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Zen Garden Study Group

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Situation Former study
Details In view of the rapid development of Kyoto in recent years, the compilation of materials recording the appearance of the capital (particularly its Zen temple gardens) has become increasingly urgent if we are to create a comprehensive archive for the future. The Miyako rinsen meishozue 都林泉名所図 (Illustrated guide to the famous gardens and sites of the capital; 1799) provides a classic example upon which to base our efforts.
         Experts in the fields of garden design, garden history, and architectural history were brought together to investigate historically significiant Zen gardens (Zen temple gardens) for the purpose of filming them using modern photographic technology.
Activities 2000-2001:
  • May 5, 2000:  Planning meeting. “Zen gardens” or “Zen temple gardens”?
  • July 3, 2000:  Discussion of how a “Zen garden” is distinguished from “a garden located in a Zen temple” (for example, is Tenryū-ji’s Sogenchi garden specifically a Zen garden, or is it simply an excellent garden in a temple?)
  • August 21, 2000:  Kōetsu-ji, Rev. Yamashita Ekō speaks on “The physical manifestation of the spirit of tea.”
  • November 20, 2000:  How the style of temple gardens was influenced by the relationship between the date the gardens were designed and who the abbot of the temple was at that time.
  • December 21, 2000:  Discussion of possible general differences in style of honzan (main temple) gardens versus tacchū (subtemple) gardens (taking into consideration the influence of the historical period, sponsor, abbot, etc.).
  • January 21, 2001: Same as above; discussion of how the conclusions can be expressed in the form of a chart.
  • February 20, 2001: Same as above; discussion of the resulting chart.
    The activities of this study group have been taken over by the Zen Garden Video-Archive Group.
Name of group
leader and members
Chairperson:  Amasaki Hiromasa (President, Kyoto University of Art and Design)
Group members: Naka Takahiro (Associate Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design); Yagasaki Zentarō (Associate Professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology); Kodama Osamu (Image Studio “Sangha Inc.”); Toga  Masataka, Kōno Gihō (Institute for Zen Studies).