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What is wabi-sabi in Japanese?

わび・さび

“wabi-sabi”

Wabi is an aesthetic principle originating in the lifestyle and thoughts of hermits in medieval times. It emphasizes mental serenity and austere beauty. The concept plays a substantial role in waka (classical Japanese poetry), haiku and the tea ceremony in conjunction with sabi. Sabi is the tranquil and restrained aesthetic sensibility which is also fundamental to haiku. Nowadays wabi and sabi are used together and they mean almost the same. You can say when you visit an old temple and feel tranquility, “Wabi-sabi wo kanjimasu.” Kanjimasu is “feel” in Japanese, so it means “I feel wabi-sabi.”