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Shared by friends and collaborators of Japan House London, 'Words & Thoughts' is a collection of words, characters or phrases in Japanese which are particularly poignant to them or for our time.

Originally Chief Creative Director for the Japan House project, eminent designer Hara Kenya is also President of Nippon Design Center, Professor at Tokyo's Musashino Art University and Art Director of MUJI.

He chose: 澄 ('sumu cho': to clear, clean)

"The world is experiencing isolation from 'clouded chaos’. City crowds have dispersed, and Japanese cherry blossom is at its peak but with nobody there to admire it. Above silent Chinese factories, the skies are clearing and we hear the waters of the canals in Venice are regaining their clarity. People have returned to their homes, to unexpectedly calm lives with hours of lucidity. Purification is an important part of the Japanese psyche; to wash the dirt away, cleanse one’s mind and body or to start afresh. No one can predict how the world may change after the corona virus. If we can purify our minds and bodies, however, and reach a state of serenity like ‘a polished mirror or still water’, our suffering might, in fact, take on meaning."

世界は「混濁」からの隔離を経験しています。都市の人混みは消え、日本では満開の桜の下に誰もいない光 景が出現しました。工場生産の止まった中国の空は澄み渡り、ベニスの運河も透明度を取り戻していると聞 きます。人々は家に帰り、思いがけず静かな暮らし、澄んだ時間を過ごしているのではないでしょうか。日 本人の感受性の中で大事なものは「清まる」こと。汚れを浄化し、心身ともに澄み渡ること、あるいは初期 化されること。アフター・コロナの世界が、以前の世界とどう変わるかはだれも予測できませんが、身体を 浄化し、心を清め「明鏡止水」の境地に至れば、この苦難も意味あるものに変わるかもしれません。