Iki (aesthetic ideal)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Iki (いき, often written ) is a traditional aesthetic ideal in Japan. The basis of iki is thought to have formed among urbane commoners (chonin) in Edo in the Tokugawa period. Iki is sometimes misunderstood as simply "anything Japanese", but it is actually a specific aesthetic ideal, distinct from more ethereal notions of transcendence or poverty. As such, samurai, for example, would typically, as a class, be considered devoid of iki, (see yabo). At the same time, individual warriors are often depicted in contemporary popular imagination as embodying the iki ideals of a clear, stylish manner and blunt, unwavering directness. The term became widespread in modern intellectual circles through the book The Structure of "Iki" (1930) by Kuki Shūzō.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Iki (aesthetic ideal)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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