From the Wikipedia article on Japanese Aesthetics:

Yūgen (幽玄) is an important concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics. The exact translation of the word depends on the context. In the Chinese philosophical texts the term was taken from, yūgen meant “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious”. In the criticism of Japanese waka poetry, it was used to describe the subtle profundity of things that are only vaguely suggested by the poems.

This led me to trying to find the term in Korean since Buddhism traveled to Japan from Korea and China. I am told the term in Korean is yuhyeon (유현)  The concept goes very deep and I find that getting different perspectives helps me to understand the concept better.

If you notice the first Hangul character in my tattoo. This tattoo for me represents the three principals of Hapkido –

  • Yu (Flowing)
  • Won (Circle)
  • Hwa (Harmony)

You’ll see that it is the same first character – 유 Are they related? Probably on some level, but I don’t have enough experience with the language to understand it yet. Everything connects to everything in some way though 🙂

A fantastic blog post going even further in depth with this concept can be found here at CreativeSystemsThinking. A fantastic blog I stumbled across when looking into this.


Special thanks to SunJu Park and Lee Love

Maksabal – A Korean term for “A bowl for everything”.

There is such a rich history of ceramics in Korea. Japan gets the limelight for the Chawan and making the Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony – Way of Tea) famous but the vessels came from Korea first. Its like I’m taking a trip back in time as I further research my interests in ceramics and Martial Arts. There are many types of Sabal (bowl) but It especially resonates with me the unpretentious and natural beauty that these bowls embody.

I found a fantastic short documentary on the history of the Maksabal and an abbreviated history of how they came about. It includes how they are made and what makes them special enough for a war, The Hideyoshi Invasion (1592-1598) to erupt, sometimes called “the pottery wars” that involved this type of simple and utilitarian bowl.

One of these bowls is now designated a Japanese National Treasure – The Ido Chawan

ido chawan

Lee Love has become my go-to guy for his depth of knowledge on the Japanese and Korean concepts that come along with a really in depth study of the “why” of ceramics and the tea bowl in particular. He has kindly steered me in the directions I wish to study. The deeper I go the better it gets!

I truly hope to get to the Hadong region during our Korea trip later this year where the tea is grown. Enjoy the video!

Here is more commentary on the same video (also better quality)

And further commentary on the history Korean Ceramics