Forma, Vol. 8 (No. 3), pp. 327-333, 1993

Japanese Symmetries

Istvan Hargittai

Budapest Technical University and Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1521 Budapest, Hungary

(Received July 29, 1993; Accepted September 30, 1993)

Keywords: Symmetry, Imperfection, Terada physics, Japanese culture

Abstract. Many examples illustrate that the most diverse appearances of symmetry where geometrical rigor is relaxed as a necessary criterium abound in the Japanese human habitat and environment. The striving after minute imperfections in Japanese design may be related to the best utilization of available space. However, the Japanese approach to symmetry is consistent with the universal human approach as is demonstrated by common examples in the Essays of Idleness by Tsurezuregusa of Kenko and Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain.