The Art Of Japanese Life

Image of the red circle of Japan with the cityscape within, as well as a bonzai tree

In recent times, Japan has been at the forefront of technology and has developed into a global powerhouse. But for centuries it lived in deliberate isolation with little known about its culture or people. Art historian Dr James Fox delves into the art of Japan, revealing its mysterious origins and exploring the links between culture, the countryside, urban landscapes and religion.

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The Art Of Japanese Life on BBC Select

Nature
The vital link between Japanese culture and the natural world is investigated. Japanese culture and the natural environment have always been intrinsically linked. Dr James Fox journeys through Japan’s mountainous forests, glorious Zen gardens and encounters centuries – old bonsai to explore these connections. Traveling around the country’s stunning geography, he examines how two great religions, Shinto and Buddhism, helped shape a creative response to nature.

Cities
How the artistic life of three Japanese cities shaped the country’s cultural attitudes. The artistic life of three great Japanese cities shaped the country’s attitudes and helped forge the very idea of Japan itself. Visiting Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo, Dr James Fox reveals how the flowering of classical culture produced many great treasures of Japanese art. These include everything from The Tale of Genji, considered the first novel ever, to the world-famous animation house
Studio Ghibli.

Home
How the clean minimalism and uncluttered mindset of the Japanese home developed. The minimalism of the Japanese home has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji. But its origins evolved from a system of spiritual and philosophical values, dating back centuries. Dr James Fox explores the art of the Japanese home, visiting one of Japan’s last surviving traditional wooden villages and learning the importance of calligraphy.

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