Mizukagami is a reflection on water, especially pond. In this post, I’ll show you what it is and the idea hiding behind it. 合掌
What is Mizukagami? 水鏡とは何か
Mizukagami (水鏡) is a reflection on the surface of water. It is an art of see a view. In this technique, we use a water surface as a mirror, i.e., we enjoy a reflection instead of the object we admire. There is an idea behind it: To see something directly is no Iki (粋). Iki is a highly-sophisticated, though it sometimes wants simplicity, aesthetic sense.
We often take advantage of a pond but everything that has smooth surface is available. For example, we use a pool of water.
Mizukagami is so prolific
We can enjoy Mizukagami in every season but we love to see Sakura and autumn leaves with it.
Around 3:30, Mizukagami part starts. In the pond, a carp makes ripples and the pond doesn’t reflect the scene like a mirror. That’s the point. Most important thing. We are in the middle of the nature that never stops. The ripples tells us that we are alive and make us find ourselves in calmness.
“Calmness” may sound strange to you but that’s the way Japanese people are. Ten out of ten Japanese say the scene is tranquil.
This calmness reminds us of how spring means to us. In every single spring, we a conviction: The life starts anew. I’m sure the scene describes a typical spring and the way Japanese people feel.
Mizukagami is effective especially in night illumination because the surface of water reflects a scene well. In this video, Mizukagami starts around 3:45. The surface of the pond roars due to the spring breeze. It has the same effect of the ripples the carpe made. The breeze tells us that we are in spring. In summer, there is no breeze like this.
Take a look at the photo. Due to the raindrops, the reflection is not clear. The photo was taken on the first day of Sakimatsuri Yoiyamas of Gion matsuri. It often rains around the day. The roaring surface describes the season in which the photo was taken. Like this, Mizukagami has rich information.
Mizukagami is also available on anything smooth. The most famous example is Rurikoin temple. In spring and fall, we can enjoy the reflections on the well-polished lacquered tables. In this case, there is no carp and breeze or raindrops are on the surface. The colors of the maple leaves and the lights tells us the moment we are in.
The way to understand the moment we are in
Previously described, Mizukagami is an art to enjoy the view but it also the way to find the season, or moment we are in actually. I’m sure many Japanese people understand it consciously or uncosnciously.