Mono no aware: the Pathos of Things

Mono no aware is an untranslatable but key word in Japanese culture.

Motoori Norinaga, an eighteenth century literary scholar coined the term. 'Mono' signifies 'thing' or 'things'; 'aware' means 'feeling', and the element 'no' signifies something an object possesses.
It refers to the exquisite feelings experienced when encountering the impermanent nature of life.

The most famous example of mono no aware in Japan is the traditional love of cherry blossoms. Huge crowds of people go out every year to admire the cherry trees. The blossoms of the Japanese cherry trees are loved because of their transience. They usually begin to fall within a week of their first appearing. It is the evanescence of their beauty that brings mono no aware.

But experiencing mono no aware does not consist merely of sinking into a profound contemplation.
Mono no aware is experienced and then shared by composing poems or creating objects. And when someone else appreciates our poems or our objects, a small moment of ‘aware’ happens creating a deep and impermanent sense of beauty.