If we thought that reality were changeable, fragile, and fleeting, would we take life more seriously or less seriously? This book contemplates the notion of hakanasa, the evanescence of all things, as understood by the Japanese. Their lived responses to this idea of impermanence have been various and even contradictory. Asceticism, fatalism, conformism. Hedonism, materialism, careerism. What this array of responses have in common are, first, a grounding in hakanasa, and, second, an emphasis on formality. Evanescence and Etiquette attempts to illuminate for the first time the ties between an epistemology of constant change and Japan's formal emphasis on etiquette and visuality.
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About the Author
Charles Shiro Inouye is a Professor of Japanese and former Dean of the Colleges for Undergraduate Education at Tufts University. He is the author of Similitude of Blossoms, A Critical Biography of Izumi Kyoka (Harvard, 1998), and Japanese Gothic Tales by Izumi Kyoka, Volumes One and Two (Hawaii, 1994 and 2004). He received the 2003 U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission Prize, for the best English translation of a work of Japanese literature.