If you now take a look at the world in front of you with your mind's eye again, I believe you must surely be able to meet the "truth" for yourself.

How can I feel beautiful in a space where there is nothing.

There’s nothing. And that’s why it’s beautiful.

-These words came into my mind when I looked at the land of “Shikoku” again from an oriental sense and perspective; these are explained in the introduction “Emptiness.”

“There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of all things. I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao (the Way or Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I call it The Great. Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Tao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the (sage) king is also great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the (sage) king is one of them. Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is.”

(”Laozi” – Tao Te Ching: Chapter 25 – trans. James Legge)

I always looked up at the sky whenever I visited Shikoku.
No matter where it was, even as the cars came and went on the highway, I was looking up at the sky at all times. Then, I was gazing at the big floating cloud or clear light blue and the bright sky. The air always exists “here,” and I could “come back” to the sky.

One night, when I was about to return to Fukuyama city, Hiroshima, through Shimanami Kaido after leaving Imabari – I think it was still in early spring – an elegant floral scent came into the car from the window along with the scent of the tide. An indescribable sweet smell. It was the flowers in the mandarin field. I saw a large orange moon in the sky when I looked out the window as usual. It was the largest I have ever seen.
The moon shines, and the moon and moonlight are clearly projected on the sea.

I wonder which “era” I am in. It might be that I feel like the scene and the drifted scents that I just met are not the “era of the present.”
I almost fell into such an illusion at that moment.
It was the moment when the rich night air floating there came into me. It may be just an illusion or a belief. However, I felt that my heart was drawn into the incredibly “beautiful world” between space-time obviously.

I sometimes had that kind of feeling when I stood in Shikoku. Sometimes at the cape on the empty coast of the Seto Inland Sea — at other times in a deep forest that hasn’t changed for thousands of years. It is like what happened yesterday. But, whenever I return from “there” to “here,” I have come to think that it is because of this land of Japan that I can feel the exquisitely beautiful “eternity.”

The air does not exist just there, but it also contains various things in the layers—people’s lives or feelings. All memories have remained as they are. Our ancestors, who preferred to accept and harmonize rather than confrontation, were Shikoku, and I believe they left a “road” in this land of Japan. A way to return to memory. And a way to return to yourself.

If you now take a look at the world in front of you with your mind’s eye again, I believe you must surely be able to meet the “truth” for yourself. The “road” is open to everyone.

There’s nothing. And that’s why it’s beautiful.

  • PhotosYoshiyuki Mori
  • WordsAtsuko Ogawa
  • DesignNoriaki Hosaka
  • Translation Mina Ishikawa