A Critical Lens / 価値観による評価の違い

2017.6.6 [Language Center Blog] 教職員  担当: Written by Daniel Stifler

 When I was in college, I read a book called The Pleasures of Japanese Literature, by Donald Keene. In the book, he suggests four characteristics of aesthetic taste that have traditionally been important in Japan: suggestion, irregularity, simplicity, and perishability. In order to understand Japanese art and literature, he says, it is necessary to become sensitive to these four qualities. In the west, we have different qualities we look at when we evaluate art, so if we expect to find those qualities in Japanese art, we may be disappointed, and we may miss the qualities that are actually there.

大学時代に、私はDonald Keene作「日本文学の醍醐味」という本を読みました。その本の中で筆者は、日本で古きにわたり重要視されてきた4つの美的感覚における特性(暗示、不規則的、質素、腐りやすい)を挙げています。筆者は日本の美術と文学を理解するために、この特性を心得る必要があると言います。西欧では、美術作品を鑑賞する時、この4つとは異なる美的価値観によって作品を評価するので、その価値観に基づいて日本の美術作品を鑑賞すると、その作品に込められた意図を見落としてしまう可能性があります。

 A good example of this is architecture. The palaces and castles of Europe are often bold, symmetrical, grand, and built out of stone so that they last thousands of years. Some of the best Japanese architecture, however, is quiet, understated, asymmetrical, and built of wood, earth, and even paper - not materials that are meant to last a thousand years! If, however, we looked at a Japanese temple or tea house and said "It doesn't look like a European castle, therefore it's not good" we would be missing a chance to see something beautiful.

 In this sense, education can help us find beauty in our lives. Learning about the criteria with which people create and judge works of art can give us a lens through which we can focus on the beauty which is around us in whatever place we visit.
このように、教養は、日々の暮らしの中で美しさを見出す手助けとなるのです。それぞれの美術作品の作り手やそれを評価する人達の、価値観や基準を学ぶ事で、どこへ行ったとしても、あらゆる物事に対して、美に焦点をあてた見方をする事が出来ます。   Translated by M.N 高3