The Japanese aesthetics are a set of ideals followed since the olden days including Miyabi, yuugen, mono no aware, wabi and sabi. These ideas showcase was is considered to be beautiful in Japanese culture and aesthetic norms. The aesthetic norms in japan are considered to be an indispensable part of Japanese people everyday life.
Miyabi is one of the oldest Japanese aesthetic ideal. It is the norm to polish ones manners and to eradicate any kind of roughness and crudility in order to achieve the highest level of grace. The term miyabi can be translated as ‘elegance’. It requires the removal of any vulgar actions. It is also closely related to mono no aware.
Wabi and sabi entails that one should have a mindful approach in everyday life. According to this aesthetic ideal the true beauty of things lie in their impermanent and imperfect nature. It looks at the notion that the things that are in their full glory at the moment will eventually fade or decay. That beauty lies in the fact that things come and go and nothing stays permanently. In this way we can find beauty in the most simplest and ordinary things.
According to the zen philosophy there are 7 principles for achieving wabi and sabi.
Kanso or simplicity, yugen or grace, fukinsei or irregularity, shizen or natural, koko or basic, datsuzoku or to be free and seijaku or silence are the 7 principles of wabi sabi.
Each of these are found in nature and are the virtues of human character.
Yuugen is one of the most important of the Japanese aesthetics. Yugen implies to be having a deep awareness of the universe. It is one of the deep rooted idea in the Japanese Buddhism.
Yugen refers to looking at the world that we live in deeply and becoming aware of the virtues and the true beauty lying within.
The meaning of mono no aware has been complex and ever changing but the deep rooted meaning remains the same, it refers to the pathos of things deriving from their transcience.
In the classic anthology of Japanese poetry from the eighth century the feeling of aware is typically triggered by the plaintive calls of birds or other animals. It also played an important role in the world’s first novel, Murasaki Shikibu’s ‘The Tale of Genji’, in the early eleventh century clearly show impermanence as the basis for the feeling of mono no aware.
Nowadays mono no aware can be seen in the love of Japanese people for cherry blosoms. Huge crowds of people go to view cherry blossoms every year.
The blossoms of the Japanese cherry trees are more beautiful than those apple tree because of their transience, as they begin to fall within a week of their first appearing. It is precisely the evanescence of their beauty that evokes the wistful feeling of mono no aware in the viewer.