Nitobe Garden features asymmetrical design commonly associated with those of Japan. As a chisen kaiyū, this location has three bridges that cross its pond, a nod to the aptly named “3, 5, 7” trend of odd numbers, as well as asymmetry. The furthest bridge from the garden’s entrance is designed similarly to that of Yatsuhashi in Ise Tales, with it’s jagged, zig-zagging shape rendering it asymmetrical. The water flowing between these bridges is also disproportional, with one side being much larger than the other. Interjecting into this pond is one of many peninsula-like features, one of which has a large tree growing diagonally over the water, suggesting an imbalanced posture. These peninsulas overall have the effect of creasing the pond’s sides into a less recognizable and less round shape. As a result, the pathways circumventing the water also turn invariably with winding angles evoking the bridge’s jagged corners. All of these features’ asymmetry convey a natural and unaffected world, as opposed to a contrived setting.

Yatsuhashi_Bridge_-_Korakuen_(Okayama)_-_DSC01716.JPG

Opposing these natural and ambiguous features is a small hut from where one can look at the water from a fixed position, like in chisen zakan. This contrived structure has two entrances on perpendicular walls, but not in corresponding positions. Additionally, the bench running inside the wall of this hut end in incongruous angles, making the interior asymmetrical. This hut is oddly situated in this garden, an irregular structure in a regular position, contributing to the lack of conformity of this garden overall.

 

Works Cited

Sugiyama, Ryo. “The Conventions of Japanese Gardens.” ASIA 453. UBC, Vancouver. 24 Feb. 2016. Lecture.

Sugiyama, Ryo. “The Conventions of Japanese Gardens.” ASIA 453. UBC, Vancouver. 24 Feb. 2016. Lecture.

Bellman, David, and Meirion Cynog Evans. “Vast Ocean, Vast Heaven.” ASIA 453. UBC, Vancouver. 20 Jan. 2016. Lecture.

Sugiyama, Ryo. “The Conventions of Japanese Gardens.” ASIA 453. UBC, Vancouver. 24 Feb. 2016. Lecture.

Sugiyama, Ryo. “The Conventions of Japanese Gardens.” ASIA 453. UBC, Vancouver. 24 Feb. 2016. Lecture.

 

Contributor: Conor McCann

 

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