Digital Commons@RISD Home > Division of Liberal Arts > Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive) > Vol. 18 (2020)
The Aesthetics of Social Situations: Encounters and Sensibilities of the Everyday Life in Japan
What beauty could there be in mundane, interactive encounters in and observations of the everydayness of life in Japan? The answer rightly may be none whatsoever based on the Kantian, distancing, art-centered theory and practice of aesthetics. Refreshingly, however, contemporary social and aesthetic philosophers would argue that the use of the word ‘beauty’ was a misguided choice, as it repeats the common error of equating the aesthetic with the beautiful or pleasing. A more appropriate word, honoring the original sense perception meaning of aesthetics, would be ‘sensibility.’ True to this original meaning of aesthetics, this paper presents and analyzes two selected experiences of heightened sensibility of the author. Using Arnold Berleant’s aesthetic field model and Yuriko Saito’s works on everyday aesthetics in Japanese culture as theoretical anchors, this paper attempts to shine a light on the everyday life sensibilities for the engaged appreciator or observer in Japan.