IMPERMANENCE AS AN AESTHETIC CATEGORY IN JAPANESE ART
The main subject of the paper is impermanence (mujō) defined as the awareness of transience and sensitivity to what is fleeting. I assume that the term, taken from Buddhist philosophy, shapes a classic ideal of beauty in Japanese art. On the basis of the films by Yasujirō Ozu and Hirokazu Koreeda, I would like to show how this aesthetic category is still present in the Japanese cinema. The short analyses of Late Spring (1949) and Tokyo Story (1953) emphasize the references to the tradition by invoking the notions of wabi and sabi; whereas Koreeda’s works provide an example of particular minimalist aesthetics whose aim is to present what is authentic in art. Despite the differences between the two film directors, resulting from a different historical context, the films reveal a similar truth about people who may find happiness only when they realize that they are part of nature, in other words, when they are reconciled with the fragility of life.