Japanese Cultural Influence

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Throughout time, the Japanese have expressed themselves through art, music, and literature. However, characteristics of Japanese art have been complicated by the expectations and ideas that were established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Japan opened to the west (Ulak). Mark Hudson explains ethnogenesis as the ongoing formation of ethnic groups (Hudson). Some of these formations have come out of the political climate in Japan. The Heian period can be used as an example of Japanese artistic achievement through refinement of images that are infused with subtle metaphoric meanings to reflect the court (Ulak). To address the political influence of the Heian period, we must look at the start in 784 when the emperor Kammu moved the…show more content…
Buddhism; originating in India and developed throughout Asia was the most persistent channel of influence. Providing Japan with a well-established iconography and perspectives on relationship between visual arts and spiritual development. Nevertheless, the Chinese Tang international style was the center of Japanese artistic development in the 8th century, while iconographies of Chinese esoteric Buddhism were very influential from the 9th century. The immigration of Buddhist monks in the 13th and 14th century left permeant marks on Japanese visual culture. These impacts of these periods birthed not only the religious iconography, but also a heap of features from the Chinese culture. Whole structures of cultural expression, ranging from the writing system to political structures were presented to the Japanese…show more content…
The natural religion before Buddhism saw the spiritual realm represented and manifested through nature. Cliffsides, waterfalls, and old tress were considered homes for spirits and were understood through their personification. The belief created a sense of proximity and affinity with the spirit world as well as a trust in natures kindness. The cycle of seasons was critically important and honored. Everything is thought of as a cycle of birth, fruition, death, and decay. Therefore, Buddhist notions of change were merged with the natural tendency to find direction from nature. The closeness to nature created and strengthened the aesthetic that avoided artifice. The aesthetic had to be natural and from within. When creating art, the natural qualities of the materials were given special importance that’s integrated to the meaning of the work as a whole. For example, Japanese Buddhist sculptures of the 9th century changed from bronze Tang models to a natural unploychromed woods. These iconographic forms were blended with preexisting and multileveled respect for wood. The fusion with nature was also a component of Japanese architecture. Architecture appeared to obey nature. The Chinese style of symmetry gave way to asymmetric designs that shadowed the specific contours of mountain topography. The periphery between

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