Religious beliefs from the perspectiveb of Japanese aesthetics: Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara
The Japanese culture is often portrayed as unique, in particular when compared to broadly-understood Western culture. It is important to notice, however, that the main trait of the Japanese culture is its openness towards outside influences and the ability to modify them to fit better with the Japanese system of values. The same could be applied to the Japanese aesthetics, which concernsm various aspects of life, not only the ones that would be described as art in Western culture. The contemporary Japanese culture (and the aesthetics along with it) is occasionally a combination of tradition and modern ideas; the works of popular culture, which includes comics and animation, may hold the most interesting cases in that regard. This article describes the issues of the Japanese aesthetics in Mushishi, a comic book by Yuki Urushibara. The author, while inspired by the classical works of Japanese literature and legendary tales, presents her own stories, in which the primary aesthetic value is the harmony between human and nature, sometimes represented by the supernatural beings known as mushi.