Artistic Essence of Japanese Character

In Democracy on Trial: The Japanese American Evacuation and Relocation in World War II by Page Smith, the centrality of art to the Japanese spirit is discussed.

"One of the most striking aspects of Yamato Damashii is its aesthetic element. Art, in its widest manifestation, is integral to the Japanese character. It is not something to be 'appreciated,' a kind of 'embellishment,' the preoccupation primarily of the more prosperous and better educated members of society as is so often the case in the modern industrial world. Art, like loyalty and honor, obedience to parents, like the work ethic and 'individualism' to the hakujin, was, and to some extent remains, an essential part of the character of the Japanese people of whatever class or degree. In the centers one of the most appealing aspects of Yamato Damashii was this same impulse to turn everything into art, to enhance the natural beauty of the world, and to create an endless array of aesthetically satisfying things. That impulse is perhaps stronger in the Japanese people than in any other race or nation."