Introducing Japanese interests
A tool into which ash is poured, within which charcoal is placed, on top
of whichsome mica is arranged, which in turn is covered by small pieces
of cut fragrant wood. The result enables the user to enjoya wonderful scent.
The photograph on the left features a tool used when hosting a gathering
of incense burning aficionados. The picture is a description of smelling
incense by Professor Shinsui Ito.
The photograph below serves as an invitation to the world of Japanese characters
and writing.Introducing the characters and musical scores that played an
integral part in the societies of ancient timesand the Middle Ages.
Japan had been using various forms of alphabets and musical scores up until
the Edo period.I hereby introduce them given that they have becometreasures
that are rarely used or seen in this day and age.
The above is a book of the Lotus Sutra. Ages ago, people in Japan used
to read Buddhist scriptures written in classical Chinese. This sutra was
translated in China and subsequently shaped by the founderof the Tendai
Daish, Prince Shotoku, Dengyo Daishi,Nichiren Shonin, and other important
figures. Although I myself am a follower of Zen Buddhism, I have oftenread
the book (issued by Heirakuji Publishers) featur ed in this photograph.
There are also hand-copied sutras that are reproductions of Buddhist scriptures.
The photo graph below is one such example and features the LotusSutra transcribed
onto a folding fan.
The above photograph depicts an anthology put together by thirty-six poets
that was bequeathed to Nishihonganji temple.Kana (Japanese syllabary) was
developed based on the flowing style of writing Chinese characters and
the above photograph shows a fine example of the waka (tanka poetry) style.
While the Japanese continue to use kana today, many variations were in
use once upon a time. Although such variations can be difficult to understand,
practice will allow easy-to-read samples to be interpreted with little
difficulty. The photograph below features a scroll picture on which waka
has been composed. The roomresembles one that might exist somewhere within
the Reizei (Reisen) residence, home to a waka expert based in Kyoto.
Of the three photographs above, the one to the upper left features a musical
score penned of Japanese traditional music and dance "Ran Ryo'o".Photographs
in which performers dance to the music and actually play instruments are
A musical score designed for play by ryuteki, special flutes used for
gagaku, the court music of ancient Japan. The flute shown in the middle
of the photograph below is an example of an actual ryuteki.
Musical scores used in gagaku differ completely from musical scores used
in the West. Performers first memorize the song laid out in the score as
shown in the above photograph and then actually play the music using their