You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

The Japanese Mind permalink

Japanese culture, its structure and how the individual plays their role in it is a subject that endlessly fascinates me and contradicts my Western sensibilities. It is a kind of “chasing the dragon” situation: the more I try to understand the Japanese mind, the way they interact with each other and create art, the more I get lost in the ambiguities and press harder for an exact understanding. I am not meant to understand and I know this. It doesn’t matter. I will always appreciate their prodigious creative and intellectual output.

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image: Asagi Maeda bracelet SO-EN magazine, December 2005

I like to think I understand Asagi Maeda’s jewelry pieces. Most of us were attracted to all things miniature when we were children. Some of us have retained this attraction in the form of model trains, etc. Japanese art spanning across many mediums reflects this pull toward microcosm and compartmentalization. Certainly it can be attributed to the notorious lack of personal space, but the fact that there are examples of the allure toward miniature in traditional Japanese culture suggests a deeper significance.

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image: Asagi Maeda bracelet SO-EN magazine, December 2005

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image: Asagi Maeda SO-EN magazine, December 2005

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image: Asagi Maeda bracelet SO-EN magazine, December 2005

As an expression of feelings toward her native country, in 2004 Asagi Maeda based art jewelry pieces on haiku. (None of these are featured here, but can be found on her website.) Haiku is the shortest form of poetry in the world. In its abbreviated format is a world of meaning; the “observer” intending to capture volumes in a single, cherished moment.

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image: Asagi Maeda bracelet SO-EN magazine, December 2005

This defines both the appeal of miniature and what I see as a distinct function of the Japanese mind: attention to the most minute of details will unfold the broadest of meaning.

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