1stPolish-Japanese Meeting:·Aesthetics and Cultures

By Krystyna Wilkoszewska

The 1stPolish-Japanese Meeting: Aesthetics and Cultures took place on May 23-24, 2011 in Cracow’s Jagiellonian University. The idea for the conference was initiated by the Polish Association of Aesthetics and firmly supported by the Japanese Society for Aesthetics. Nine prominent Japanese scholars came to Cracow to discuss the problems of intercultural aesthetics in a bilateral formula. The conference was opened by the Dean of the Philosophical Faculty, the former Polish Ambassador to Japan, and the Honorary Consul of Japan in Cracow.


The first day took place in the oldest building of the University, Collegium Maius, while the second day’s proceedings continued in the Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (Manggha) on a lovely Spring day on the banks of the Vistula River.

The conference was of an interdisciplinary character. In addition to aestheticians, historians of art and scholars engaged in the cross-cultural studies took part. From the Japan: Ken-chi Sasaki, Tokyo; Ken-ichi Iwaki, Shigemi Inaga, Fumikazu Kishi, Hiroshi Yoshioka, Yuko Nakama, Akiko Kasuya, Kyoto; Takao Aoki, Hiroshima; and Hisashi Muroi, Yokohama. The Polish side was represented by Bohdan Dziemidok, Henryk Lipszyc, Agnieszka Kozyra, Beata Kubiak Ho-chi, Jakub Karpoluk, Warsaw; and Jakub Petri, Krystyna Wilkoszewska and Krzysztof Ingarden, Cracow.

Topics presented in the papers oscillated between the general problems of inter-cultural aesthetics to more detailed questions. Many participants concerned themselves with contemporary art. Some of the papers presented were:

  • Ken-ichi Iwaki, The Concept of Color in the traditional Chinese and Japanese theories of painting
  • Kozyra, Hisamatsu Shin’ichi’s Seven characteristics of Zen art.
  • Kasuya, ‘Overturning’ the Everyday: one aspect of contemporary art

The bilateral meeting of representatives of two different cultures was a new kind of experience for all participants. And ever though the achievements of Polish aesthetics were well known by our Japanese colleagues, most of the participants from Japan were visiting Poland for the first time. They had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Polish art and culture, and also to visit places where Japanese culture has been developing.

At the end of the conference, Ken-ichi Sasaki concluded, “There is a good tuning between the Polish and the Japanese sensibilities, which I have felt since my days as a high-school boy. Our philosophical dialogue must be the occasion, for me, to reveal theoretically the correspondence of our two cultures.” Many forms of cooperation were initiated and plans for the next meeting are already in progress. The proceedings published in English will be made available for broader circles of recipients around the world soon.