scarcity of level land, and its meticulous organization and immaculate nature. They then apply those characteristics to such favorite subjects as home gardens, sculpted plants, and flower arrangements, but also to more mundane matters such as roadside shoulders, utility lines, and walled urban areas. This unique blending of physical and social sciences with humanities perspectives offers a unified analysis of the Japanese landscape.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4984-4
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. [Maps]
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 The General Landscape
    (pp. 1-24)

    LANDSCAPE IS A VISUAL SCROLL which provides insights into the nature of a people and their cultural impress upon their environment.

    Landscape is the interaction of culture, time, and geographic space. It records what has happened. It is an eloquent transcription of the physical history and the essence of life as it functions in a complex matrix. Landscape is the unvarnished etching of the past and present, of reality. It expresses the values and social forces associated with a culture that have shaped the environment. Our understanding of an area and of human relationships with the environment are really cultural...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Primary Characteristics
    (pp. 25-58)

    THOUSANDS OF INDIVIDUAL SCENES in Japan meet the eye of the observer, but there are recurrent characteristics that represent the distinctive cultural impress of the Japanese people on their land. The landscape is a vivid portrayal of Japanese ideas and their value system of organizing space. Identification and comprehension of the characteristics of the Japanese landscape lends understanding of the occupance patterns and appreciation of the cultural refinements that have evolved on the physical base.

    Seven of the characteristics of the Japanese landscape are fundamental:

    1. Paucity ofIdle Land

    2. Scarcity of Level Land

    3. Compactness

    4. Meticulous Organization

    5. Immaculateness

    6. Interdigitation

    7. Tiered

    Nine secondary...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Secondary Characteristics
    (pp. 59-90)

    THE NINE SECONDARY CHARACTERISTICS of the Japanese landscape are refinements of the immediate environment. These are the characteristics that affect individuals so directly in daily life in every region throughout the nation. They define the specific and detailed nature of the locale, whereas the primary characteristics pertain to the more generalized traits of the national scene.

    Japan’s public gardens are widely recognized and admired by both Japanese and foreign visitors, but home gardens are the omnipresent and highly distinctive landscape feature of the nation. Public gardens are the idolized representations of the aesthetic concept; home gardens represent economic and spatial...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Tomorrow
    (pp. 91-92)

    JAPANESE SOCIETY is peering into tomorrow. What are the great questions? Ask an elderly lady in the rice paddy near Ichinomiya in central Kyushu (fig. 77). She mayor may not know that few women occupy seats in the Japanese Parliament, that few women have served as cabinet ministers, that few women have salaries comparable to those of men, and that a woman was not admitted to Tokyo University until the end of World War II. But she is keenly aware that her grandchildren are in day-care centers, that girls now rarely study flower arranging and the tea ceremony, and that...

  9. References
    (pp. 93-95)
  10. About the Authors
    (pp. 96-96)
  11. Index
    (pp. 97-100)