Kimiko Gunji, Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
Saturday, March 8, 2014
$10 members / $15 non-members
Reserve online or call (503) 542-0280
“My main consideration as an artist is to impart my kokoro through the different media with which I express my ideas and teachings. As technology continually advances, human beings are so enraptured by its power and capability; however, through this captivation, they often succumb to surrendering the very element that makes them human—the use of their five senses. My concentration is to impart to those with whom I encounter, through my teachings and my art, the significance of becoming a fine human being through the vitalization of the senses and the natural manifestation of one’s kokoro.”
For more than three decades, Kimiko Gunji taught students of the University of Illinois the principles and concepts that inform the traditional arts of Japan. In this lecture and presentation, Kimiko Gunji will introduce the concept of kokoro and demonstrate how it is manifest in traditional art forms such as the tea ceremony.
She will perform a tea ceremony and provide an explanation of its historical background and its relation to Zen philosophy and the idea of kokoro. She will also discuss ways in which this centuries old art has influenced the development of the Japanese tea garden, or roji, and offer insights into the way in which the traditional art forms have influenced contemporary Japan’s industry as well as the daily life of the Japanese people.
Kimiko Gunji is Professor Emeritus of Japanese Arts & Culture in the School of Art & Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She taught at the University of Illinois since 1979. The courses she taught included the Way of Tea and Zen Aesthetics, the Art of Japanese Flower Arrangement, and the Campus Honors Program Seminar: Rigidity and Flexibility in Japanese Arts and Culture.
She was Director of Japan House from 1998-2011. She is a Full Professor of the Ikenobo Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) School in Japan and Chapter President of the Illinois Prairie Ikenobo Ikebana. Her Ikenobo Ikebana teacher’s name is Kiyomi (??). She also holds the tea name, or Chamei, Souki (??) from the Urasenke Tea School and serves as President of the Urbana-Champaign Association of Chado Urasenke Tankokai, Inc. as well as a teaching certificate of Japanese classical dance.
Kimiko Gunji received numerous awards for her teachings as well as her contributions to promote Japanese arts and culture. Among them were University of Illinois Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in the Field of Ethnic and Folk Arts, the commendation from the Foreign Ministry in Japan for her contribution to promote and strengthen the ties of friendship and goodwill between the United States and Japan. The most distinguished award she received was the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government which was bestowed by the Emperor on June 6, 2012.