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Aesthetics In the Western world aesthetics is considered the branch of philosophy that is concerned with concepts of value and beauty as they relate to the arts Philosophers from Plato until the present time have had rigid ideas about what artists should create and what people should like but in todays world aestheticians represent a variety of approaches to the philosophy of art Aesthetics in the broadest sense may be thought of as a worldview a view that may be markedly different in other cultures Objects from other cultures that are categorized as art works from the Western perspective may or may not hold the same meaning in their culture of origin Precisely because of possible differences in worldviews and aesthetic stances of non-Western cultures it is important to set aside Western aesthetics as criteria when making judgments about non-Western art For example many non-Western cultures recognize no distinction between fine art and craft may not even have a word for art and may not separate art from everyday life Japanese Aesthetics To understand the art and aesthetics of Japan it is necessary to investigate a Japanese worldview ideas about the nature of art and influences brought about through contact with other cultures The aesthetics of Japan developed in a unique fashion partly because of its geographic location a string of islands about 100 miles from Korea and 500 miles from China Its isolation by the sea helped protect Japan from foreign invasion and allowed its rulers to control contact with other nations During long periods of self-imposed isolation art forms and aesthetic ideas developed that were specifically Japanese Over the centuries when interactions with foreign cultures occurred they influenced the traditional arts and aesthetics of Japan For the purposes of this discussion the focus will be on what remained essentially Japanese Traditional Japanese art and aesthetics were most affected by the Chinese and Buddhism but influences from the West are also evident
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