Glance to Japanese Culture


The material was prepared by ANI MAGUMYAN


Everything is special in Japan: people, writing, nature, culture, philosophy.
Speaking about Japan we cannot touch upon its culture, science, religion, philosophy, writing, samurais, national clothing (kimono), cuisine, each of which is characteristic and occupies an important place in this country.
The Japanese writing is a system of writing consisting of hieroglyphs. It consists of hieroglyphs and two alphabets: hiragana and katakana. There is also the romaji version. This is the usage of the Latin alphabet for writing in the Japanese language.
The Japanese philosophy is so profound that even if an aphorism consists of only two words, is has a great sense and sometimes after reading it is necessary to think for a long time in order to fully understand it.
Japan is one of the leading countries of the world’s scientific thought. It has a stable position in different spheres of science, among which there are high technology and mechanical engineering, energy saving and robotics, medicine and space research.
The Japanese music includes numerous genres starting from national musical genres characteristic of only Japan up to the different modern genres, based on which there are created unique performances, which are characteristic of only Japan. In its size the Japanese musical market is the second one after the American market.
The roots of the Japanese theatre come from the ancient times. Speaking about the theatre and hearing the name “Kabuki”, we can already have an idea of its luxury and originality. In Japan there function the theatres “No, “Kyogen” “Kabuki”, “Bonraku” and others.
The first Japanese movie was produced in 1899. A number of movies have come out of the borders of Japan long ago and have gained a worldwide fame.
The Japanese literature has an earlier origin than its writing. The works of literature were handed over from generation to generation orally.
The Japanese sculpture origins from the Shinto and Buddhist spiritual sources. The ancient memorials of the Japanese architecture and fine arts refer to the culture of Djumon era, for which there were characteristic rope ornamented pots, women’s statues and so on. This art was developed under the Buddhist spiritual influence.
Origami is a Japanese art, where different paper images are made. The oldest paper image has a great sense: it is the paper image of a stork.
The ceremony of tea-drinking (tsyanou in Japanese) is classified among the original, unique arts. The ceremony of tea drinking, which was introduced in Japan by the clergymen of the Dzen sect, continues to enjoy wide popularity in modern conditions.
As a national Japanese clothing, kimono originated in the 5th century. Both men and women wear kimono. The kimono can be of different colors, types, for different occasions and holidays.
The Japanese cuisine is natural and harmonious. It is considered the healthiest cuisine of the world. The main ingredients of the cuisine are rice, seafood and soy sauce. And the most popular Japanese alcoholic drink is sake, which is made from rice.
Geishas present a unique part of the Japanese culture.
In Japanese geisha means a talented woman: it consists of two roots–gey–talent, sha-a person. Geisha also means a person of art.
Getting to know the culture of the country of the rising sun and the traditions of that nation, we were convinced that it totally corresponds to the miracle of the nature–the sun, from which the day of each of us starts with warmness and new expectations.


Still from the ancient times people enjoyed the beauty of flowers, but people who made this miracle of nature a unique art, showed the whole world that flowers deserve not only admiration but due to them it is possible to discover a new world, where the interlaced feelings of heart and soul are.
Ikebana is one of the oldest Japanese arts. For the Japanese life is to follow the traditions and the ability to see the beauty in every phenomenon.
Ikebana dates back to the times of spreading Buddhism in Japan.
In the 6th century, in the Buddhist temples, in the two corners of the altar there were put flowers. These flowers were enormous branches, which harmonized with the magnificent furnishing of the temple and were called rica (“standing flowers”). But gradually they started to make shorter bouquets and this style continued to be dominant in the temples and palaces until the end of the 12th century. In these bouquets a special role was given to white chrysanthemums.
In the 15th century, when tea-drinking entered the everyday life in Japan, there originated a new type of a bouquet–nageiren. This type was called nature-protective, as the flowers were put into the vase “in a natural form”.
In the 20th century in Japan developed a new direction of making flowers–moribana, which also reflects the influence of the Western civilization. By combining the previous two styles, moribana comprises the third one. It seems that it models a certain landscape or a piece of the Japanese nature.
The Dzen doctrine concentrates its attention on the unique. In ikebana they stress the uniqueness of each flower: “one flower transfers the luxury of the flower better than hundred flowers”.
For the Japanese, bouquets of flowers and plants are not merely decorations, but they are always meaningful, symbolic phenomena. On each holiday, the flowers of bouquets are selected according to their significance.
For example, the bouquets for New Year or wedding are made of pine branches, bamboo leaves and plum-tree flowers.
In March on the girls’ holiday, the bouquet is made from the flowers of peach-tree, turnips and chrysanthemums.
During boys’ holiday, in the bouquet a special place is given to irises.
In all holiday bouquets, they exclude autumn flowers, maple and tea leaves, flowers of apricot color, roses and so on.
In the bouquets for engagement or wedding they don’t put such flowers, in the names of which there sounds the element “saru”, which means parting (for example, the flowers saru-suberi–the Indian lilac or sarutoribara-sarsaparilla).
The Japanese equalize the arts of ikebana to a prayer.
From the beginning, the art was based upon two opposite forces, which symbolize light and darkness (the sky and the earth). And later on the third element added, which symbolizes the man. And by means of arts all these shows the harmony, which exists between man and nature.
There exists a very interesting legend about the creation of ikebana. Once a Buddhist monk gathers dried branches, puts them before the statue of Buddha and asks him to award life to those dead plants and at that moment flowers and leaves appear on the branches. This is how the art of ikebana origins, due to which the Japanese sometimes call it “new life of flowers” (ike-way, hana-flower). And it is not accidental that ikebana consists of three main components.
The first one symbolizes the sky, which is the main and the longest stem. This stem makes the basis of the bouquet, therefore it should be strong enough. It is also often called sin.
The second stem symbolizes the man, which is called soe. It should be equal to the two-third of the sin and should bend in the same direction.
The third stem symbolizes the earth and is called tai. It is the shortest one. It is put in front and is a little bit moved into the opposite side of the two.
You can add different green leaves, grass stalks, but the position of the main three stems remains unchanged.
The selection of jar form is also very important and the length of those three components depends on it.
Ikebana is also a philosophy. First of all, it shows a character. It is characteristic how the man sees these three componetnts while creating an ikebana. This art is a means, where you can express feelings and emotions.
While creating an ikebana the person emerges into his own «self» and by means of it, all the feelings accumulated inside flow out.
Many psycologists use this art also as a psycological test.
Ikebana requires absolute silence and attention. The creator must feel an indestructible tie between the nature, the three components and even the jar.
In some sense, ikebana is also a union of the man and the nature. Inside the man and the surrounding world is a unique meditation.
Masterpieces are born only when the creator hears the sound of flowers.
This art is the aspiration to create an ideal harmony. Of course, ideal perfection is unachievable: ideal relations between the sky, the earth and the man is a dream, where everything is harmonious, there are no conflicts, wars and there is only pure happiness. But despite this inaccessibility ikebana gives the opportunity to dream.
Each ikebana is another step, which leads to the world of dreams.
Making a bouquet of flowers shows that the leading principles here are simplicity, disproportion and seeming incompleteness. The bouquets give rise to the feelings of stability, spontaneity and sincerity.
The mastering of the art of making bouquets takes years of patient study of the main canonical types, which the masters of making bouquets know. In their willingness to communicate with the beauty, the Japanese don’t stop before any challenge. For years they have been persistently and insistently training the canonical movements by imitating from the masters of ikebana and thus they maintain this type of the art for the coming generations.

the material is taken from

translated from Armenian into English by M.Vardanyan