|Gouache doro-e de la collection Yanagi, |
présentée dans la revue Kōgei, 1937. Mingeikan, Tōkyō.
Mesological life in 1928
Associate professor (philosophy)
Research Institute for Humanity & Nature (RIHN), Kyoto, Japan
In 1928, there were 3 epoch making events related to Mesology in Japan.
First of all, Japanese philosopher, Tetsuro Watsuji, started the lecture on Mesology from a philosophical viewpoint at the first time in this year, focusing on the Japanese word Fudo (milieu) and investigating the various phenomena of interactions between human cultures and natural environments. This lecture was published under the title, Fudo, afterwards.
Secondly, Koji Fujii, who was the first environmental engineer on architecture in Japan, published his main work, Residence in Japan, and built his own house of modern-ecological style, assimilating its construction to the climate and nature in Japan. This house was named Chochikkyo, which literally means the residence listening to the sound of bamboo.
Finally, the group of Mingei (folk crafts) expressed the first example of lifestyle with folk crafts as a pavilion of the domestic exposition in Tokyo. Mingei was a social movement developed by Japanese author, Soestu Yanagi, who was also philosopher but turned his interest more and more into a concrete world such as hand-crafted articles made from natural materials.
Fudo, Chochikkyo, and Mingei. While their directions are different in the different fields, because the first is mainly the concept related to philosophy, the second to architecture, and the last to crafts, all of them share the same notion of living in or with nature. Is it only a coincidence that these three concepts appeared in the same year? If anything, we should consider them as three trials to pioneer their own fields in the beginning of 20th century and to present the alternative way of life together, connecting again with the nature which the mainstream of their age missed.
Watsuji, Fujii and Yanagi were born almost in the same year, 1889, when the 4th universal exposition of Paris was held. Since one of the main attractions for this big event was the gallery of machines (la gallerie des machines), we may say that this exposition announced the advent of a machine age. The three persons born in this year were brought up by the age of machine and struggled to overcome its problematic social trend whose prospects seemed to them to remain uncertain when they grew up.
Now we’re suffered from global environmental change and living no longer in the machine age but the atomic age, and facing to the much more terrible situation than the begging of last century. I hope that this paper on the trials of Mesological life in 1928 will give the participants of this seminar some steps for discussion about the breakthrough point for our age.