MIYABI (雅) is one of the traditional Japanese aesthetic ideals, though not as prevalent as Iki or Wabi-sabi . In modern Japanese, the word is usually translated as "elegance," "refinement," or "courtliness" and sometimes to a "sweet loved one".
The ideal posed by the word demanded the elimination of anything that
was absurd or vulgar and the "polishing of manners, diction, and
feelings to eliminate all roughness and crudity so as to achieve the
highest grace." It expressed that sensitivity to beauty which was the
hallmark of the Heian era.
Adherents to the ideals of miyabi strove to rid the world of crude forms or aesthetics and emotions that were common in artworks of the period, such as those contained in the Man\'yōshū , the oldest extant collection of Japanese poetry . The Man\'yōshū contained poems by people of every walk of life, many of which stood in stark contrast to the sensibilities of miyabi. For example, one poem in the collection likened a woman's hair to snail innards. The ideals of miyabi stood firmly against the use of metaphors such as this. Furthermore, appreciation of miyabi and its ideal was used as a marker of class differences. It was believed that only members of the upper class, the courtiers, could truly appreciate the workings of miyabi.
The characters of the classic eleventh-century Japanese novel "The
Tale of Genji " by
* ^ Japanese Aesthetics and Culture Nancy G. Hume, ISBN 978-0791424001
* v * t * e
Japanese social concepts and values