What is it about this twilight hour? Even the sound of a barely perceptible breeze pierces the heart. (Ono no Komachi, c. 825 – c. 900, Japanese poet of the early Heian period).
It’s no longer day but night hasn’t come yet either. One by one, the voices that fill the hours of the day with their incessant noise fade until the silence is almost complete. Some aspects of the colours stay concealed in daylight, but now comes the moment for them to appear. The evening light reduces every superfluous detail, every unnecessary shape; it is at the same time the absolute truth and the most beautiful lie.
Today let’s wander in evening landscapes (top to bottom, left to right): Evening at Ushibori, by Kawase Hasui, 1930 [source]; Evening Glow at Choshi, by Tsuchiya Koitsu, 1932 [source]; Dusk at Itako, by Kawase Hasui, 1932 [source]; Fishing Boats at Sea, by Ohara Koson, c. 1900 [source]; Evening at Minano in Chichibu, by Kawase Hasui, 1946 [source]; Evening Snow at Hashiba, by Utagawa Hiroshige II 1861 [source].
Nothing in the world is usual today. This is the first morning (Izumi Shikibu, Japanese poet of the mid-Heian period).
The light returns, bringing back shapes and colours. Everything seems just as it was when the night was falling; the night may wrap things tightly, but when it passes, they remain undiminished. But maybe not only that; maybe each passing night leaves a veneer of melancholy and each dawn reveals a new layer. This shore, that village, those streets are just like always, just like never before.
Wandering in morning landscapes with (top to bottom, left to right): Tsuchiya Koitsu, Morning Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi, 1936 [source]; Yoshikawa Kanpo, Sanjo Ohashi, no date [source]; Kawase Hasui, Morning in Dotonbori, Osaka, 1921 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Morning on the Daikon Wharf, 1927 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Morning at Cape Inubo, 1931 [source]; Kasamatsu Shiro, Clear Morning After Snow at Shinobazu Pond, 1938 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Morning in Dotonbori, Osaka, 1933 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Beppu in the Morning, Oita, 1928 [source]; Utagawa Hiroshige, Snowy Morning in the Yoshiwara, 1832–1838 [source].
Sleeplessly I watch over the spring night— but no amount of guarding is enough to make it stay. (Izumi Shikibu, Japanese poet of the mid-Heian period)
A spring night, made of blossom, moonlight, and the whisper of the wind in fresh green leaves is fragile by its very nature; trying to grasp it in its floating splendour is a vain effort. But its spirit is persistent—so much so that sometimes in mid-winter we catch a sudden whiff of cherry petals bathed in moonlight.
Top to bottom, left to right: Tsuchiya Koitsu, Benkei Bridge, 1933 [source]; Tsuchiya Koitsu, Spring Moon at Osaka Castle, 1932 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Spring Evening at Inokashira Park, 1931 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Spring Evening at the Tōshōgū Shrine in Ueno, 1948 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Night View of Cherry Blossoms at Koganei, 1935 [source]; Kawase Hasui, Tochinoki Hot Springs in Higo Province, 1922 [source].
Even if now I saw you only once, I would long for you through worlds, worlds, worlds (Izumi Shikibu, mid-Heian period Japanese poet).
We rarely see their faces and our eyes never meet. They wander in snow, rain or evening mist, or gaze into the distance, their presence quiet and discreet. Nightfall and time swallow slowly whatever they carry within them: the sweetest of mysteries and the most banal of cares.
Top to bottom, left to right: Takahashi Shotei, Evening Cool at Okawa, no date [source]; Takahashi Shotei, Plum Blossom in Snow, no date [source]; Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei), Geisha by Lantern—Spring Evening, early 20th c. [source]; Ohara Koson, A Courtesan in Silhouette, 1910 [source]; Tsuchiya Koitsu, Evening at Ushigome, 1939 [source].