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The "Aesthetic Life": a Leitmotif in Modern Japanese Aesthetics

  Tanehisa Otabe

In 1901, Chogyu Takayama (1871-1902), philosopher and literary critic, published a short article entitled “On the Aesthetic Life.” Takayama’s article, regarded as a manifesto of Nietzscheism by his contemporaries, triggered a great debate among a great many literary critics, including Shoyo Tsubouchi and Ogai Mori. This paper argues that Takayama’s article constituted a framework for aesthetic thought in modern Japan and marked the Japanization of Western modern aesthetics. Takayama was not interested in the modern Western idea of autonomous art; instead, he tried to work out the aesthetic in one’s way of living. What underlies Takayama’s idea of the aesthetic life is, to my mind, a traditional Japanese view of art according to which beauty is to be sought inside the world, not beyond the world. In other words, the idea of the aesthetic was decontextualized from its Western context of autonomous art and recontextualized within the traditional concept of the art of living. This is why his idea of the aesthetic life caused a profound echo and became a keynote in twentieth-century Japanese aesthetics.

Key Words
aesthetic life; art of living; the cognitive/the moral/the aesthetic; art of being in the world; everyday object; gei-do (the way of art); the absolute in the relative; habit; teaism


1. Introduction

Recently, Richard Shusterman (1949- ), an American pragmatist philosopher, recalled the ancient idea of philosophy as “an art of living,” thereby following Deweyan pragmatism and aiming at overcoming “art’s modern specialization,” that is, the dichotomy between art and life, and “recovering the continuity of aesthetic experience with the normal process of living.”[2] Seen from this perspective, aesthetic thought in modern Japan has a striking characteristic or tendency of denying any dichotomy between art and life. In this paper, I will argue that the idea of the aesthetic life has constituted a leitmotif of modern Japanese aesthetics.[3]

The idea of the aesthetic life is not foreign to Western thought. Already in 1747, under the decisive influence of Alexander Baumgarten (1714-62), the founder of modern aesthetics, Georg Friedrich Meier (1718-77) introduced the concept “aesthetic life of cognition” (das ästhetische Leben der Erkenntnis, vita cognitionis aesthetica) that he held as the “utmost beauty” of cognition.[4] Since then, the aesthetic life, or to live aesthetically, has been addressed by several thinkers, including Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) and Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55).[5] Until recently, however, few studies have historically and analytically elucidated the concept of the aesthetic life.[6]

Aesthetics, in the modern sense of the term, was introduced, or transplanted, into Japan in the late nineteenth century as part of modernization or Westernization. At the turn of the century, however, aesthetics as a discipline took root in the Japanese intellectual world, which can be symbolized by the debate on the aesthetic life that began in 1901 and continued to 1903.

In 1901, Chogyu Takayama (1871-1902), philosopher and literary critic, published a short but thought-provoking article entitled “On the Aesthetic Life” in Taiyo (Sun), the magazine he edited. His article triggered debate, one of the first great debates in the field of aesthetics on the meaning of the aesthetic life (biteki seikatsu), among a great many literary critics, including Shoyo Tsubouchi (1859-1935) and Ogai Mori (1862-1922). Takayama’s article, which his contemporaries regarded as a Nietzschean manifesto, has usually been studied either in relation to Takayama’s late position advocating individualism and instinctivism or in the context of how Nietzsche was received in modern Japan.[7] When viewed from either perspective, however, the most important aspects of Takayama’s article remained unnoticed. In what follows, I argue that Takayama’s article constituted a framework for aesthetic thought in modern Japan and marked the Japanization of Western modern aesthetics.

Takayama was not an advocate for the modern Western idea of autonomous art; he instead tried to incorporate the aesthetic into an individual’s way of living. What underlies Takayama’s idea of the aesthetic life is a traditional Japanese view of art (gei or gei-do) according to which beauty is to be sought in the world, not beyond it. That is, the idea of the aesthetic was decontextualized from its Western context of autonomous art and recontextualized within the traditional conception of the art of living. This is why his idea caused a profound echo and became a keynote in twentieth-century Japanese aesthetics.

2. A theoretical reconstruction of Takayama’s argument

In the beginning of his article, Takayama provisionally defines the aesthetic life as “what serves life and body that are superior to bread and clothes.”[8] His definition is somewhat abstract and vague. We have to theoretically reconstruct his argument to understand its specific content. Takayama uses the word ‘aesthetic’ in contrast to the words ‘cognitive’ and ‘moral.’[9] This word choice shows his being influenced by neo-Kantian philosophy.

Takayama reasons that “it is impossible to find a safe haven in morality and cognition.”[10] That is, neither cognition nor morality can attain something absolute because cognition is a step-by-step process of questions and answers and morality is inseparable from effort and, for this reason, presupposes something immoral that must be overcome by effort. Takayama, however, continues: “The ideal of morality must be established without effort. … Being brought onto this stage, morality is nothing other than amorality. It is beyond consciousness, beyond reflection and beyond effort. It is a type of habit or instinct.”[11] Takayama's examples of “following one’s heart without going beyond the bounds” and of “the singing birds” or “the flowers of the field” show that he takes the position of moral intuitionism or sentimentalism, according to which the true good consists not in unceasing effort but is something immediately perceived and practiced.[12] He calls the power that immediately perceives and practices the good “instinct,” thereby equating instinct with habit, as second nature, which indicates his position cannot be reduced to a category of instinctivism, as is usually seen in the secondary literature. Instinct, in Takayama’s sense, is not innate but rather what was gained through human history and handed down to future generations. Further, Takayama characterizes instinct or habit as amoral because it is beyond moral consciousness. Such amorality that lies beyond good and evil is to be distinguished from immorality, which is still bound by the dichotomy between good and evil.

Takayama’s position is not isolated. He shares the same interest with the post-Kantians who were concerned with overcoming Kantian dualism: Schiller, for example, by means of aesthetic education, and Schelling, by means of aesthetic intuition. Between 1790, when Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment was published, and 1800, when Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism was published, the aesthetic or aesthetics became a watchword for the post-Kantians. It is no wonder, then, that Takayama characterizes his position aesthetic.

Takayama thus opposes the cognitive and moral life to the aesthetic life, arguing that “the moral and the cognitive life have only relative value in their nature, whereas the aesthetic life has in itself an absolute value, in that it satisfies the desire of human nature.”[13] That is, “the value of the aesthetic life is absolute or intrinsic.”[14] Both the moral life and the cognitive life are opposed to the aesthetic life as the relative, or extrinsic, to the absolute, or intrinsic. What Takayama understands under the rubric of the aesthetic life remains unclear. He does not unambiguously state how the absolute value is possible or what the desire of human nature or instinct means.

In the following section, however, Takayama clarifies his argument. He continues: “However, even what is not instinct cannot be hindered from being aesthetic, as far as its value can be regarded as absolute. Thus the realm of the aesthetic life can be extended to more than what satisfies instinct.”[15] It follows that Takayama’s position cannot be subsumed into instinctivism. As examples of the aesthetic life, in the broad sense of the term, Takayama enumerates six realms: morality, cognition, money, love, yoga, and art. We consider morality, the cognitive life, and the aesthetic.

First, morality has only a relative value but, if “one considers it to have an absolute value and finds the final end of life in performing morality,” one’s action is no longer moral but aesthetic, as is seen in the situation of loyal retainers, devoted sons, or valiant heroines.[16] Such an idea of aesthetic action reminds us of Schiller’s critique against Kant. By reintegrating freedom into beauty and duty into inclination, Schiller tries to transcend Kantian dualism.[17]

Second, the cognitive life can be also regarded as aesthetic, as far as the pursuit of truth becomes autotelic. Certainly, true scholars would disagree with such autotelism of cognition but it provides “a satisfaction that true scholars cannot acquire.”[18]

Finally, Takayama refers to “the poets and artists who sacrificed themselves for what pleased them.” For Takayama, being aesthetic and being artistic are independent of each other and art is in itself only a means to some end. “Art for life’s sake,” or even “art for instinct’s sake,” might be his motto. Some artists, however, devote their lives to the ideal of their art. “After all, art is their life, their ideal.”[19]

These examples demonstrate that while in Section 6 Takayama dualistically opposes the moral and the cognitive life as something relative to the aesthetic life as something absolute, in Section 7 he relativizes his dualism between the relative and the absolute, thereby finding the possibility of the relative’s being treated as absolute or aesthetic.

I next address the three key points from Takayama’s article, and show them anticipating aesthetic thought in the first half of twentieth century Japan.

3. On the view of art implied in the idea of the aesthetic life

The first point to notice is that Takayama relates the adjective ‘aesthetic’ to ‘life’ without limitation. This relation is not at all self-evident. The underlying idea is to seek the aesthetic or beauty not beyond life but within life. Such an attitude toward the aesthetic originates from a traditional Japanese view of art that is different from the Western modern view of art, for example, art for its own sake.

Here we focus on The Book of Tea (1906), written in English by Kakuzo (Tenshin) Okakura (1862-1913). In this book, Okakura addresses Teaism (Chado in Japanese, literally, the way of tea), explaining the Eastern view of art or, rather, worldview. Okakura asserts that “the chief contribution of Taoism to Asiatic life has been in the realm of aesthetics,” seeking the essence of Taoism in the “art of being in the world,” the “art of life,” or the “art of living” and thereby characterizing teaism.[20] The art of being in the world is in refining the ordinary act of drinking tea into an artistic form. Arthur Danto would find here a kind of “transfiguration of the commonplace” that is not guaranteed institutionally by the artworld of or concerning teaism (that is, tea-world) but rather is practiced by everyday aesthetic living.[21] It must be noticed here that Okakura legitimizes the mundane as a root of teaism, or rather Asian art in general, which underlies subsequent aesthetic thought in twentieth-century Japan.[22]

Handicraft, along with teaism, closely relates to the mundane. In this context, we have to consider Muneyoshi (Soetsu) Yanagi’s idea of folk art or, in his words, “folk craft” (Mingei).[23] In his lecture entitled “Beauty and Life” (1931), Yanagi (1889-1961) notes that beauty in the modern era is regarded as “something lofty” and that a “lofty beauty” is sought in “what is far from life and not related directly to life,” arguing that “not artworks, but craftworks closely connect beauty with life.”[24] Yanagi further concentrates on teaism, whose significance Yanagi claims lies in “finding the standard of beauty in everyday objects," saying that “the tea masters had the deepest opinions and experiences concerning the relationship between beauty and life.”[25] In conclusion, Yanagi postulates that “the everyday object is most important for the aesthetic life and morality of human being.”[26] The aesthetic life is not opposed to morality, as was Takayama's perspective, but constitutes the humanity of human beings.

In the 1930s, Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi (1887-1981) formulates the idea of art not being separate from life as the “framelessness between art and life.”[27] Tsuzumi, who is now quite forgotten even in Japan, was probably the first Japanese to lecture and publish books on Japanese aesthetics in Germany, in German. Inspired by Georg Simmel’s essay “Picture Frame: An Aesthetic Essay” (1902), Tsuzumi becomes conscious of Eastern, especially traditional Japanese, painting lacking a frame, drawing from it a general tendency of the Eastern view of art or, rather, worldview: framelessness or, in German, Rahmenlosigkeit, an expression he coined. The framelessness in Tsuzumi's systematic theory of Japanese culture is threefold: 1) between nature and human beings (object and subject), 2) between artworks and the outer world, or between art and life, and 3) between individual art genres.[28] What is at issue in our context is the second framelessness that pertains to art as not a specific aesthetic phenomenon but a way of life related to cultivation.[29] Tsuzumi further reasons that such “artification (or aestheticization) of life” is especially exemplified by craft.[30] In his later book entitled A Research into Artistic Japan (1941), Tsuzumi notes the Japanese view of art that does not draw a line between art and life originates from the aesthetic life in the Heian period [794-1185].[31] Tsuzumi’s thesis concerning the framelessness between art and life culminates aesthetic thought in Japan originating from Takayama’s thought-provoking idea of the aesthetic life.

4. On the absolute in the relative

The second point in Takayama’s article is that he not only proposes but also relativizes the dualism of the relative and the absolute. Here we begin by considering Okakura’s The Book of Tea (1906), as we did in the previous section. For Taoism, Okakura writes that “Its (= Tao’s) Absolute is the Relative,” explaining thereby as follows: “The Present is the moving Infinity, the legitimate sphere of the Relative. Relativity seeks Adjustment; Adjustment is Art. The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”[32] That is, the absolute of Taoism is not beyond this world because, apart from the relative relationships of the finites to each other, an absolute cannot exist. What is at issue is to adjust the finites within this world so that they may co-exist with each other, which Okakura calls the “art of life” or the “art of being in the world.” Therefore, the absolute must be sought in our art of life, which is the underlying idea of teaism: “The whole ideal of Teaism is a result of this Zen conception of greatness in the smallest incidents of life. Taoism furnished the basis for aesthetic ideals, Zennism made them practical.”[33]

Motomori Kimura (1895-1946) most clearly formulates the idea of seeking the absolute within the finite. In the following, I will reconstruct his aesthetic theory based on his early article entitled “The idea of artistic beauty in Hegel” (1931).

Kimura characterizes artistic creation as follows: “No one recognizes miscalculation and bad actions as having positive values by themselves. The situation is not the same, however, with beauty.” If “a painted form is amended” by the painter him- or herself, “between these two pictures there is, on one side, certain progress concerning aesthetic expression and artistic value; on the other side, each picture has by and in itself a peculiar and unchangeable value.”[34] This means that each stage of artistic creation simultaneously has a relative value aiming at completion and an irreplaceable or incommensurable value. A sketch for a work, for example, can be appreciated as a preliminary step and as an end for itself. This duality underlies artistic creation: “The essence of creation or the nature of a work lies in seeking completion in infinite distance and being completed in each finite instance... . What is far away reveals itself in each instance of presence, this is expression, this is the birth of a work.”[35] Kimura who began his career studying the philosophy of German idealism, especially Fichte, presupposes once a Kant-Fichtean position of Sollen, seeking at the same time to transcend it, which Kimura claims is possible in artistic creation because artistic creation is, from one perspective, based on the Kant-Fichtean position, in that it always denies the status quo and aims at a more perfect future. From another perspective, artistic creation is not a future-oriented process, in that each state has its own undeniable value. Here we find a legitimate echo of the thinking of post-Kantians, especially Schiller and Schelling.

In his article entitled “A Blow of Chisel” (1933), a manifesto of his own aesthetic theory, Kimura writes: “A finite blow of the chisel is immediately an expression of the infinite. That is, it is filled and saturated with the infinite”; or even, alluding to the Nirvana Sutra, “In a blow of the chisel is practiced the principle that all beings have the Buddha-Nature.”[36] Kimura’s aesthetic thinking certainly has a nirvanic background. What does not follow, however, is that Kimura relies only on nirvanic Buddhism. Rather, his confrontation with modern Western thinking, especially German idealism, developed his awareness of Buddhist tradition, reinterpreting and transforming anew its original meaning in light of aesthetic thinking.

5. On habit as second nature

As we have seen in Section 2, Takayama’s theory of the aesthetic life, which has often been considered as fostering instinctivism, cannot be reduced to it. Neither does what he calls instinct mean something innate and animalistic. Rather, it is habit as second nature, that is, what was gained through human history and is passed to future generations. In this section, we focus on the idea of habit, showing how Takayama’s idea of instinct as habit, or second nature, was further addressed in the aesthetic thinking during the first half of the last century.

First, we turn to Motomori Kimura’s theory. In the 1930s, Kimura considers the meaning of body, addressing the polysemy of the Japanese term mi, as follows: “The term mi does have the meaning of body as a natural object, but it also has the meaning of self as is expressed in the phrase ‘mi wo omou’ (taking care of oneself), and even that of heart as seen in the phrase ‘mi wo tsukusu’ (devoting one’s energies). Thus, the human body is dialectic existence as subject-object. As a subject making inroads into nature, it is an apical end of the expressive will of a subject. Alternatively, as nature making inroads into subject, it is a limitation of a subject by nature.”[37] As is later the case with Hiroshi Ichikawa (1931-2002) in his Structure of “Mi” (1984), the polysemy of the word mi gives Kimura a clue to approach the peculiarity of the human body, which Kimura argues is found in its mediating between the inner and the outer, as is shown in the Japanese term te-gokoro (literally, hand-heart). Te-gokoro means the “heart that dwells in hands and works through hands.”[38]

What is to be noticed is that Kimura defined the actions of a heart residing in a body as art, that is, technique. Art is a kind of somatic intellect that indwells in hands, an intuitive knowledge that delicately works in accordance with objects. Kimura notes that there are many “expressions related to body, in particular, to hands (te)” that describe the “forms of art, ”for example, concerning working ways of technique, te-ren (wiles), te-kuda (trick), te-giwa (dexterity), and te-sabaki (manipulation); regarding technical properties of an object as material, te-goro (handy) and te-gowai (stiff); and with reference to the work of art as a synthesis of working and material, te-no-konda (elaborate), te-garu-na (easygoing), and te-wo-nuita (negligent). All these examples indicate that human beings have not only an inner existence but also a somatic existence.[39] Referring to Ravaisson’s theory in his Of Habit (1838), Kimura explained the process in which technique is gained as follows: “It is the will that first makes the hands move. This process being repeated over and over, the hands gradually become purposively habituated. Then we gain the heart residing in the hands.”[40] Technique as the “naturalized will that dwells in the body” is realized by habitual practice.[41] That is, habit takes the shape of technique and forms the core of a human being.

A theory of habit as technique can be also found in Kiyoshi Miki (1897-1945), a contemporary of Kimura. In his Logic of Imagination (vol. 3, 1939), one of his main works, Miki examines technique as follows: “For homo faber, instruments are ‘unconscious projections’ of organs, that is, a continuation of body.”[42] Technique seems “closely adhered to our sensual experience” and, therefore, a natural phenomenon for human beings.[43] Miki argues, however, that “an invention of instruments cannot be made by sensual experience; it needs imagination.”[44] Whereas our sensual experience pertains only to individuals, an invention of instruments presupposes not only sensual experience but also imagination, which Miki claims is a faculty of using symbols in Cassirer’s sense.[45] That means a leap of imagination is needed for technology. At the same time, an invented instrument must be used unconsciously, that is, must become a continuation of body. Otherwise, the instrument would not be worthy of being called an instrument. This is why instruments are closely adhered to our sensual experience and become parts of our body through habit.[46]

Miki further argues that such operation of technique does not belong exclusively to human beings. “All living beings exist in an environment; by technically adjusting to an environment, life produces form.” And, “in principle, human technique means an adjustment between subject and environment.”[47] Now, “the ground of all technique is movements of our body, which has been, in turn, formed technically [in the process of nature’s history].” We can say, therefore, that “human technique continues nature’s technique.”[48] It follows that Miki’s theory of technique aims at “understanding in a unified way human history and nature’s history.”[49]

Technique that dwells in or inhabits the human body as habit in the sense of second nature constitutes the basis of human beings for Kimura and Miki. This conception of technique can be regarded as the offspring of Takayama’s idea of instinct as habit in his article entitled “On the Aesthetic Life.”

The question, then, is what the background of such conception of technique is. Neither Kimura nor Miki clearly addresses this question. To my mind, a traditional Japanese view of art (gei-do; literally, the way of art) is one of the factors that enabled Kimura’s and Miki’s conception of technique.

Here is Muneyoshi (Soetsu) Yanagi's theory of technique. In his essay entitled “The beauty of the common object” (1926), which can be regarded as a manifesto of his Mingei theory, he considers a craftsperson’s speed bulk manufacturing. Such manufacturing seems to lead only to a kind of inertia. Yanagi, however, finds something positive in a craftsperson’s repetition: “Repetition is the mother of expertism... . Hands win the perfect freedom through this repetition.”[50] “Hands winning the perfect freedom” means that the craftsperson is no longer conscious of technique. Chogu Takayama would regard this state as “beyond consciousness.”[51] Yanagi continues: “Those who perfectly master the technique are beyond consciousness of the technique. They are far from contrivance and forget endeavor.”[52] That is, habit gained through repetition makes possible true freedom or creativity, which is beyond consciousness. Such an idea is based on the traditional view of art.

Or we may refer to Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi, who explains the reason art was called the way of art in Japan: “The ‘way’ means that we are not satisfied with mastering the technique and that we regard it rather as a means of polishing the whole human being. The way, therefore, is related to cultivation in the broad sense of the word; it is a way of life.”[53] That is, mastering a technique leads to cultivating the whole human being consisting of mind and body. Cultivation pertains not only to our mind; it concerns the body’s mastering the technique and aims at attaining a way of life. We could even argue that our way of life is possible as a technique in the sense of second nature. Seen from this perspective, we hear an echo of Kakuzo (Tenshin) Okakura’s idea of art of living or art of life that underlies his theory of art.

The question, then, is why we exercise or discipline ourselves to master a technique. An exercise could certainly be, speaking with Foucault in his Discipline and Punish, a discipline that produces docile bodies. In this situation, mind controls body. An exercise, however, does not solely shape the body into passivity. It could provide us with a heightened, sharpened, and more sensitized, body.[54] A heightened body is then able to call creative acts from the subject or, rather, to stimulate the subject to invent what it could not think of by its autonomous mind, which testifies to the creativity of somatic exercise for human beings.[55] This is why the art of living or art of life can regenerate and innovate itself by the interrelationship between mind and body.

In conclusion, the three key points taken from Takayama’s article entitled “On the Aesthetic Life” constitute a framework of aesthetic thought in modern Japan that, occasioned by the encounter with modern European aesthetics, tried to complement European aesthetics through reflecting on the traditional tacit view of art in Japan. The idea of the aesthetic was decontextualized from its Western context of autonomous art and recontextualized within the traditional conception of way of art. This is also why the concept of the aesthetic life gained wide acceptance and constituted a leitmotif in modern Japan.


Tanehisa Otabe

Tanehisa Otabe is Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Tokyo and the former President of the Japanese Society for Aesthetics. He has academic interests in aesthetics in Germany in the eighteenth century and intercultural aesthetics.

Published on March 13, 2018.



[1] This article is a revised version of my presentation entitled “The Idea of the ‘Aesthetic Life’ in Late Meiji Japan,” delivered at the 20th International Congress of Aesthetics, in Seoul, July 2016.

[2] The reference to “an art of living” comes from Richard Shusterman, Thinking through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 21. The other passages are from Richard Shusterman, Practicing Philosophy: Pragmatism and the Philosophical Life (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 26, 25.

[3] Yuriko Saito recently examined the importance of aesthetic life, especially in regard to Japanese aesthetics, but without addressing the origin of this concept. Yuriko Saito, “Aesthetics of Weather,” in Aesthetics of Everyday Life, eds. Andrew Light and Jonathan M. Smith (New York: Colombia University Press, 2005), pp. 155-176; ref. on p. 164, and “Everyday Aesthetics in the Japanese Tradition,” in Aesthetics of Everyday Life: East and West, eds. Liu Yuedi and Curtis L. Carter (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), pp. 145-164, ref. on p. 145.

[4] Part 1, Ch. 1, Sec. 7 of his Aesthetica, which is unfinished due to the author’s death, is entitled “vita cognitionis aesthetica.” Alexander Baumgarten, Aesthetica (Frankfurt a. O.: Johann Christian Kleyb, 1750), n. pag. The passage from Meier is from Georg Friedrich Meier, Anfangsgründe aller schönen Wissenschaften (Halle: Carl Hermann Hemmerde, 1748), § 35, p. 60.

[5] Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man: In a Series of Letters. Translated by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and L. A. Willoughby (London: Oxford University Press), p. 147n. Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, translated by Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949), p. 150.

[6] E.g. Armen Avanessian et al. (ed.), Vita aesthetica: Szenarien ästhetischer Lebendigkeit (Zürich: Diaphanes, 2009).

[7] Kinya Masugata, “A Short History of Kierkegaard’s Reception in Japan,” in Kierkegaard and Japanese Thought, ed. James Giles (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008),
pp. 32-52; ref. on p. 34.

[8] Chogyu Takayama, “Biteki Seikatsu wo Ronzu (On the Aesthetic Life),” Chogyu Zenshu (Complete Works of Chogyu), Vol. 4 (Tokyo: Hakubun-kan, 1915), § 1, p. 853, my translation.

[9] Ibid., § 5, p. 862.

[10] Ibid., § 5, p. 862.

[11] Ibid., § 4, pp. 860-861.

[12] Ibid., § 4, p. 860. The reference to “following one’s heart” is based on Analects 2:4. The reference to birds and flower is based on Matthew 6:26/28.

[13] Ibid., § 4, p. 862.

[14] Ibid., § 5, p. 863.

[15] Ibid., § 6, p. 864.

[16] Ibid., § 6, p. 864.

[17] In the twenty-third letter, Schiller insists that “there is an aesthetic transcendence (Übertreffen) of duty.” Schiller, p.167, slightly modified. By the way, Schiller is one of the few Western philosophers who advocated the aesthetic life: “... the humanity must be restored to a human being each time anew through the aesthetic life (das ästhetische Leben).” (Schiller, p. 147n., slightly modified).

[18] Takayama, § 6, 865.

[19] Ibid., § 6, 867.

[20] Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea (1906); Collected English Writings, vol. 1 (Tokyo: Heibonsha Limited, Publisher, 1984), pp. 289, 290.

[21] Arthur Danto, “Transfiguration of the Commonplace,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 33, 2 (1974), 139-148.

[22] Okakura, p. 289.

[23] As for Muneyoshi (Soetsu) Yanagi, see Tanehisa Otabe, “Mingei-Bewegung im Hinblick auf die Interkulturalität, ” The Journal of the Faculty of Letters, The University of Tokyo, Aesthetics, 33 (2008), 45-61.

[24] Muneyoshi (Soetsu) Yanagi, “Bi to Seikatsu (Beauty and Life),” Yanagi Muneyoshi Zenshu (Collected Works of Muneyoshi Yanagi), Vol. 4 (Tokyo: Chikuma-shobo, 1982),
p. 422, my translation.

[25] Ibid., p. 425.

[26] Ibid., p. 427.

[27] See Tanehisa Otabe, “Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi, a Pioneer in Comparative Aesthetics, and His Theory of ‘Framelessness of Japanese Artistic Style’: Toward Intercultural Aesthetics,” International Yearbook of Aesthetics, 11 (2007), 111-130.

[28] Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi, Nihon Geijutsu Yoshiki no Kenkyu (A Study of Japanese Artistic Style), (Tokyo: Shoka-sya, 1933), pp. 77-78, my translation.

[29] Ibid., pp. 613-614.

[30] Ibid., p. 78.

[31] Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi, Geijutsu Nihon no Tankyu (A Research into Artistic Japan) (Tokyo: Sogen-sha, 1941), p. 48, my translation.

[32] Okakura, p. 286, p. 289.

[33] Ibid., p. 293.

[34] Motomori Kimura, “Hegeru ni okeru Geijutsu-bi no idee (The idea of artistic beauty in Hegel),” Bi no Katachi (Form of Beauty) (Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten, 1941), p. 241, my translation.

[35] Kimura, p. 242.

[36] Motomori Kimura, “Ichida no Nomi (A Blow of Chisel),” Hyogen Ai (Expressive Love) (Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten, 1939), p. 159, my translation.

[37] Motomori Kimura, Kokka ni Okeru Bunka to Kyoiku (Culture and Education in State) (Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten, 1946), p. 148, my translation. See my discussion on this point in Tanehisa Otabe, “Corporeity of Self-awakening and the Interculturality of Cultural Self-awakening: Motomori Kimura’s Philosophy of Expression,” International Yearbook of Aesthetics, 14 (2010), 142-159.

[38] Ibid., p. 34.

[39] Ibid., pp. 149-150.

[40] Motomori Kimura, “Hyogen Ai (Expressive Love),” Hyogen ai (Expressive Love) (Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten, 1938), pp. 41-42, my translation.

[41] Ibid., p. 42.

[42] Kiyoshi Miki, "Kosoryoku no Ronri (Logic of Imagination)," Miki Kiyoshi Zenshu (Collected Works of Kiyoshi Miki), vol. 8 (Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten, 1967), p. 223, my translation.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid., p. 224.

[45] Ibid., p. 34.

[46] Ibid., p. 225.

[47] Ibid., p. 236.

[48] Ibid., p. 237-238.

[49] Ibid., p. 238.

[50] Muneyoshi (Soetsu) Yanagi, “Getemono no Bi (The Beauty of the Common Object),” Yanagi Muneyoshi Zenshu (Collected Works of Muneyoshi Yanagi), vol. 8 (Tokyo: Chikuma-shobo, 1980), p. 9-10, my translation.

[51] Takayama, § 4, p. 861.

[52] Yanagi, p. 9.

[53] Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi, Nihon Geijutsu Yoshiki no Kenkyu (A Study of Japanese Artistic Style) (Tokyo: Shoka-sha, 1933), pp. 613-614, my translation.

[54] See Richard Shusterman, Thinking through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 21.

[55] See Tanehisa Otabe, “On an Aesthetic Consciousness of our Being: Toward a Contextualization of Shusterman’s Somaesthetics,” International Yearbook of Aesthetics, 18 (2014), 117-123.