An interview with Kimura Masakuni about what moss means to the Japanese soul.
How did your love for mosses start?
Kimura Masakuni: "It started when I was a graduate student in Moss laboratory (about 20 years ago).
The green of moss is the color few to other plants; the feeling when touching it; it has a mysterious way of life; only few people knowing it. There are many materials."
Which status have mosses in Japanese culture?
Kimura Masakuni: "Poetries of the moss is placed in "Manyoushuu" (famous 8thC poetry - literally "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves"); Japan's oldest anthology of poems. The beauty of mosses have been adopted in Japanese culture through the ages. The most famous one is the Japanese Moss Garden. The moss comes up also in national "Kimigayo" (national anthem of Japan)."
"I consider the beauty of the mosses influence the depth of the Japanese heart."
What are you favorite moss gardens?
Kimura Masakuni: "There are many Moss Garden in the Kyoto, you know. Almost of them are situated in a temple or shrine. Especially, garden mosses in the famous Moss gardens are growing as wild plants.
Pulling up weeds, cleaning up fallen leaves, that is one of the ascetic practices of the Buddhism.
Garden mosses have be able to grow by the ‘ascetic practices’.
So traditional Japanese Moss Gardens are made by collaboration of person and nature."
"I like especially Saihoji (commonly known as "Kokedera" - moss temple) - it is the oldest Moss garden in Japan. However, a reservation is necessary to see the temple."
Thank you for the inspiring interview Kimura Masakuni!
You can find more of Masakunis beautiful moss photos on Twitter @sugigoke.