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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
niall
Offline
rss2
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,110
Views: 631,263

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In Miscellaneous Mask Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #39 New 01-21-2011 08:33 AM
Mask The typical noh mask is smaller than the face. They are usually shallow in construction and carved from hinoki wood. The masks are carved in such a manner that the expression of the face changes as the shadow and light change with the slightest movement of the head.
The Masks of Japan

Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.
Salman Rushdie

We wear the mask that grins and lies
Paul Laurence Dunbar


There has been a strange thing happening in Japan in the last few weeks. It started on Christmas Day when ten new school backpacks were left at a children's home with a message that they were from Naoto Date. Naoto Date was a character in a popular manga called Tiger Mask. It was about a boy who becomes a professional wrestler who wears a tiger mask. He helps the children's home where he was brought up with anonymous presents from his fight prize money.

The anonymity of giving without wanting to be recognized or thanked struck a chord in Japan. Soon there were gifts being left all over the country with a message that they were from Tiger Mask or inspired by him. One man who was seen leaving a gift was even wearing a wrestler's tiger mask. People want to make a difference. Sometimes they just have to be given a hint.

In Japan it's the season for colds and flu and many people wear paper masks on the trains. There is even a new phenomenon of young people wearing masks all the time to help them feel more secure. A mask can hide identity or even give identity. There is a cool novel by John Collee called Paper Mask about a hospital porter who assumes the identity of a doctor. It was made into a great movie too starring Paul McGann.

Masks are used in Japanese drama in noh. Noh really deserves a separate article, but there is one clear parallel with martial arts. The body movement in noh all comes from the hips - koshi. The feet slide on the ground - suri ashi - in small precise steps. The energy is very concentrated and the movements are like the foot movements in the Japanese sword - kenjutsu.

Humans have always been fascinated by masks: The Man in the Iron Mask, The Phantom of the Opera, Zorro, Batman... Masks can hide. They can protect. They can suggest something new. Sincere training in budo will help you to see through all the masks. But don't forget about seeing through the last one. Your own.


The Masks of Japan by Centaur Art Galleries
http://www.centaurgalleries.com/Japanese2005/Masks.cfm

Paper Mask on the internet movie database:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100330/

reviews of Paper Mask on the internet movie database (all great!):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100330/usercomments

wikipedia article on Tiger Mask:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Mask

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African-American poet:
http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/p...ar/poems/14864


cool photo: Noh Mask, National Museum by kristi-san http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristi-san/165433681/ photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristi-san/with/165433681/ used under creative commons licence

niall matthews 2011
Views: 2798 | Comments: 14


RSS Feed 14 Responses to "Mask"
#14 01-25-2011 06:57 AM
niall Says:
Thank you so much, Francis. Your interesting question about honne and tatemae deserves a full article I think so I hope you don't mind waiting for a few days. We all make our own choices about the men we wear - or don't wear. Perhaps in the end they disappear or wash away leaving the naked true face as Chris and Carina said. And there are some people who don't wear a mask. O Sensei comes to mind immediately!
#13 01-24-2011 11:46 AM
aikishihan Says:
Brilliant insight into things Japanese, but so much more. What are your insights of the "men" in regards to the practice of "tatemae" and "honne"? Isn't it strange that we wear "masks" interchangeably, much as we change our clothing? Can't be such a bad thing now is it? in oneness, francis
#12 01-24-2011 09:24 AM
niall Says:
That's a great comment, Chris. I love that image of washing the mask away. I don't know Gaku Homma Sensei but there was a news item on aikiweb about some community work his dojo was doing a while ago and at the time I made a comment on here. I think his way of thinking about aikido is holistic and universal and human and compassionate. What real aikido should be. All the best, Niall
#11 01-24-2011 02:35 AM
chris wright Says:
Great Blog Niall, In Gaku Homma's 'Aikido for life' book - he talks briefly about the masks we wear in everyday life, and the frreedom of loosing them with our training. Perhaps that's part of the misogi - to wash away the masks, to find our true selves. Best Wishes
#10 01-23-2011 07:08 PM
niall Says:
A mask (men in Japanese) has two faces or surfaces (also men in Japanese): front and back or omote men and ura men. So you can also think of a mask going in two directions...
#9 01-23-2011 07:04 PM
niall Says:
Great points , Billy. I should do a separate article about breathing maybe. I like your extension of the idea to unmasking.
#8 01-23-2011 08:23 AM
Hi Billy, Yes our teacher is surprising us every time even I think he did not study much, but maybe by painting or reparing something in an house, he is I don't know if bricklayer is right, he works for himself..he thinks about aikido and very deep, he is also surprising us with the techniques, he must have kind of gift for aikido, our level in foreign seminars we went to was not bad
#7 01-23-2011 05:16 AM
Makochan Says:
Niall, this is a grate blog that evokes thought. I was also very interested in Carina's comments about her teacher's style of teaching. That lesson described, for me, was not just about loosing shame in the dojo, but also about doing techniques in one breath. Breathing in before contact and out in one steady breath till the technique is complete. Students must take different messages from every class it's only with consideration that the teacher's intentions are un-masked! Best, Billy
#6 01-22-2011 07:39 PM
niall Says:
Gracias, Carina.
#5 01-22-2011 11:16 AM
#4 01-22-2011 07:01 AM
niall Says:
As I told you before I think your teacher has really good and imaginative ideas about teaching.
#3 01-22-2011 04:54 AM
There is always a nice coincidence
#2 01-22-2011 04:08 AM
niall Says:
Thanks, Carina. By the way you mentioned shomen. The men in shomen is the same word for mask.
#1 01-21-2011 01:08 PM
Niall this post is beautiful and thoughtful as always, Do you have a connection with our teacher?. Yesterday our class was about losing the shame in dojo, by doing a technique we had to shout only during the contact with uke, since he grips our hand or the contact defending from shomen, until we finished the technique, but the shouting had to be steady, So it was also about losing our mask just be nude ( not the body)in front of our collegues. You know what our homework will be for february
 




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