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The Japanese Bath Hardcover – April 24, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction Bathing Entry The Datsuiba The Outside within the Inside Created Scenery Color With Darkness and Without Yuagari (afte bath) and Yusuzumi (enjoying the cool of the evening) Without Silence Bathing Japanese Style With and Without Clothing The Time of the Day Materials About Wood The Tools of Bathing Bathing Together Glossary Resources

From the Back Cover

Time to watch the moon rise over the garden--the aesthetic of the Japanese bath exquisitely captured in photgraphy and text.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith, Publisher (April 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158685027X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586850272
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm confronted with a major redecoration of my bathroom (status post leaking tub, water damaged floor, and Great Dane deconstruction project!), so I've been casting about for ideas. Since I've always admired the minimalist beauty of Japanese art and architecture and the oriental appreciation of the natural as art, when I found The Japanese Bath by Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto I decided to check it out for ideas. What I was looking for was practical information, however, and this book is more a philosophy of The Bath as multi level sensual experience. As the authors write, "Entering a bath in Japan is to enter another world. It is a place where one not only cleans the body but also cleanses the mind (p. 13)".
The photos are lovely (my favorites are the "created scenery" on pp. 30, 33, and 47), and one can hardly but envy those wealthy enough to have the space, let alone the wherewithal, to have a separate building devoted to the "zen" of bathing. Unfortunately I live in a town house, and I rather doubt that the association would appreciate my extending my bathroom into the commons-I could be wrong, but I sincerely doubt it; they're not terribly open minded! I suspect I am not alone in my lack of space for major remodeling.
Taking the above quote from page 13 as a starting point, what I did gain from the book was a realization that in our fast paced Western lives we can still find moments of relaxation and relief from stress by creating small environments in our homes conducive to the Eastern concept of "centering." It needn't be hours long and one needn't even be consciously aware of the effect to derive a benefit from the experience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A relatively short book (less than 100 pages), what "The Japanese Bath" lacks in length it makes up for in content. Just about every page is filled with beautiful, full color photos ranging from small, home baths, to exquisite, private baths found in spas, to the large, community baths found in Japan. The authors keep the writing brief and simple, but it's nonetheless enlightening and captures well the Japanese mindset towards bathing.
Paragraphs on how to build a Japanese bath from scratch are absent, but a great emphasis is placed on the points that make the Japanese bath so unique: lighting, depth, materials. The book provides abundant inspiration for creating your own design, without providing actual builders plans.
If your wish is to incorporate a Japanese bath into your home, or simply to visit one, the resources guide in the back of the book will prove very useful. Most suppliers and spas are on the West Coast, but many have web addresses where they can be reached. One of the finest, Ki Arts, boasts "the flexibility to work anywhere in the world" since they utilize the traditional Japanese joinery system for their projects.
All in all, "The Japanese Bath" gives truth to the adage that great things can come in small packages. It is a diminutive, but excellent volume for those interested in the topic.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a handsome little book. The emphasis is on photography. If you're seeking a photo essay for Japanese baths and possible details (designs, plans, etc.) this is not the reference for you. However, if you just want a visually pleasing browse, this book has beautiful photography and very limited captions. You're not likely to use this book for detailed design research but you may find it useful for idea research (brainstorming). Although the baths look authentic, most of them are Western replicas(many in the US) of their Japanese cousins. If it's authentic Japanese baths and detailed explanations (concepts, theories, etc.) this is not the book for you. But, if you just want a nice browse, the photographs are thought provoking enough to be useful.
1 Comment 19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The descriptions in the book were appropriate and accurate but the photos were mostly of baths in California! I was really hoping for more photos of actual Japanese baths in Japan, and was confused by the choice to include many California baths.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Japanese Bath" gives a very good introduction to the purposes, ritual and architecture of bathing Japanese-style. The authors explain why the Japanese bath doesn't belong alongside a toilet in a Western bathroom, and why taking a shower falls short of the Japanese bathing experience.
There's an explanation of the essential elements of the Japanese bath for those who wish to create one (homeowners are encouraged to have a room or outbuilding dedicated to bath use). The bath's relationship to the outdoors is also explained.
The book includes a lengthy list of resources for bath-related fixtures and other items. Many suppliers are in California.
The pictures are beautiful, tranquil and relaxing.
What you won't find here is a lot of scaled drawings or plans describing how to build a bath; instead, you'll be encouraged to choose the proper site in your home or on your property and develop a design to fit your space and needs after looking at the authors' examples. A knowledgable, sensitive do-it-yourselfer could read the book and take it from there.
A few "sample" architectural-type plans would have improved the book for my own use, but "The Japanese Bath" remains a very beautiful and informative book.
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