museum of Motoori Norinaga
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About Norinaga
About  Norinaga
Mptoori Norinaga

"Mono-no aware" describes the feeling of being moved or "a movement of the mind" which is caused by something seen, heard or experienced. "Mono no aware" is a feeling of ingenuous emotions such as sadness, pleasure and joyfulness.Norinaga defined "mono no aware" as a word of naturally expressing one's raw emotions.

Do you think it's natural to feel happy when good things happen to you?Do you think expressing one's raw emotions is what any human would do?In fact, that wasn't the case in Edo Japan.

Confucianism was widespread in Japan during the Edo period, in which Norinaga lived. One of the teachings of the Confucian doctrine said that to act according to one's raw emotions is to be like an animal, and that to live suppressing one's emotions is what it means to be human.Norinaga was against this teaching, and argued for the idea of "mono no aware."

One of the classical literature of Japan related to "mono no aware" is the "Tale of Genji".The author, Murasaki Shikibu, describes the subtle feelings of the people of the Heian period through the experience of Genji's romances.Norinaga also was a big fan of the novel.

However, even the famous "Tale of Genji" was ill-received by readers of the Edo period, followers of Buddhism and Communism, who believed that the work depicted obscene relationships between men and women.

Norinaga's advocacy of "mono no aware" raised the worth of "The Tale of Genji" as a work of literature. He claimed to the reader,"The Tale of Genji" is an expression of "mono no aware," andhas no other purpose than to transmit this pathos. It is a story filled with the spirit of the Japanese.