Japanese Garden Journal


Physiology and Human Sense Perception

The Japanese living environment is tailored to the human scale and human sense perception.  All aspects of the Japanese house and garden are carefully arranged according to human parameters such as anatomy and physiology.  For example, the Japanese garden is positioned a certain distance from the house - far enough to allow the natural scene to fit into the observer's field of vision yet close enough for the foliage to be seen in detail.

One (perhaps THE) central tenet of Japanese craftsmanship involves the twin goals of being both beautiful and functional.  It doesn't matter whether you're talking about garden art, post and beams homes, or Japanese tea: to be functional, any designed object (or activity) must properly relate to the basic size and shape of the human body.  To be beautiful, the presentation must be oriented to the way humans understand and "see" the world around them.

JOJG publishes regular articles about these kind of subjects.  Topics range from ADA ramps to garden windows.  The articles can generally be grouped into the following categories:


HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY   To understand human parameters you need to study them.  These articles concern topics about how the human body works and why those parameters are related to the Sukiya Living Environment.

GARDEN WINDOWS   The garden window stands center stage at the heart of the Sukiya Living Environment.  These articles discuss how the Sukiya Living Environment is arranged, including topics such as window sill height and the need to position furniture facing outwardly, toward the window.

HEALING GARDENS   Also known as therapeutic gardens, these spaces are meant to soothe the soul.  Recent research proves that it is entirely possible for manmade green spaces to psychologically, if not physically, rejuvenate the spirit.  Read these article to learn about how inspired garden builders are adapting the Japanese garden tradition to medical applications.

HUMAN SENSE PERCEPTION   All animals, including humans, receive information in slightly different ways.  The best homes and gardens are developed with human senses in mind.  These JOJG articles involve topics such as peripheral vision, and how sound can play a role in Japanese gardens.

ERGONOMICS   What is ergonomics?  Ergonomic design allows objects and spaces to be used by all humans without discomfort or risk of injury.  Ergonomic science may be a modern subject, but Japanese craftsmen have been aware of it all along.

ADA GUIDELINES   It isn't easy to build a traditional Japanese house or public Japanese garden that also honors the many ADA regulations governing public spaces in the United States.  These articles discuss various ADA requirements and how to deal with them.

GARDEN ART   What sort of living spaces qualify as garden art?  Some artists and garden builders believe Japanese gardens are a form of fine art.  Others are wholeheartedly against this concept, and with good reason.  Read these articles to learn more.