What is the Japanese term for sure

The way" (Do) as an important concept of traditional Japanese culture such as Sadô, Kadô and Budô

Traditional Japanese culture has long been extremely popular around the world. With a view to the number of active followers, the martial arts such as judô, karate or aikidô, but also the tea ceremony or the art of flower arrangement (ikebana) should be mentioned in the first place. As part of the current anniversary year “150 Years of Japan-Germany”, a whole series of events in these arts will take place. This month, for example, there will be tea ceremonies in the office of the Federal President and in the residence of the Ambassador of Japan. News from Japan takes this as an opportunity to emphasize a term that is common to all traditional arts of Japan, namely the term "way" (道 sino-Japanese "do"Or pure Japanese"michi"). The broad spectrum of “ways” in Japanese culture ranges from the tea ceremony (茶道 Sadô) via calligraphy (書 道 Shodô), Fragrance ceremony (香 道 Kôdô) to the art of flower arrangement (華 道 Kadô) and the martial arts (武 道 Budô) like archery (弓 道 Kyûdô) or sword fencing (剣 道 Kendô).

The designation of these arts as “way” indicates the religious relationship, especially to Zen Buddhism. In terms of motivation, posture, and practice, the arts are inspired by Zen meditation. While Zen aims at enlightenment, in the arts mentioned above the aspect of artistry has become more and more important.

The “way” represents the tradition without which an art cannot exist. At the same time, this term indicates, in addition to treading a certain path, i.e. in addition to actually practicing the respective art, also to designing such a path. Just as enlightenment can only be attained through intuitive experience in Zen Buddhism, so when striving for mastery in the respective art it is necessary not to give one's own creative freedom in practice. Because the true and genuine freedom to be striven for lies in the negation of the selfish self and in the abandonment of any arbitrariness in the practice. This requires strict self-training of freedom if it - and ultimately also mastery - is to be achieved.


Sadô: The way of tea (茶道)

The tea ceremony (next to sadô also as chadô or chanoyu known) is the ritualized preparation and serving of green powder tea in the presence of guests. A full-length formal tea ceremony includes a meal (chakaiseki) as well as serving tea twice (koicha and usucha) and takes several hours. During this time, the host is committed to creating a special period of time in which he tries to convey aesthetic, mental and physical pleasure as well as peace of mind to the guests. In order to achieve this, it may take decades for the host not only to acquire the prescribed procedures for serving tea in the presence of guests, but also to learn for themselves how to properly appreciate arts, crafts, poetry and calligraphy. In addition, there may be learning the art of arranging flowers, preparing food and caring for the garden. At the same time, in this way he also acquires dignity, selflessness and a feeling for the needs of other people.



Kadô: The Path of Flowers (華 道)

The art of arranging flowers, better known by the name Ikebana, is by no means limited to flowers. Rather, freshly cut branches of trees and bushes, tendrils, leaves, grasses, berries, fruit and seed pods, but also withered and dried plants can be used for this. In fact, any natural material can be used, and in modern ikebana even materials such as glass, metal or plastic are used. As one of the traditional arts of Japan, Ikebana has developed a symbolic language, decorative concepts, and the use of natural ephemeral flowers and twigs that, taken together, make the dimension of time an integral part of creating. The relationship between the materials used, the styles of arranging, size, shape, surface, volume and color of the container as well as the space and the specific reason for the arrangement are decisive factors. In its 500-year history, the way of flowers has developed a broad spectrum of shapes, ranging from small creations as room decorations to entire landscapes and innovative sculptures.




Budô: The Way of Martial Arts (武 道)

Most of the Japanese martial arts date back to prehistory. For example, archery on horses (yabusame) can be traced back to the 7th century. The samurai, who had been at the forefront of Japanese society since the end of the 12th century, trained themselves in the use of various weapons such as sword, bow and arrow and lance. In the course of time, standardized styles or schools emerged from this, which also persisted during the peaceful Edo period (1600-1868). However, with the abolition of the samurai class at the beginning of the Meiji period and the introduction of modern weapons, these arts experienced a decline. From 1895 the Dai Nippon Budo Kai (Great Japanese Society of Martial Arts) reorganized the individual arts and operated their integration into the educational system, so that they experienced a new bloom. Today the individual martial arts of Japan mainly emphasize the positive physical and psychological aspects as a sport.
The term Dô itself can often be found in the names of the individual martial arts. For example in 柔道 Jûdô (Gentle way), 弓 道 Kyûdô (Path of the arch), 剣 道 Kendô (Way of the sword), 合 気 道 Aikidô (for example: path of harmony with energy) or 空手道 Karatedô (Path of the empty hand).



The explanations on the term Dô are taken from the Japan Handbuch, edited by H. Hammitzsch (1981). The introductions in Sadô, Kadô and Budô are taken from the relevant fact sheets on the Web Japan website.



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