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Since MeijiPerspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000$
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J. Thomas Rimer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834418

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834418.001.0001

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The Creation of the Vocabulary of Aesthetics in Meiji Japan

The Creation of the Vocabulary of Aesthetics in Meiji Japan

(p.193) 8 The Creation of the Vocabulary of Aesthetics in Meiji Japan
Since Meiji

Michael F. Marra

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the development of a vocabulary of aesthetics in Japan during the Meiji period. It was during the early Meiji period (1868–1912) that the notion of “fine arts” in the Western sense of the word took hold in Japan, at the same time that the idea of “beauty” underwent a significant redefinition. This chapter considers how an understanding of what aesthetics was about evolved in Japan, first by discussing Nishi Amane’s “science of beauty” that created five different words to translate “aesthetics.” It then explores Ernest F. Fenollosa’s “art-idea” and how his 1882 lecture “The True Meaning of Fine Art,” translated in Japanese by Ōmori Ichū, helped redefine the field of practical craft (geijutsu) by making them into objects of aesthetic appreciation (bijutsu).

Keywords:   aesthetics, Japan, Meiji period, fine arts, beauty, Nishi Amane, Ernest F. Fenollosa, art-idea, practical craft, aesthetic appreciation

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