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Japanese Garden Design [Hardcover]

Marc Keane
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 14.39  
Hardcover 20.43  
Hardcover, Feb 1997 --  
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; First Edition edition (Feb 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804820716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804820714
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 22.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,211,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Synopsis

One of the better volumes on the principles of Japanese garden design, avoiding much of the annoying sentimentalism to which Western writers on Japanese gardens are prone. Keane, a landscape architect, integrates Japanese history, philosophy, geography, art, and culture into his discussion of Japan

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Gardens are an expression of our relationship to the natural world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The book concisely uses gardens and aesthetic terms as vehicles to better understand both. Keane's insight into changes of aesthetic focus in different historical periods is clearly constructed. It enhances the reader's insight into further studies of Japanese aesthetics, gardening or history. Readers of Makoto Ueda, Sen'ichi Hisamatsu et al. on Japanese aesthetics will be particularly rewarded with a simple structure for considering complex terms that they expose in more detail. As a garden book, it rates a "9"... as an introduction to Japanese aesthetics, it is clearly a "10"... as a unique perspective on Japanese history, it stands alone. While others have said most of what Keene notes, none have integrated it so well. The beauty of the garden book, aside from its text, is exceptional. One could only wish that the pictures were in a larger format.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An authentic overview 7 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Westerners find it literally impossible to cross the great divide and delve into the mind of the East. When done, it involves first hand encounters with the culture and people, and a long learning process. Keane's extensive experiences have lead to a fruitful career; the book a testament to his storytelling skills - his gardens a living proof of his sensitivity.
Keane is able to lead the innocent reader gently, and like the culture he emulates, the chapters flow from one moss covered stone to the next. His expertise is one which belongs to a difficult realm: what are Westerners to do with Eastern knowledge while making Western gardens. This is an illusive agenda, and a one which deserves further research and analysis. Keane's ethos, undoubtedly, is an important milestone, if only by means of inspiration.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is the best Garden-books I have read. 11 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Landscape garden have two types, natural and geometric, the natural landscape design are in Chinese and Japanese were presented in Asia, So, This book is the best researched of this-typed books I have read. ViVe!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
150 of 151 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A treasure for anyone interested in Japanese Gardens 28 Jan 2000
By DAMwriter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Confession: I didn't actually buy this book, I borrowed it from the library. Why am I telling you this? Because this will mark the first time, ever, that I've gone out and purchased a copy of a book for myself once I've read it for free. Normally, once I've read a book I put it up on the shelf or return it to the lender, never to crack it open again (with the exception of a few reference books). This time will be different.
Oh, I do have a few quibbles with the book. The author includes a number of interesting endnotes, most of which could have easily been incorporated into the text itself so a reader doesn't have to flip back-and-forth. And for some reason, some of the notes seem to be ill-placed; in some cases you'll come to a footnote, read it, only to have that bit of information captured in a subsequent paragraph of the main text. Another problem is the occasional editing mistake - words out of order, words left in that were clearly meant for deletion (maybe that's the printer's fault), and a misspelling here and there.
But, these are minor points. I have worked as a volunteer tour guide at a Japanese Garden in a local botanic garden, and I have never seen a single book that so eloquently and completely captured the subject of Japanese garden design: its history, its development in the context of Japanese cultural, social and religious history, its fundamental principles, even the language that is used to describe its various aspects. It is a well-rounded, clearly-written primer on the meaning and use of these gardens.
It is NOT a how-to book; readers looking for instructions at the level of, "Place rock here, spread a bit of moss on the east-southeast side," will find themselves disappointed. As the author states repeatedly, Japanese garden design is not about decoration, plant lists or specific positioning of elements. Those things make a garden "Japan-esque". What he does is teach you - in condensed fashion - what the garden masters taught for generations: learn the principles, understand the meanings attached to the structure and design of Japanese gardens, emulate the best of what you see, and then create your garden with your own personal stamp and the materials available to you.
Because of this philosophy, because of the beauty of the photographs, and because of the information this book contains, I will refer to it again and again as I create my own Japanese garden at home.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focus on Japanese aesthetics as well as gardening 28 Jan 1998
By Chris Cochrane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The book concisely uses gardens and aesthetic terms as vehicles to better understand both. Keane's insight into changes of aesthetic focus in different historical periods is clearly constructed. It enhances the reader's insight into further studies of Japanese aesthetics, gardening or history. Readers of Makoto Ueda, Sen'ichi Hisamatsu et al. on Japanese aesthetics will be particularly rewarded with a simple structure for considering complex terms that they expose in more detail. As a garden book, it rates a "9"... as an introduction to Japanese aesthetics, it is clearly a "10"... as a unique perspective on Japanese history, it stands alone. While others have said most of what Keene notes, none have integrated it so well. The beauty of the garden book, aside from its text, is exceptional. One could only wish that the pictures were in a larger format.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Mr. Keane! 14 Mar 2001
By Robert Moorhouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best non-fiction selections I've ever encountered. It does justice to its esteemed topic, both in its superb photographic selections and its rich and highly informative text. Far more than a mere coffee table book, Mr. Keane's solid understanding and sensitive insight have created a work which I refer to often in my own gardening ventures. I cannot recommend this book more highly.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best English language source available! 25 Mar 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Marc Keane, the other author of this exellent book, is a professor at Kyoto University, and educates students in Japanese garden design. Other good background material on Japanese gardens includes: "Sakuteiki: Visions of the Japanese Garden" (a trans. of an 11th cent. Japanese scroll), also written by Marc Keane, with Jiro Takei; and "Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardening" ( another ancient scroll trans.), by David Slawson.
A very useful "how-to" book is: "Creating Japanese Gardens", by Phillip Cave. "A Japanese Touch for your Garden," by Seike, Kudo and Engel, also supplies the meat-and-potatoes.
You can pick up many helpful details in pictures found in the "coffee-table" books available. Haruzo Ohashi, who did the photography for "Japanese Garden Design," has done outstanding photographic work for several other books in this category.
If you are a "back-yard-gardener" like me, all of these books will just be the starting point. You will learn that there are several distinct styles of Japanese gardens. However, there are no hard rules. Elements of the basic styles can be incorporated into your garden.
The finished product: "your interpretation of the Japanese Garden" (what works for you), will be well worth the effort. It was for me. Just remember that in the Japanese garden "less is often more." Every open space does not have to be filled with a rock, a plant or an ornament. Step back and look at each element that you incorporate. Make sure that each item compliments your whole design. This is the essence of the project.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational, not the Best for Inspiration 3 Mar 2008
By Greeper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought a number of books on Japanese Gardens, because I like visiting them and wanted to make one of my own. I found this book to be more of a textbook than the rest; it is heavy on history and theory but is somewhat dull. If you want to be inspired, you probably don't want a book that uses endnotes. There is nothing wrong with it, but I found the Art of Japanese Gardens to be more balanced in terms of photos/inspiration and text. This is more thorough in terms of history and theory and less so with beautiful and varied photographs. In designing my own garden, I ultimately could have done without this book, though if you are fascinated by theory and history, it is probably the most comprehensive. If you're buying one book only to help inspire and educate, I'd go with the Art of Japanese Gardens.
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