Jomon Reflections


A review by Anita Sullivan from Writing Nature 2010:

Jomon Reflections: Forager Life and Culture in the Prehistoric Japanese Archipelago by Tatsuo Kobayashi

It might be hard to justify as a “must read,” a book on prehistoric Japanese society, even one that lasted over 10,000 years. But I would put this book into that rare class of writings in which the author is able to recognize important patterns within a specialized scientific field, to articulate these patterns clearly, and to connect them to much larger, vital human concerns. What Kobayashi has done is to document the development of the symbolic and artistic mind, as evidenced in the oldest pottery tradition in the world. We can observe humans developing their “practical art” over thousands of years in the relative absence of the huge environmental and social disruptions that have shaped and often distorted daily life in so many other societies. Besides which, the pots themselves are achingly gorgeous.

Thanks to Anita Sullivan for highlighting a book we otherwise would have missed. Anita is definitely on to something with this recommendation. Coincidentally (?), two of the Land Library’s recent acquisitions share common themes with Jomon Reflections:

just enoughdifferent kind
Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan by Azby Brown, A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance by Andy Couturier

For more book recommendations (plus a whole lot more) take a look at Writing Nature 2010!


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