Music & Japan


"Kami" -- the essence of shinto - according to scholar Motoori Norinaga "[A kami is] any thing or phenomenon that produces the emotions of fear and awe, with no distinction between good and evil."

Haiku - here is a famous example by 17th-century poet Matsuo Basho:
The ancient pond--
A frog jumps in,
The sound of the water.

Note the importance of "kireji"--a "cutting word." In the example above, the dash indicates the "cut" from one image to another. The images contrast with one another.
Here are many alternate translations of Basho's Haiku.
Here is a Haiku I composed on the difference between China & Japan:

China, so serene--
Japan with a darker hue,
Brother and Sister

Here is a video about Haiku.

Torii - a traditional Japanese gate symbolizing the division between sacred and non-sacred space.


Samurai Sword

An interesting article about the moral code of the Samurai.

Japanese Garden/Zen Garden/RockGarden


From about the year 970 comes the first lengthy work of fiction in Japanese, Utsubo Monogatari (The Tale of the Hollow Tree), which includes this passage: "A tree that is left growing in its natural state is a crude thing. It is only when it is kept close to human beings who fashion it with loving care that its shape and style acquire the ability to move one." The idea, therefore, was already established by this time that natural beauty becomes true beauty only when modified in accordance with a human ideal.


Japanese Pagoda or Temple


Japanese Folk Songs

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) - a traditional Japanese folk song; more versions here.
Moon Over the Ruined Castle - a traditional-style melody composed in 1901 (used for a lot of pop songs); more about the origin of the song here.

Japanese Language
Resources for presentation by Celia

The Koto

Here are Mary's lovely examples of music for the Koto.

The Koto and its picks

Gagaku performance & Daughters of the court officials performing

"Sakura, Sakura" & "Chidori no kokyu"

Kabuki Theater

Here's a descriptive video. And another here.

Western Music set in Japan

The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan (see link below for Amazon recommendation; one version was also available on Netflix)