Eastern Perspective on Aesthetics



The world faces a common challenge that could impact the survival of the human race such as climate change, depletion of earth resources, declining birthrate and aging population.
In recent years, Japanese Zen has been drawing attention in the United States and the world.

Zen teachings emphasize reverence of nature, appreciation of harmony and an Eastern perspective on aesthetics that the Japanese people value. For example, Japan fully embraces the artisan’s techniques and artistry into daily life as we can see in Japanese gardens. Old architecture is designed to harmonize with nature in ways such as accepting deteriorations of wood carvings and ceramics in its natural state.

In this session, Zen scholars, Buddhist monks and data scientists will discuss what exactly the Eastern perspective on aesthetics is and how the Eastern perspective on aesthetics could have a positive impact on modern day society which is inundated with digital technology. In these discussions, we will analyze how a reverence for nature and the fusion of new and old things could lead to a sustainable and happier future for humans.

Yoichi Ochiai
Media Artist
Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba
CEO and Co-Founder, Pixie Dust Technologies, Inc.
Rev. Shumyo Kojima
Rev. Shumyo Kojima is a chief Soto Zen priest of Zenshuji Soto Mission in Los Angeles which is the oldest Soto Zen temple in North America. Rev. Kojima grew up as a disciple of his father in their family temple in Saga prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Komazawa University where he studied Buddhist history and philosophy, he entered Soto Zen Institute of Buddhist Studies, As a researcher from the institute he embarked to the U.S. to study American Zen and temporarily served Zenshuji temple in 1993. After completing his training at Eiheiji Monastery, he returned to Los Angeles to serve Zenshuji temple as a full time minister where he has been spreading the teachings of Soto Zen Buddhism for 25 years.
Kenneth Tanaka
Musashino University Professor Emeritus (Former Chairman, International True Pure Land Buddhism)
Takafumi Nakanishi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Musashino University
Faculty of Data Science