Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yasukuni (2)

Its name translates as “peaceful country,” millions have silently prayed there for an end to wars, and for much of the year the loudest sound is the buzzing of insects and the shuffle of old footsteps to the hushed main hall. Yet Yasukuni Shrine, which occupies a single square kilometer of central Tokyo, is one of the most controversial pieces of real estate in Asia, resented by millions who consider it a monument to war, empire, and Japan’s unrepentant and undigested militarism.

24 April 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008


E. & Chagall
19 April 2008

early spring at Togakushi

Togakushi, Nagano
19 Abril 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

tasogare no aji / the taste of twilight

I wonder how many people there are in the world who truly have a sense of taste for twilight? It seems to me that many people have lumped twilight and dusk together. When speaking of "dusk" the sensation of the color of night, the color of darkness, becomes dominant. However, twilight is neither the color of night nor the color of darkness. So saying, it is neither simply a sensation of day, nor of light. In the momentary world of entering night from day, at the momentary boundary of entering darkness from light, is that not where the twilight world lies? Twilight is neither darkness nor light, and nor is it a mixture of light and darkness. I think that twilight is a world of singularly subtle shades that exist solely in that momentary space of entering darkness from light, of entering night from day. Similar to the singularly subtle twilight world, existing in the space of entering darkness from light, there is a world of subtle shades called dawn on the boundary of entering light from darkness, in the momentary interval of moving to day from night. This too is a singularly subtle world that is neither darkness nor light nor a mixture of darkness and light. I consider it a great mistake that people in the world think as though there were no other worlds outside of night and day, darkness and light. It is my belief that there is certainly a singularly subtle world of the in-between outside of sensations that approach the two extremes of dusk and day-break. [...]
This taste for twilight, this taste for dawn, is not something that exists merely in the relation of day with night. I believe that in similar fashion among all things in the universe there are singularly subtle worlds. For example, even when it comes to people, good and evil is something like day and night, but in between this good and evil there is in addition a singularly subtle place that we should not destroy, that we should not extinguish. In the momentary space of moving from good to evil, in the momentary space of moving from evil to good, humans display singularly nuanced shapes and feelings. I would like primarily to sketch and to transcribe such a twilight-like world. I have been thinking too that I would like to impart in my works a world of the singulary in-between, which is on neither extremity of good and evil, right and wrong, pleasure and displeasure.

Izumi Kyôka, "Tasogare no aji" / The Taste of twilight (translation by Gerald Figal)
from Gerald Figal, Civilization and Monsters: Spirits of Modernity in Meiji Japan (Durham: Durham UP, 1999) 1-2.

Saturday, April 12, 2008