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mono no aware

A literary and aesthetic ideal cultivated during the Heian period (794-1185). At its core is a deep, empathetic appreciation of the ephemeral beauty manifest in nature and human life, and it is therefore usually tinged with a hint of sadness. Under certain circumstances it can be accompanied by admiration, awe, or even joy. The word was revived as part of the vocabulary of Japanese literary criticism through the writings of Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801). (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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