All senses of beauty lead to Grand Seiko.
Japanese beauty appreciated throughout the world.
“The Japanese beauty I love,”
selected by photographer Kazuyoshi Miyoshi
The early summer landscape that spreads in Kinasa, Nagano prefecture. The magnificent Japanese Northern Alps bathing in the early morning sun is reflected on the water as it waits for the rice paddy to be planted.
As someone who has been taking photographs all over the world for more than 40 years under the theme “Paradise,” the most significant impression of the Japanese landscape that I encounter is the delicate transformation they go through from one season to another, not to mention the fact they have four distinct seasons. Moreover, having plenty of water close to where people maintain their lives, such as waterfalls, streams、and rice fields, is another characteristic that makes Japan unique. When both of those factors are combined with a perfect balance, I strongly feel the uniqueness in Japanese beauty.
For example, there is the landscape of Kinasa (written a village with no devils) in Nagano Prefecture, which one can only encounter in early summer. The mountains of the Northern Japanese Alps, topped with remaining snow, are highlighted by the bright light in the early morning. When the shadow is cast onto the village, at the forefront, spread out through the valley, the mountain is reflected crystal clear onto the rice fields containing water to prepare for the young rice plants. The sea of clouds floating in the vale gives out a mystical impression. It is a divine moment that can be seen in this period right before the rice planting season.
Tsutanuma Pond inside the Towada Hachimantai National Park in Aomori Prefecture. The whole area will blush in red.
Tsutanuma Lake, close to Hakkoda Mountains in Aomori Prefecture, is also a place I visit a lot. It is in the Towada Hachimantai National Park and is surrounded by the primeval beech forest called Towada Jukai (the sea of trees). It is beautiful every season, but I like it at sunrise on an autumn day. The morning sun hits the autumn leaves and reflects on the pond’s water, so quiet. Since it is at a high altitude, the air is clean, and the red of the autumn leaves will shine much brighter.
Murōji Temple in Nara Prefecture, in early November, when the trees begin to change color. When you see a landscape that allows you to feel the change of time, you can go back in time, spreading your imagination to landscapes of the bygone days.
When you speak of photography on seasons, you tend to think that you would be capturing the height of the season in this manner. However, the moments that now make me feel the Japanese beauty are between seasons, as one season slides into the next, like between Spring and Summer or Summer and Autumn. More so than when the cherry blossom is in full bloom, it is more beautiful before it blooms when the buds are still seen here and there or when the petals are starting to fall. And a crimson forest of autumn leaves is wonderful, but I am more attracted to the season when mixed with green, red, and yellow, as the leaves are only starting to change color. There is beauty before and after the height of the season that is unique to the period, and that same sensibility to admire is so uniquely Japanese.
Half of the trees were still green when I visited Murōji Temple in Nara Prefecture in early November, and only part of the leaves turned yellow. However, the changing of colors accelerated the next day, and the scenery turned into something a bit different. Nature changes from hour to hour, and one cannot see the same scene twice. Landscapes, too, are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We feel the Japanese beauty in its transience.
Photographer. Born in Tokushima, 1958. He was the youngest photographer at the time to receive the Kimura Ihei Award with his book of photography RAKUEN, released in 1985. He continues with his photography under his theme “Rakuen (Paradise)” all over the world. His books include World Heritage in Japan, Yakushima World Heritage, Paradise Garden, The Imperial Palace of Kyoto and the Imperial Villa, Ogasawara World Heritage, Murouji, Todaiji: The Paradise of the Tenpyo era, The Island Paradise of Japan, and many more.
“RAKUEN The Secret of Paradise” can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.