dreaming room


 -  - 

dreaming room ...
a new buzzword
for the old MA

click on the haiku to find out more ...


as I sit in my dining room
wondering about the dreaming room
he calls from the living room

I do not approve of this word and do not consider it a translation of MA, but never mind.
For me, haiku is about reality and what I experience in the moment, not in a dream.

The word reminds me of the Australian aborigines "dream time, dreamtime", but that is a different matter alltogether, I find.

and one who can not keep his MA in Japanese culture is a

manuke 間抜け "one without a ma feeling"
a fool, an idiot, a blockhead, someone stupid . . .


Assimilation of the Ma Aesthetic Better Equips Western Poets
to Write Haiku

by Denis M. Garrison

Amongst traditional Japanese aesthetic considerations applicable to the art of haiku writing, ma is arguably preeminent for poets working in another language, for whom much of the treasury of haiku allusions is not available. It is, of course, axiomatic that the better a poet assimilates the full panoply of traditional haiku aesthetics, the better equipped he or she will become; but for non-Japanese poets, ma has special value, I think.

What is ma?
Literally, ma is the sense of time and space, incorporating between, space, room, interval, pause, time, timing, passing, distanced, etc. More particularly, ma may be taken as the timing of space, as in the duration between two musical notes. Silence is valued as well as sound. It is said that the ma aesthetic is influential upon all varieties of Japanese art.

I am not an expert on Japanese traditional aesthetics, in general, nor in ma, specifically. It is not my intent to dissect nor analyze ma in its native context.

Read it all HERE

 © Denis M. Garrison / Simply Haiku Winter 2008


the MA ...
could we be silent about
something else?

the MA ...
are we silent about
different things?

I just had a moment of silence with my cat HAIKU and he seemed to ... well ...
January 23, 2009


shichi go choo and Kabuki 七五調

"There is nothing like a ma!"

What is ma? Well, that's not so easy to explain but without it Kabuki wouldn't be half so interesting as it is. Imagine, for example, this speech that everybody knows -

"To be or not to be?"
(Dramatic pause)
"That is the question."

In Kabuki that pause would be called a ma, and ma are tension filled moments applicable to acting movements, dance, or speech. The internal psychology of a moment is expressed by the actor, who holds the attention of the audience in a pregnant pause that creates tension and emphasis.

Similar to the above example, ma may be expressed in speeches as the tension between the lines of shichi-go-chô - the division into lines of seven and five syllables used in much Japanese poetry. Look at the following example: in order to make things clear I have divided this haiku poem by the playwright and critic, Kawajiri Seitan (川尻清潭) into syllables -

Yo-za-ku-ra-ya (5) Evening cherry blossoms
Ma-ta Su-ke-ro-ku no (7) And once again
Ke-n-ka-za-ta (5) Sukeroku fights

Here one could imagine a dramatic ma pause after Mata Sukeroku no, before completing the poem. Similarly, when the thief Benten Kozō abandons his disguise as a young girl and reveals his name, (Benten musume meo no shiranami - "Benten the Male, Female Bandit") he dramatically lengthens the last syllable of Kozō before speaking the final part of his name - Kikunosuke. An actor with a poor sense of ma might well leave too short a pause and so any feeling of suspense before the completion would be lost.
Although Western poetry does not use shichi-go-chô (partly because Western languages do not have the consonant-vowel parings which make up the Japanese language), dramatic pausing between the lines can sometimes be equally important but perhaps less stylised than in Kabuki.

In movement, mie stop-motion poses demonstrate the most exciting examples of ma. Probably deriving from the fearsome iconography and facial expressions seen on some Buddhist statuary, mie are powerful poses by male characters that serve to emphasize moments of great import or tension. As the action stops, the character assumes a dramatic pose, revolves his head back and to one side and then, snapping the head into position, crosses one eye over the other and glares at his opponent. Mie are usually accompanied by two clear beats of the tsuke wooden blocks. It is the dramatic pause before the winding up and final snap of the head, between the first beat of the block and the second, which is an example of a ma of action.

Mie are unique to Kabuki and there is certainly nothing like them in Western theatre. Dramatic pauses are, therefore, more naturalistic and we find such pauses in Kabuki too. Let's look at the following fantastic example of ma which I will always remember. It was from Nakamura Utaemon VI's performance of Masaoka from Meiboku Sendai Hagi. Masaoka moves to the hanamichi in order to watch Sakae Gozen depart. Having just watched her son being murdered, Masaoka is desperate to run to his body. Watching her leave, Utaemon held the pose with extraordinary tension until, Sakae now gone, he collapsed in anguish. A master actor holding the audience in his hands!

Although we may not have a specific name for them, ma pauses are very important not only to Western theatre but in music too. My son, Misha, who is not a musician, was watching a very famous American conductor, conducting Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," one of the greatest and most influential works of the twentieth century. The final section, the "Sacrificial Dance," is clearly divided into sections by very dramatic pauses. Every one of those fantastic pauses was cut far too short by the conductor, and all the drama was lost as the music flowed along to greatly reduced effect.

"That conductor is useless!" said Misha, and, judging by this example of very bad ma, I really had to agree. In Japan - particularly in the field of Kabuki - one would say his "ma ga warui" - his "ma is bad," meaning he has no sense of timing.

source : Ronald Cavaye - kabuki-bito.jp

. Sukeroku 助六 - Hero of Edo .

どーも 間が悪い ma ga warui


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Anonymous said...

the MA ...
are we silent about
different things?


good one, Gabi

Anonymous said...

the redo*
a success!

President Obama did the presidential oath again, called a "redo"!

Anonymous said...

Let there be Ma on Earth!

Anonymous said...

Now, my MA was never silent, but I suspect we're talking about different things.

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