The lecture reveals a surprising connection between the view of time and the Japanese language, and offers practical tips on how to interpret ukiyo-e images.
Japanese time moves on several levels. Underneath Western chronology runs cyclical time, based on imperial periods and the changing of the seasons. A significant notion is the ever-moving now moment, which contains the past and the future. According to this notion, what is momentary can be simultaneously construed as eternal.
A prime example of this is the cherry blossoms, often depicted in woodblock prints. These are symbols of the momentary, while at the same time incorporating the eternal cycle of life: the splendour of the blossoming trees is over in a couple of weeks, but it repeats every spring in a similar fashion.
Moilanen is known in Finland as an expert in Japanese woodblock printing and traditional papermaking. She lived in Kyoto, Japan, for more than twenty years, exploring the country’s culture and art in depth through everyday life.