When I think of Japanese architectural styles, Shoin-zukuri (Shoin style) comes to mind, but I don't really know what it actually is. Originally, Shoin was the Chinese name for a living room that also served as a study, but it developed from a mere study to a hall for entertaining guests and then to a place for ceremonies. It is true that the hall where the restoration of imperial rule was held at Nijo-jo Castle was also built in the Shoin style.
The characteristics of the Shoin style include the tokonoma (alcove), tokobashira (alcove pillar), chigaidana (shelf), and tsukeshoin (desk with a shelf). When I visited the Kotoin Temple in Kyoto, I saw an alcove at the back of a dimly lit room. I guessed that this was also a Shoin. The structure of this shoin was simple, as if it had been a simple study before it developed into a place for ceremonies. But this room was more than just a study room. It is a former study room of Sen no Rikyu's house called "Ihokuken" that was moved to this room. When I heard that, I felt as if there was some meaning in this simplicity.
It is said that you can tell the dignity of a house by looking at its tokonoma (alcove), but when I looked at the hanging scroll in the dimly lit tokonoma, all I could see was the Chinese character for "関" written on it, but I had no idea what it meant. It was at this moment that I realized once again that I have no background in understanding the simplicity of ink paintings or hanging scrolls.
April 30, 2021
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS BATIS 2/40 CF