THE KIMONO MIND by Bernard Rudofsky
Kirkus Star


Email this review


This altogether attractive commentary on Japan by a man of taste and acumen is intended as an ""informal guide"" to this country, in ""permanent transition"" particularly since the Pandora's box of the West opened up further contradictions (""democracy and Zen, beat and Buddhism, striptease and Noh, flower arrangement and baseball""). Mr. Rudofsky, who wrote Behind the Picture Window some years ago, is an architect of note, and has arranged many exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art. He makes few genuflections but observes with fastidious precision: the cachet of Japanese inns and their exquisite conveniences; the kimono and other attire; the Japanese guide (who ""sets the pattern of the national willfulness""); the etiquette (bowing is a way of life for the Japanese; informality unnerves him); the Japanese house, language (with its distaste for intelligibility), food, travel, etc. etc. Throughout, there are many old woodcuts and drawings, reproduced in a way to suggest the ""quality of the original illustrations,"" and intended to project the ""aroma"" of the Japanese cultural climate. It could have no finer aesthetic advocate, and this, in conjunction with the stylish writing and often disabusing discernment, offers a book of immediate and infinite pleasure.

Publisher: Doubleday