The Itsukushima Shrine and the Many Meanings of Hashi

Hashi in motion A secondary concept of Ma is hashi. Generally, hashi means “edge.” The origin of this pronunciation of hashi comes from the Japanese word hashike, meaning a boat, or a barge. Therefore, saying the word hashi unconsciously carries an image of a boat moving between two borders. In this example, the boundary exists in the […]

Michiyuki and the Katsura Imperial Villa

Michiyuki: Traveling and Beyond Being under water blurs the self/space boundary because you are always in motion. Michiyuki, the Japanese spatial concept for “moving self,” means traveling from once place to another. It specifically refers to the space you covered and the time you spent while traveling. But by translating Michiyuki to “traveling,” something is […]

Mindfulness through Ma

More than a gate Another Japanese spatial concept that contributes to designing a mindful space is the boundary in motion. One of the Japanese words for this is Ma, which generally means “gap.” The Chinese character for Ma (間) represents a gate made out of two doors with the moonlight coming through. But Ma is much more […]

Utsuroi in Japanese Architecture and Landscape

Utsuroi: changing space Utsuroi, another Japanese spatial concept that causes the self/space boundary to blur, is present throughout Japanese architecture and gardens. Utsuroi means gradual and inevitable change from one state to another. It can also refer to reflection or projection of one thing onto another. Both meanings suggest that nothing is reliable, and everything is […]

Space for Well-being: Chrysanthemum Show Opening Lecture at Smith College

Yoko Kawai was invited to talk on “space for well-being” to open the Chrysanthemum Show at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. It was an honor and excitement to address the enthusiastic audience of 200 people! The Fall Mum Show has been the popular tradition at the Botanic Garden since the early 1900s. Yoko used […]