Modern Iki Project

The goal of this website is to revive iki, deepen its understanding,
 and promote it thorough its use in art and design.

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Introduction

Iki is an intriguing notion that can inspire simple, modern designs. Iki is one of many aesthetic ideals originated in Japan. Although iki is not widely known as wabi-sabi, it can explain some cultural phenomena very well. The goal of this website is to revive iki, deepen its understanding, and promote it thorough its use in art and design.

You might have seen the word kawaii (Japanese cute). Some Japanese words, including kawaii are circulating internationally. However, Japanese culture is often misrepresented and misunderstood. Many people connect Japanese culture to wabi-sabi, ninja, and your favorite, samurai. It is true that about the half of Edo (former Tokyo) were samurais. But what about the rest? The culture of the townsfolk has been often ignored, even by the Japanese themselves. Wabi-sabi is an important aspect of traditional Japanese culture, but it only represents its tiny fraction. The Japanese has not been good at explaining their own culture, thus resulting in confusion and misunderstanding. For example, the depictions of Japan and Japanese in Hollywood movies are almost always inaccurate and bizarre, even when they include Japanese actors and actresses. Some people use the motto "Cool Japan," but this is nothing original. It is just an imitation of "Cool Britannia," an idea that was born (and forgotten) in Britain during nineties. Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints and paintings) is popular around the world, but it was considered to be serious art by the Japanese. Ukiyo-e was treated as art after it is rediscovered by the western artists and critics. Anime, manga, and Japanese video games are considered to be an art form, only after high recognition by the people outside of Japan. Is there anything that could be a starting point, anything that inspires and delivers values from Japan?


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