The term “mono no aware” expresses the sentiment of “the transience and the beauty of
things.” This concept is often referred to as “impermanence” in Western culture.
The concept of mono no aware is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and philosophy. It is a
philosophy that understands that everything in life and the natural world is temporary and
constantly changing. For example, while cherry blossoms bloom beautifully, their beauty is
fleeting, and they soon scatter. This essence of mono no aware brings not only the beauty of
the moment but also feelings of endings and loss.
Behind the establishment of this concept lies Japan’s history, culture, particularly influenced
by Buddhism. Buddhist teachings emphasize the impermanence of all existence and the
importance of accepting change. Additionally, mono no aware themes are often depicted in
Japanese literature and art, deeply impressing people’s hearts.
This concept can be understood by Westerners as well. For example, the English word
“ephemeral” is used to describe the transient nature and fragility of things. Similarly, in
Christian teachings, there are similarities with the concept of mono no aware regarding
thoughts on time and the end of life.
Rather than understanding this word intellectually, its comprehension deepens through
feeling, so let’s provide some specific examples. Please take a moment to feel the pathos of
things while imagining the scenes and savoring the text. “Mono no aware” is intertwined with
the transient, the intangible, time, and the momentary beauty. Feeling it is momentary, and
the sensation of “mono no aware” itself also ends in a moment.

Dancing Petals

In a small village nestled in the rural hills of Japan, there lived a young woman named
Sachiko, who loved flowers and nature. Every spring, amidst the beautiful pink and white
blossoms of cherry trees, Sachiko would stroll through her garden, mesmerized by the petals
dancing in the wind.
One afternoon, as she wandered beneath the cherry trees, Sachiko came across a group of
children playing nearby. They laughed and chased each other, their joyous voices mingling
with the soft rustle of petals carried by the breeze. Captivated by the scene, Sachiko paused
to watch, feeling a sense of inner peace.
Suddenly, a gust of wind swept through the orchard, sending petals swirling through the air.
While the children joyfully reached out to catch the falling petals, Sachiko felt something
else. Amidst the beauty, she experienced a fleeting moment of sadness.
As Sachiko gazed at the petals scattered on the ground, she realized the ephemeral nature
of their fleeting glory. Like the cherry blossoms, she understood they were temporary and
fragile. However, instead of sorrow, Sachiko embraced a deep sense of gratitude for the
beauty of the moment. Determined to fully savor the fleeting value of the cherry blossoms’
short existence.

The Aging Teahouse

In the heart of the village stood an old, weather-beaten wooden teahouse. Across
generations, the teahouse had served as a gathering place for travelers and villagers alike,
its tatami mats echoing with countless conversations and shared moments.

One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, Tohru found himself drawn to the
teahouse. Stepping into the dim interior, he was greeted by the scent of freshly brewed tea
and the gentle murmur of conversation. Seated by the window, Tohru watched as shadows
lengthened, observing the faces around him age with time.
Among the patrons was an elderly man named Takeshi, whose face, weathered by years,
bore the traces of rich experiences. Sipping his tea, Takeshi regaled those around him with
tales of his youth, his voice tinged with nostalgia for days gone by. Yet, despite the passage
of time, Takeshi’s eyes held a serenity, quietly accepting the march of years.
Listening to Takeshi’s stories, Tohru felt a deep reverence for the teahouse’s antiquity and
all it symbolized. Like the cherry blossoms, the teahouse accepted the passage of fleeting
time, deepening in beauty with each passing year. And just as the cherry blossoms would
one day scatter, so too would the teahouse crumble away. However, in that moment,
enveloped by the warmth and camaraderie of the teahouse, Tohru understood that true
beauty lay not in the teahouse’s longevity, but in the memories and moments it had created.

The Changing Seasons

As the seasons cycled and the years passed, Sachiko found herself once again drawn to the
orchard where cherry blossoms bloomed. This time, however, she was accompanied by her
young daughter, Mei. Hand in hand, they walked among the trees, their laughter mingling
with the rustle of leaves in the breeze.
Watching Mei skip ahead, her eyes sparkling with wonder at the natural beauty surrounding
her, Sachiko felt a moment of joy. But she also felt a fleeting pang of sadness, knowing that
her daughter’s childhood, like the cherry blossoms, would soon transform into memories.

These episodes, vivid and concrete, might not they evoke scenes akin to those in a movie? The more beautiful the moments of inspiration, the more precious they are, yet poignant or sorrowful emotions also arise as they swiftly pass, becoming each event in life both joyous and sorrowful simultaneously. It feels as though these moments become the folds of life, where the feeling of ‘mono no aware’ resides. I believe that the more one experiences ‘mono no aware,’ the more sensitive they become to the movements of others’ hearts. Feeling ‘mono no aware’ can be beneficial in the daily lives of those working in the corporate world, as it allows for an appreciation of the preciousness of time.